Bernie Sanders Cannot Govern
Can Bernie Sanders govern? Of course not, silly.
A flood of articles on this topic have been spilling onto the internet in recent days. They all have a different way of speaking the same unfortunate truth. Bernie Sanders cannot govern, not as President of the United States, not in the way he describes as he stumps his way across America’s coach class from the middle seat.
The American political system is far too entrenched in protectionism via special interest groups to be throttled from within. It’s like trying to weed a garden where the weeds are the garden.
Therefore, Hillary Clinton represents the best possible nominee for the Democrats. She knows her way around this garden as well as anyone. If nothing else, the Clinton machine will provide an effective bulwark against the disturbing absurdity of the GOP populist movement.
At least Obamacare and Roe vs. Wade won’t be overturned on her watch. That’s the comfort the Democrats can take in nominating Hillary, even if their heart quickens when Sanders delivers his inspirational vision from his very affordable suits.
Bernie’s backers have heard this before. They shout counter arguments from the rooftops that sound reasonable for a minute. Perhaps some perspective is in order.
Republicans have brought over 60 votes to the floor to either squash parts of Obamacare or repeal it altogether. It’s an otherwise bare cupboard for GOP lawmakers. This is not some left-wing bias, mind you; the record shows that they truly have done not much else over the past five years other than block a gun restriction bill to keep terrorists from getting assault rifles, and try to stop the Affordable Care Act before poor people grow accustomed to having health benefits.
These votes are always along party lines; Republicans currently hold the majority over Democrats in the House, 246–188. The most recent ‘kill Obamacare’ vote was (R) 24o — (D) 181.
Republican legislators aren’t being tricky here. They have openly stated that their primary goal–a goal so important that almost nothing else matters–is to prevent the richest country in the world from providing health care to its sickest and poorest people. Many of these same representatives often tout their Christian values. The obvious contradiction is either lost on them or ignored for political convenience.
Once merely a diseased branch of the Republican tree, the Weirdest Tea Party Ever has proven to be an aggressive form of political cancer, running scorched-earth campaigns to wrest leadership roles from the more sensible grownups in their party. It’s the petulant boys show now.
So when I hear Sanders speak, I realize that he can’t govern in this system, not as it is. President Sanders would amount to a less-effective Jimmy Carter, and he’d pave the way for the ghastly reality of President Cruz.
The GOP will keep control of the House after the November elections; Paul Ryan will remain their Speaker. This is the same guy whose very first act in his new role was to bring another anti-Obamacare vote to the floor. The Senate teeters in the balance, but it will probably stay in Republican control by the slimmest of margins. Several elections could go either way; the Democrats have a punchers chance of regaining a majority.
Either way, most representatives of both parties are kept people. Some may have intended to follow their oath to the letter when they were elected, but most go native before too long if they want to keep their jobs. Their special-interest benefactors view them not unlike mouser cats in a rodent-infested apartment building; if they behave and take out a few enemies once in a while, they get a nice, big dinner at election time, and some yummy treats in between. In the case of the GOP however, their special-interest masters are the very people whose taxes would be raised under the Sanders plan.
With all that in mind, does it seem likely that, in the Tea Party era, Republican majorities in both chambers of congress would vote to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans? Would they move Sanders’ other initiatives through the sausage factory without filibusters and accusations of Socialism?
Of course not. The odds of Republican cooperation with Sanders’ proposals are in lotto territory.
Even if Republicans wanted a tax increase on the rich–and they so very much do not want that–the Koch brothers and their ilk have other action items on their agenda. The Powers That Be will surely push for a 70th vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Their representatives shall no doubt obey the command. Who has time for tax legislation?
It’s a pipe dream to think that somehow Uncle Bernie and his grassroots rhetoric can save us from that. He should be loudly applauded for trying. When another Clinton takes the oath on the National Mall a year from now, voters should implore Hillary to keep Bernie’s hope alive as much as she is able.
Sanders’ ideas represent what’s best for the vast majority of American citizens; of this there is no doubt. He’s no messiah or prophet, but like all people who speak the truth, Sanders knows that his words leave him wide open to attack. His voice is the one that cries out in the wilderness, trying to warn people, trying to do something, anything. He probably got to the point in his advancing years where he simply couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t speak up on the national stage, and his political ascent hints a growing movement within an awakening majority. But even Sanders knows he’s not the one. It’s all too easy to brand him as an extremist or a radical who is “out of step” with the mainstream.
Folks, have you seen the mainstream lately? It’s not a pretty place. Thank God for Bernie’s clear voice.
For many voters, American politics in the modern era has so often come down to a choice between the lesser of two evils. In the case of the Democrats in 2016, do they vote with their hearts and risk nominating a man who could backfire in horrific fashion? Or do they vote for the devil they know and a name they recognize?
President Clinton or President Cruz? Easiest evil decision ever.