A long-overdue turning of the political tide
Nobody takes Bernie Sanders' campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination seriously. Not Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who told MSNBC's Morning Joe show on June 25, 2015, that Sanders isn't electable because he's "too liberal."
Neither does Sarah Lyall of the New York Times, whose July 3, 2015, profile of Sanders painted him as a "revolutionary" and an "outraged outsider." Salon's David Bromwich points out in a July 6, 2015, article that the criticism of Sanders is an attempt by the "political and corporate establishment" to control "popular discontents" by dismissing their positions as "laughable."
In a July 3, 2015, article, Moyers & Company's Harvey J. Kaye takes exception with Sen. McCaskill's characterization of Sanders' message as "extreme." In recent years, the principles of social democracy have been labeled not only as unpopular in the U.S., according to Kaye, but as downright un-American.
Kaye argues that social democracy is 100-percent American. Public education, national parks, extending voting rights to all citizens (a fight that continues), and abolishing religious tests for people in public offices are all examples of social democracy born right here in the U.S.A. Social democracy was a core principle from the days of the American Revolution. Kaye cites Thomas Paine's Rights of Man and Agrarian Justice pamphlets as espousing concepts that foreshadowed Social Security and similar social programs.
It was the social democracy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that rescued the country from the throes of the Depression (after the catastrophic failure of Herbert Hoover's austerity programs -- sound familiar?) Perhaps nothing encapsulates the principles of social democracy greater than FDR's Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from want and fear.
The social-democratic 1960s saw the creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, expanded voting rights, civil rights, public education, and the birth of the environmental movement. Kaye states that the leaders of the Democratic Party continue to insist that the U.S. is a "center-right" nation, but our history, and our present, indicate otherwise. Kaye sees parallels in the messages of FDR and Sanders: Rather than saying they will fight for us, they both strive to spark the fight in us -- the fight to preserve our country's democratic ideals.
Doing so may require an overthrow of the current Democratic Party leadership. Erik Loomis says as much in an excerpt from his book, "Out of Sight: The Long and Disturbing Story of Corporations Outsourcing Catastrophe," an excerpt of which appears in a July 6, 2015, article on Salon. Loomis writes that recent Democratic presidents have done as much or more as their Republican counterparts to boost the interests of corporations at the expense of workers in the U.S. and around the world. From a U.S. worker's perspective, there's no difference between the two political parties.
Loomis calls for a takeover of the Democratic Party to return it to its roots: promoting workers, the environment, and income equality. That's the only way to challenge corporate control of the international economy.
Whether or not Bernie Sanders is electable isn't up to the "leaders" of the Democratic Party or any other members of the establishment. It's up to the voters -- a fact we can all be thankful for. Will a white-haired, septuagenarian Vermonter be raising his right hand to take the Presidential oath of office in January 2017? Not likely. But not impossible, either.