I Do Not Want Bernie to be President — Unless

Keith Frohreich
Oct 20 · 4 min read

I am on the cutting edge of Baby Boomers. That means old, but, not as old as Bernie.

I am a life-long democrat, casting my first vote for Hubert Humphrey in 1968, and remaining true-blue ever since.

You might be surprised that when I took an in-depth issue survey in 2016, I agreed slightly more with Bernie than Hillary.

Imagine that.

I never want Bernie to be president — unless.

Maybe it is the finger in the air punctuating every pronouncement. Maybe it is the seemingly permanent scowl on his face. Maybe it is rarely seeing a smile. Is he humorless? He seems like a frumpy, grumpy old professor. Our country does not need grumpy professors as president. Maybe it was his lackluster support for Hillary. (Okay, that pissed me off.) Maybe it is that he will be 79 if elected. People, he just had a heart attack.

Granted, my bar is pretty high — the candidate’s priorities and my priorities are closely aligned; proven independence from corporations, lobbyists, super pacs and the wealthy; resume and time in grade; battle-tested accomplishments; represent us well on the international stage; congenial; humanity, humility, sense of humor; character beyond reproach; can take and land a punch; transparency, especially in all matters financial; and an administration as clean as Obama’s. In sum, the antidote to Trump.

Would Bernie be much different than Trump — my way or the highway? Of course he would, wouldn’t he? But Bernie is a true believer and a purist. I love passion and conviction.

I am transitioning out of capitalism. Heretofore, I believed capitalism was best suited for us. It just needed a lot of adult supervision. Okay, A LOT. Left unfettered and unregulated, the rich would take every penny we have. I believe that. And because I believe that, I need to rethink political philosophies like democratic socialism.

Right now, the division between rich and poor is worsening by the day. It is not just that there is not enough adult supervision; it is a little late for that. It is that the deck is stacked. Consider Citizens United. Consider the two tax cuts signed by 43, and the most egregious one signed by Trump. Consider the national minimum wage. Fifty years ago the federal minimum wage was $1.60. With inflation, that would be $10.60 today, or $3.35 higher than the current $7.25 federal wage. I could go on.

I am not promoting Joe Biden but he is the only candidate (to my knowledge) who has come out in support of public funding of campaigns. Boy, would that change the paradigm.

At best, I am an amateur historian, but I have lived through twelve presidents. Thinking back there were two purists who earned their party’s nominations: Barry Goldwater and George McGovern. How did those elections turn out? Landslides. Interestingly, I suspect Goldwater (republicans were isolationists in those days) would have kept us out of Viet Nam, maybe saving 50,000 lives. Conversely, we would have never passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act or fought the War on Poverty — a stark way to look at it, but there it is. Knowing that now, which way would you have voted?

McGovern would have also ended the Viet Nam War earlier, maybe saving 5,000 lives. And we would have not endured the country’s crisis over Watergate. That outcome would have been more appealing. Remember, McGovern only won one state: Massachusetts. Voters thought him too radical. Never mind whether he was or wasn’t. Only perception mattered.

The most recent credible true-believer non-major party candidate in my memory was Ralph Nader. Straight up — Nader elected George W. Bush, with a supporting role by the Supremes. Nader garnered 100,000 votes in Florida. Switch 10,000 of them to Gore and we would be looking at a far different historical trajectory — no two tax cuts for the rich, no invasion of Iraq, a continued presence in Afghanistan suppressing the Taliban and possibly defeating them, and probably no deep recession due to under-regulated capitalism. Thanks, Ralph. Rot in hell.

Bernie is a social democrat, a political philosophy that guides most European countries. I have traveled to most of them. Whatever they have, works, and by all surveys, they seem pretty content. Most Americans still don’t understand that.

I would endorse a model like most of those countries in a heartbeat. As a foreigner, I have experienced the inexpensive healthcare system in France, and even in Mexico. Our ex-pat, double-passport-daughter paid pennies for her two master’s degrees from the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

How do we get there? I simply do not believe Bernie is the one to lead us to that promised land. He sure as hell can’t part the Red Sea. McConnell already did that and erected something akin to the Wall of China to separate democrats and republicans, and in so doing, broke the senate. I do not see Bernie fixing that. Memo to Bernie supporters; we need to take back the Senate.

Here is my plea to Bernie loyalists — work your asses off for as long as you can. Stay true. It is your right as a citizen. But if Bernie does not get the nomination — PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! support the democratic nominee. It is your responsibility as a citizen. If you do, a democrat will win the White House.

If Bernie is the nominee, of course I will vote for him. Well duh.

If you do not support the non-Bernie nominee and Trump wins, I will curse you to my grave.

Prove me wrong.

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