Bernie Sanders: Democrats Need to Wake Up
My thought is that Bernie has continued the campaign because the campaign is (and has been) nothing more than a platform to try to wake people up: he recounts the facts of our existence, and then points out that to change the current system (which has created those facts), there must be a political revolution, hopefully not violent. He wants to get the new generation informed and engaged and set them on a long-term course of taking over the Democratic party ten or fifteen years from now by involving them now to initiate their engagement in the process. Volunteer work, then membership, then running for local office, and so on.
I think Bernie regards many if not most incumbent politicians and established party bosses and media companies to be too entrenched in and benefited by the current system to make any serious changes, since change could hurt them personally. So the only hope is a new generation with a different point of view and set of convictions.
The reason that it might work is that the gates of information are, with the Internet, flung wide. Back in the day in which the current system came to be, there were very few sources of information available to the public at large, either as consumers (few newspapers, few news/opinion programs) or as contributors (for most, a letter to the editor was the best thing on offer). But now, with the Internet in general (allowing small independent newspapers to gain circulation easily and quickly—cf. The Intercept—the 1% no longer are in control of the means by which reports and evidence and argument can be disseminated to the public at large.
For example, Bernie’s message would have been totally stifled back in the day. Perhaps you noted the poor—extraordinarily poor—coverage of Sanders by, say, the NY Times and the Washington Post. Compare that to the coverage given to Donald Trump, another sort of populist voice (but on the Right): he got yuge coverage.
But with the Internet, Bernie’s message did get out, and it got a significant response. Not a majority, but enough to show that he’s talking about issues that are serious for this country. People certainly were not coming out in droves to hear him and support him because of his charisma. It was the content, and that content was quite uncomfortable for, say, the publishers and owners of the NY Times and the Washington Post—and, indeed, for most of their opinionistas. Have you seen Thomas Friedman’s house? This is not a guy who is going to try to make big changes, I would say. Don’t rock the boat is more like it, and let sleeping dogs lie. The problem is that the sleeping dogs are coming awake, and now they can talk to each other. We’ve seen a very negative aspect of that in ISIS recruitment: the disaffected able to connect.
Connection of like minds can brings enough power for the group to become an actor at the level of nations, and that power can be used for constructive or destructive ends. I would say ISIS is going for destruction, and Bernie is sticking to constructive means as well as constructive goals.
He writes in the NY Times:
Surprise, surprise. Workers in Britain, many of whom have seen a decline in their standard of living while the very rich in their country have become much richer, have turned their backs on the European Union and a globalized economy that is failing them and their children.
And it’s not just the British who are suffering. That increasingly globalized economy, established and maintained by the world’s economic elite, is failing people everywhere. Incredibly, the wealthiest 62 people on this planet own as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population — around 3.6 billion people. The top 1 percent now owns more wealth than the whole of the bottom 99 percent. The very, very rich enjoy unimaginable luxury while billions of people endure abject poverty, unemployment, and inadequate health care, education, housing and drinking water.
Could this rejection of the current form of the global economy happen in the United States? You bet it could.
During my campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, I’ve visited 46 states. What I saw and heard on too many occasions were painful realities that the political and media establishment fail even to recognize.
In the last 15 years, nearly 60,000 factories in this country have closed, and more than 4.8 million well-paid manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Much of this is related to disastrous trade agreements that encourage corporations to move to low-wage countries.
Despite major increases in productivity, the median male worker in America today is making $726 dollars less than he did in 1973, while the median female worker is making $1,154 less than she did in 2007, after adjusting for inflation.
Nearly 47 million Americans live in poverty. An estimated 28 millionhave no health insurance, while many others are underinsured. Millions of people are struggling with outrageous levels of student debt. For perhaps the first time in modern history, our younger generation will probably have a lower standard of living than their parents. Frighteningly, millions of poorly educated Americans will have a shorter life span than the previous generation as they succumb to despair, drugs and alcohol.
Meanwhile, in our country the top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Fifty-eight percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent. Wall Street and billionaires, through their “super PACs,” are able to buy elections. . .