The Sanders attempt to shift the political establishment status quo to the Left isn’t a hostile takeover, it’s a much needed update to American political discourse and more
As the presidential primaries loom, the Democratic Party establishment has a choice to make. They can pull a "Hillary" again like 2016 and push a centrist candidate like a Biden, Beto or Kamala Harris. Or they could fully support Bernie Sanders, at the very least not get in his way, and he will absolutely win in 2020. If they do the former, they will split the vote against Trump AGAIN while simultaneously working against one of the most popular names in politics AGAIN and crippling him AGAIN.
A ‘Not Trump’ platform is simply not enough. Stern condemnations and snake oil sales pitches of love and acceptance are not enough. A ‘back to business as usual’ Democrat may be better in the short term for those of whom have always benefited from business as usual. But this will ultimately create another Obama like backlash when the things that need to be done don’t get done AGAIN. Tactics like this will assure another Trump presidency in 2020 or a worse monster down the road. As Capitalism eats itself, Liberal democracy will not be able to prop it up. When this happens, and it will, Fascism will rear its ugly head as it always does.
If the Democratic establishment and their Neo Liberal talking heads were to get fully behind a no brainer candidate like Senator Sanders, as they very clearly did in playing favorites for Hillary in 2016, he will not only win the Democratic primary but the presidency.
But they most likely won’t, how can they? When your ideology is the status quo, the middle of the road, you live and die by the notion that anything else is just as bad as anything else off the paved road in front of you. So instead of finding another road to go down they would rather grip the steering wheel and continue over any and all manor of potholes and speed bumps that come no matter how reckless it may be. ‘It’s getting rough but it’s the lesser of the two evils’ is a conclusion you can only come to if you think that, racial superiority and outdated hyper hierarchical social organization is equally as bad as everyone having a guaranteed access to health care and education, and preserving the environment.
Quite frankly, they fear any illumination of their ideological blackout. As Noam Chomsky put it, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum…” (Chomsky, “The Common Good”). Bernie has a history of pushing the bounds of that acceptable opinion spectrum and the Democratic establishment has a history of maintaining a death grip that same spectrum so as to not let it slip too far to the Left.
Bernie Sanders stands as the single greatest threat in the field to both a spineless Liberal establishment, and economic elites who want no threats posed to the vast wealth that has been allowed to accumulate for decades. As the saying goes, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” But rather in this situation it’s more accurate to say that, ‘their greatest fear is not that Socialism is inadequate. Their deepest fear is that Socialism is powerful beyond measure.’
Despite our long-standing progressive paranoia, thanks to “Red Scare” era propaganda tactics (the effects of which still linger in the American psyche), the topic of Socialism is becoming fashionable again. Bernie and his populist progressive appeal is only shocking to those who aren’t paying attention, the same can be said about Trump. The contradictions of Capitalism are mounting. It’s stretching at the seams and people, Americans in this case, are feeling the squeeze. Left wing populism and Right wing populism are both on the rise and people are looking for answers to their problems. We saw the birth of both the “Occupy Wall Street” and “Tea Party” movements during the Obama administration.
For all the hate and disgusting malice that was and is present in the support and election of President Trump, he did in fact tap into something that neither the Republicans or Democrats would. Part of his appeal was that offered answers that both sides of the establishment weren’t answering, albeit the wrong answers. Answers that at the very best that were stumbling in the dark, misguided, band aid on a broken bone solutions.
Trump himself was no departure from so called “American Values,” he was and is a reassertion of historical American values. What he was is simply a departure from the soft spun public relations marketing campaign that politics has become. Thanks to human conscience, hate has gotten harder and harder to sell over the years. But despite the previous 8 Obama years of a liberal, faux progressive paradise presidency, that hate didn’t go anywhere.
So along comes Trump, and Trump did what countless American politicians have done before him. He did what Bob Dylan once quite bluntly sang about; “A South politician preaches to the poor white man… you're better than them, you been born with white skin… the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool. He's taught in his school, from the start by the rule, that the laws are with him, to protect his white skin, to keep up his hate, so he never thinks straight, 'bout the shape that he's in, but it ain't him to blame, he's only a pawn in their game.”
Nothing has been quite so damaging to the well being of common people of all races and backgrounds in America than that of the struggling white worker who chooses race over class and the non white worker who chooses pursuing class over race as their road to individual freedom. As Black Panther Fred Hampton put it, “We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we going to fight it with solidarity. We say we’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, but we going to fight it with socialism.”
When the world you live in is driven by an artificial sense scarcity, not recognizing the puppet strings of that scarcity, makes you an easy target. An easy target for the most insidious of finger pointing that keeps you looking left, right, down and all around for your problems. Instead of what you should be doing to find them, which is looking upward.
