Bernie Sanders for US President

The Nation, the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States, “the flagship of the left” as it describes itself, has come out in support of Bernie Saunders for US President, only the third time it has support a US Presidential candidate (the previous two being Jesse Jackson in 1988 and Barack Obama in 2008). The campaign of Sanders, like that of Jeremy Corbyn last summer, has attracted unprecedented support for a socialist candidate. He has raised $77m in small donations from over 1m individuals. “Bernie Sanders and his supporters are bending the arc of history toward justice. Theirs is an insurgency, a possibility, and a dream that we proudly endorse,” says the Nation and this is how it goes on to explain its decision:

year ago, concerned that ordinary citizens would be locked out of the presidential nominating process, The Nation argued that a vigorously contested primary would be good for the candidates, for the Democratic Party, and for democracy. Two months later, Senator Bernie Sanders formally launched a campaign that has already transformed the politics of the 2016 presidential race. Galvanized by his demands for economic and social justice, hundreds of thousands of Americans have packed his rallies, and over 1 million small donors have helped his campaign shatter fund-raising records while breaking the stranglehold of corporate money. Sanders’s clarion call for fundamental reform—single-payer healthcare, tuition-free college, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, the breaking up of the big banks, ensuring that the rich pay their fair share of taxes—have inspired working people across the country. His bold response to the climate crisis has attracted legions of young voters, and his foreign policy, which emphasizes diplomacy over regime change, speaks powerfully to war-weary citizens. Most important, Sanders has used his insurgent campaign to tell Americans the truth about the challenges that confront us. He has summoned the people to a “political revolution,” arguing that the changes our country so desperately needs can only happen when we wrest our democracy from the corrupt grip of Wall Street bankers and billionaires.

It goes on to argue:

Our rigged system works for the few and not for the many. Americans are waking up to this reality, and they are demanding change. This understanding animates both the Republican and Democratic primaries, though it has taken those two contests in fundamentally different directions.

At the core of this crisis is inequality, both economic and political. The United States has become a plutocracy—one in which, as Sanders puts it, “we not only have massive wealth and income inequality, but a power structure which protects that inequality.” America’s middle class has melted away, while the gap between rich and poor has reached Gilded Age extremes. The recovery that followed the 2008 economic collapse has not been shared. Indeed, in the United States it seems that nothing is shared these days—not prosperity, nor security, nor even responsibility. While millions of Americans grapple with the consequences of catastrophic climate change, fossil-fuel companies promote climate skeptics so that they can continue to profit from the planet’s destruction. While Americans have tired of endless war, the military-industrial complex and its cheerleaders continue to champion the reckless interventions that have drained our country, damaged our reputation abroad, and created a perfect storm of Pentagon waste, fraud, and abuse. While Americans of every ideological stripe recognize the need for criminal-justice reform, African-American men, women, and children continue to be gunned down by police officers on the streets, and mass incarceration continues largely unabated.

Americans are fed up and fighting back. Seen in isolation, the Fight for $15, Black Lives Matter, the climate-justice movement, the immigrant-rights movement, the campaign for a financial-transactions tax, and the renewed push for single-payer healthcare may seem like unrelated causes. Taken together, they form a rising chorus of outrage over a government that caters to the demands of the super-wealthy, while failing to meet the needs of the many. They share a fury at a politics captured by special interests and big money, where pervasive corruption mocks the very notion of democracy.

Senator Sanders alone has the potential to unite the movements emerging across the country.

In Bernie Sanders, these movements for greater equality and justice have found an ally and a champion. In contrast to the right-wing demagogues who exploit these crises to foment division, the Vermont senator has reached into a proud democratic-socialist tradition to revive the simple but potent notion of solidarity. We must turn to each other, not on each other, Sanders says, and unite to change the corrupted politics that robs us all.

