Both parties are facing revolts this cycle. The establishment of both have leaned on unchanging rhetoric that is out of step with the problems of American families and even their base voters are seeing through them after years of broken promises. Ideological purity is only of value if you are willing to die for it. Not many have that level of commitment and only subscribe to either from lack of choices, not the undying loyalty the politicians began assuming after the contentious division of the 70’s and 80's.
As a relative old timer, I’ve watched America’s infatuation with a unique brand of conservatism run it’s course over the decades and I’m convinced that it’s no longer in vogue, probably as a reaction to the lack of perceived recovery from the’08 crash and the inept leadership that proceeded that. America likes it’s liberals when times are good and there is little risk involved, but seems to fall back to conservatives when they think more “adult” supervision is required. This latest group of conservatives in congress, along with the frat boy Bush, have shown them that the GOP is not only willing to play with matches for the benefit of their donors, but is willing to do so in a powder keg. So much for adult leadership. Besides, if you can watch children in poverty and vets that are homeless and allow your ideology to prevent effective action to fix the problem, then you’re not conservative, you’re just an asshole. Even Christ knew to feed the multitudes before the sermon.
Hillary is a product of the shift to conservatism America embarked upon beginning with Carter (the first President to begin dismantling the New Deal). I believe she started with a protest/revolution belief system and just got worn down by the struggle with a deeply committed opposition and having to work through a shallow playboy husband who somehow got himself elected to the Presidency. She seemed to be the lightning rod that got the hits from the storm and became the most disliked politician in decades from the backlash while Bill never lost his rock star like status. She probably just decided at some point to screw the ungrateful unwashed masses and go with the flow.
The financial rise of the Clinton fortune and the revitalization of their power in the new Democratic establishment was all her. Bill would have been perfectly happy standing around in his library and picking up chicks. Lacking his smooth delivery and magnetism, she operates from brute force, which makes for unplanned errors and little cover except persistent denial when she is caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She would like America to get a prolonged case of amnesia, but the constituency of the party has been too hard hit in the last couple of decades to be star struck by her any longer.
Bernie Sanders didn’t just pop onto the national political scene. The impression that he is a newcomer while Hillary is “experienced” is only proof of the generalized ignorance among Americans about their politics. He waited until the most opportune moment to enter the national political scene, but he’s been around longer than dirt and he’s always been a democratic socialist. I’m sure that the money so prevalent in politics was offered to him, but he is a true idealist and his net worth and lifestyle back up his claim of being untouchable by it.
It’s only our decades long veering to the right that makes Bernie’s platform appear radical. If he was running against Eisenhower in the 50’s much of it would be considered normal and even that which isn’t wouldn’t be a stretch to envision as the natural progression of our system during that era. In fact, the countries he uses as examples of what we could have took their cue from us post WWII when our economy was going gangbusters, fueled by New Deal programs and a ready made market of farm kids turned world travelers and city dwelling consumers after their war experience. Those countries have fine tuned the balance between social populism and capitalism while we engaged in the trickle down experiment that was really just a relabelled laissez’ faire road to oligarchy that we’d already rejected with it’s heyday of destruction from the 20’s that culminated in the world wide depression.
Anyone who claims that we are, as a nation, better off after our grand trickle down experiment than we were during the Eisenhower to Carter era is not in full control of their cognizant faculties. Our productivity is almost a quarter more than it was then, and it’s only the distribution of the returns of that increase that is standing between us and the great society we aspire to. The GOP promises more dedication to the failed experiment, as if just a little more of the same is the answer to failure. The establishment Democrats, lead by Hillary, are offering an expansion of the welfare state, but no sweeping reforms in how government works or who it benefits. Bernie, for all of the accusations of his being radical and far left, barely mentions the welfare state. He is attempting to offer opportunity for everyone in a better managed system with no victims falling out and needing catching and supporting. This is much the same offering as the conservatives are claiming, except that his is proven to work in several places, including here, and theirs is well documented as failed over the last four decades.