What Socialism is and what it is not, and whether Bernie Sanders fits the bill is another topic entirely. Regardless, if allowed to succeed, a Sanders Presidency has the potential to open the brimming, proverbial floodgates of progressive politics in America. And in doing so, help brake the back of a bought and paid for, status quo, do nothing Democratic establishment.
What’s astounding is that, despite what the panic stricken reactionary voices would have you believe, his policies and positions are really not that radical. Not only are they undeniably popular amongst Americans and garnered him the support that we saw explode during his 2016 nomination campaign, it was similarly seen by his immediate front runner status after his Presidential candidacy announcement for the 2020 election. He stands as one of the singularly most popular names in American politics since his 2016 rocket to political stardom.
Universal healthcare, tuition free university, a living minimum wage, stronger unions. Many of these policy proposals if implemented, wouldn’t make the U.S. stand out among other major industrialized countries, rather it would ‘join the club.’ He only seems radical to the defiantly regressive psyche of American culture. Not only that, he has been more consistent on these things, and more on the right side of history than any of the other candidates in the field, and long before any of it was trendy let alone being talked about.
Bernie is the only candidate who offers a glimpse into and illuminates the economic class struggle. The only thing establishment Liberal types have to offer is the moral high ground. But the once radical moral high ground has been depoliticized, and turned into a commodity to be sold. First stripped of its teeth so as not to take a bite out of the actual root of our common antagonisms and then castrated so as to no procreate with radical politics again. Then like most commodities under capitalism it’s seen an explosion of overproduction, and what happens when things are overproduced? They lose value.
While the cultural benefit has been positive; it’s grown increasingly difficult to convince people that women are inferior, that gays are unnatural or that a black man can’t be president. The downside is that this has allowed Democrats to adorn themselves with the spoils of a cultural shift without having to do any of the actual work, without having to challenge the foundations of the actual material existence of these people they now supposedly stand up for. Now there are unending swathes of fairweather ‘Johnny come latelys’ posturing and virtue signaling their way into public office.
But simply having the moral high ground isn’t enough anymore, “the election of Donald Trump only confirms the bankruptcy of a liberal order on its last legs… the time for liberal, moralistic blackmail is over” (Zizek, “First as tragedy, then as farce”). Now that Neo Liberalism and it’s moral high ground finds itself crumbling, people everywhere find themselves with a choice, “...society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism.”
The often attributed to Rosa Luxemburg quote (though some historical confusion about its true origin is speculated) rings true today as we see barbaric politicians and their policies springing up. A burgeoning Right Wing renaissance has united around a ‘take it back’ mentality. Even though nothing has actually been taken, nothing has really been changed other than accessibility.
Capitalism requires exclusion to create value and too many of the ‘wrong types’ of people have been included for too long for those who hold Supremacist mindsets. For as much social progress we find ourselves with, Liberalism has left barbarism bubbling beneath the surface. Capitalism is now coming full circle, and has expanded to the point of no longer exporting barbarism but importing it.
Lay every criticism that you will at the feet of Senator Sanders. This is no attempt at romanticizing him. The reorganization of our world does not begin or end with a Sanders presidency. But we must demand more than 'Not Trump.’ It's not enough to simply not elect another Trump presidency. 'Not Trump’ is not a sustainable platform to run on.
Incumbency is already difficult enough to overcome, and the road to the 2020 Presidency is no different. Trump has not only the obvious incumbency of the office itself, but the longstanding ideological incumbency of racial division in America, and the incumbency of an overwhelming lack of class consciousness amongst working Americans.
Every attempt will be made to trip up, hinder, or outright sabotage the Sanders campaign. Bernie will most likely not be getting any support from the Israel lobby, none from the NRA, nor any Big Bank lobby. Not to mention his most recent corporate interest target, the goliath that is the private health insurance industry, calling for the outright abolition of private health insurance companies.
Bernie Sanders has drawn the ire of an impressive number of powerful interests and their respective lobbies. Because of this, there will be more hurdles every step of the way for a Sanders nomination than for any other campaign.
So really it comes down to the American people that have the choice. A choice that can only come into being through immense, staggering popular pressure.The Socialist tradition is rooted in people taking their lives, their workplaces, and their communities into their own hands.
Our opposition works antagonistic to this, taking away from us, out of our hands. Elections are no different and the vote for the 2020 presidency or the preceding Democratic nomination doesn’t happen in 2020, it happens right now. Every action, every day, or lack thereof is a vote cast in the outcome of the upcoming election.