Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders for President

No coronation, and hopefully no cakewalk for Clinton.  Vermont Public Radio:

VPR News has learned from several sources that Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday.

Sanders will release a short statement on that day and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks.

We're about to see the separation of the Democrats from the progressives.  Last month, Bloomberg pointed out the small discrepancy in his message and actually getting elected: he's got to ask for money, and raise a lot of it, to be taken seriously in the media.

Much of Bernie Sanders' career is centered around his disgust for money in politics. He hates the fact of it, hates its effects, and, naturally, he has deep disdain for the process of raising it. The bigger the number, the more contempt he has. “I don’t do these fundraisers for $100,000 apiece or $10,000,” the Vermont senator, a self-described independent socialist, spat in his heavy Brooklyn accent during a recent speech to the National Press Club. “I don’t know anybody who has that kind of money!” His average contribution, he humble-bragged, is $45.

Now he’s thinking about running for president, in what is shaping up to be the most expensive election in history, likely exceeding 2012’s total of $2.6 billion. There is madness in Sanders’ crusade. But the madness itself is part of the method. Sanders aims to be the personification of the small but vocal movement trying to beat back the increasing political influence of millionaires and billionaires. The cornerstones of his stump speech: Wealth inequality is ruining the country. Climate change is real. And big money pollutes politics.

Supporting this mission will take, of course, money. His political advisers think he can be viewed as a legitimate candidate if he raises $50 million ahead of first-round primary contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Victories in any of those states, which he has already started visiting, would give him credibility as a real alternative to likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the thinking goes, and knock loose enough financial support to get his candidacy into the bigger states. Admittedly, a lot has to go right for Sanders—or wrong for Clinton.

Read all of that piece.  Beyond the money conversation -- Socratic Gadfly doesn't like him much for many other reasons -- Sanders is... well, old.  Seventy-three years old (Clinton is 67).  He's also, as everyone knows, well to the left of where the Democratic Party has been since, oh maybe George McGovern or Hubert Humphrey.

In short, there's lots of reasons why he's a longshot.  But I'll support him as far as he goes and as long as he lasts, because his philosophy needs a public hearing, and it gives me an even greater opportunity to figure out just how far right the Democrats are going in 2016.  It's going to expose a lot of people who have been masquerading behind "progressive", misusing the word to advance their very not-progressive interests, and that absolutely needs to happen.

Actual progressives who have abandoned the centrist, corporate, conservative Democratic party might even re-enter the fray.  It could send a little shiver up the spine of a few hedge fund managers, some big CEOs, and more than a few state and local activists.  Get on board with what the Democratic party once stood for, before it veered right in the first Clinton administration... or stay on board with Hillary.

Can't think of party more in need of separating the stooges from the base.  The Republicans have been undergoing this exercise for six years, and it doesn't seem to be hurting them much, after all.

Update: More from Vox.

Update II: The HuffPo poll aggregate has Sanders trailing Clinton by 55 points.  In order, it's Hillary at 61, Warren at 12, Biden with 11, then Sanders at 6, O'Malley at just under 2, Jim Webb with 1, and Brian Schweitzer at 0.0.  No emails from Bold Progressives with the name 'Warren' in the subject line as yet.

1 comment:

northierthanthou said...

Glad to see sanders in the race. I'm not terribly hopeful that he will win, but I look forward to seeing views injected into the debate that would otherwise be completely ignored.