Of Hilary Clinton, although it makes clear the importance of keeping the presidency out of the hands of the Republicans and of the benefits of shattering the “glass ceiling”, it says:

The limits of a Clinton presidency are clear. Her talk of seeking common ground with Republicans and making deals to “get things done” in Washington will not bring the change that is so desperately needed. Clinton has not ruled out raising the Social Security retirement age, and her plan falls short of increasing benefits for all. She rejects single-payer healthcare and refuses to consider breaking up the big banks. We also fear that she might accept a budgetary “grand bargain” with the Republicans that would lock in austerity for decades to come.

On foreign policy, Clinton is certainly seasoned, but her experience hasn’t prevented her from getting things wrong. Clinton now says that her 2002 vote to authorize George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq was a mistake, but she apparently learned little from it. Clinton was a leading advocate for overthrowing Moammar El-Gadhafi in Libya, leaving behind a failed state that provides ISIS with an alternative base. She supported calls for the United States to help oust Bashar al-Assad in Syria, an approach that has added fuel to a horrific civil war. She now advocates a confrontation with Russia in Syria by calling for a no-fly zone. Her support for President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran was marred by an explicit rejection of better relations with that country and bellicose pledges to provide Israel with more arms. If elected, Clinton will be another “war president” at a time when America desperately needs peace.

You can read the editorial in full here.

  1. It’s a very interesting situation and Sanders has a huge poll lead ahead of the New Hampshire primary and is closing in on Clinton in the Iowa caucuses. But as I point out in a piece in the next Labour Breifing: “Three big obstacles block the path to a Sanders victory. Firstly, moderate Democrats have already begun smearing Sanders as a crypto-communist, handing ammunition to the Party’s Republican opponents. Secondly, Hillary Clinton’s financial advantage will really make itself felt on ‘Super Tuesday’, March 1st, when no fewer than fifteen states hold their primary or caucus on the same day. Inevitably, the outcome will be influenced by the resources needed to organise a simultaneous campaign in all fifteen states.
    Finally, as it in the UK, Hillary Clinton can rely on a pliant media. After their first big TV debate last October, all the opinion polls reported Sanders won by a landslide – but the media called it for Clinton, preferring to deliver the message their sponsors would prefer to hear.”

  2. Yes I hope he wins but it will be difficult.
    I have some criticisms of Sanders but hey for the US this would be progress.
    Of course the horrible Republicans driven by the equally horrible Tea Party (funded by US big business) would use Big US Government massive state intervention to cut taxes for the rich, to screw the poor and to deny women choice.
    It is also interesting how the Big Brother Republicans are now interfering in people’s private lives (driven by right wing Christian fundamentalists) and want to stop peoples’. freedom of choice re planned parenthood and even vaccinations.
    Perhaps the Democrats and Republicans both rule for big business but the Democrats have an inch more humanity and that inch is important for the World.

  3. My biggest concern is that Bernie will actually be allowed to win. He will not survive very long, terrible misfortunes befall people who get in the way – he will “probably” be poisoned with polonium by the CIA or any one of the alphabet soup agencies. On a more serious not, Bernie cannot win, the so-called democracy the US is always spouting is an illusion , just as illusory as it is in the UK. For as long as right wingers and Blairites defy Corbyn, there will never be a party representative of the people and the same thing will happen to Bernie.

  4. There is change happening and for all the same reasons, people in America have been promised change only to get more of the same.

    China has created the inevitable jobs conundrum, if china produces everything, what’s left for the rest of us.

    Well if people don’t wake up to the fact that the great wealth creators are not creating our wealth, then we have to do it for ourselves.

    That means Corbynomics on a grand scale.

    There is no alternative.

    Bernie is telling the American people a story they have never heard before, what’s more they understand it.

    Can he win? Yes if he gets enough votes, people will have been awakened though win or lose.

  5. He has as much chance as being elected Leader as say Corbyn. which is zilch.
    So we may have to put up with Hillary for a year or two until scandal at the White House forces her to quit.
    Wondering who the Vice President be who takes ver.