American politics can be confusing even to those involved in it, either directly or reporting on it, but this year is more complicated than usual with Social Democrat Bernie Sanders running on the Democratic ticket against the most establishment of Democrats, former First Lady, former Senator, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
This is a global rather than regional story because some of the candidates are advocating vast military expenditures and even “carpet bombing” of entire cities mostly populated by innocent citizens of other countries.
Although Sanders adopted the party title ‘Social Democrat’ there isn’t any connection with the Democratic party except that he has worked closely with the Democrats all his time in Congress which is why he is able to run on that ticket.
Sanders is a U.S. Senator from the most liberal of states, Vermont, and is running as a “populist,” which simply means he is for the people; unlike ALL the other candidates on both sides who take vast amounts of money from big business and big banks.
The only exception is, of course, Donald Trump, who needs no contributions since he is already a multi-billionaire and easily capable of paying his own way. Of course, most people presume he is already very much in favor of policies benefiting the richest since he is among them.
This situation is one whereby American politicians take vast amounts of money from big corporations and billionaires, such as $600,000+ for a couple hours’ work talking to Wall Street bigwigs – the same ones who destroyed the world economy not even a decade ago.
It is a quirk of U.S. law (obviously benefitting only the wealthy and the people who make the laws) that what would otherwise be called bribes and prosecuted if anyone but a politician were being gifted with vast sums by people and companies over which he or she has an influence cannot by law be a bribe.
A few years ago this became much worse when the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case, saying that any corporation must be treated as a person and therefore can directly support political candidates.
This total disconnect between the elite, the elite ruling class, and people who make less in their lifetime than some of these people make in a day has led the majority of Americans to presume they are in the pockets of the billionaire class, a presumption only backed by the steady progress of pro-business legislation that has caused a vast disparity in income where 90 percent of the population has experienced an actual loss in earning power for several decades while the top half of one percent have accumulated vast wealth.
According to a New York Times analysis, the richest one percent of the population owns more and has more money than the bottom 90 percent of Americans – a recipe for disaster as seen over the centuries when governments dedicated to the exclusive benefit of the rich are eventually toppled by the people.
Of course, the same holds for countries with most of the wealth of the world concentrated in the G8 and terrorism spreading like wildfire.
Some commentators feel Sanders has missed a major opportunity by not publicizing his actual agenda and background.
It is felt that Clinton will do better in the south because of the Clintons’ long-time support of minorities but it turns out that Sanders, when in college, worked with CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and was even arrested during the movement for non-segregated housing in Chicago.
He has also failed to actually define what a Socialist is, leaving the opposition in both parties to make out it is like a Communist, when in reality Franklin Roosevelt was a kind of socialist because he brought us Social Security. Kennedy, Clinton, and most other Democratic presidents were very socialist in their leanings and policies since socialism is simply the idea that, while it is OK to get rich, it shouldn’t be at the cost of driving everyone else into abject poverty as happens in most Third World countries.
Whether Senator Sanders can continue his meteoric rise on the shoulders of younger and disenfranchised voters is yet to be seen but so far this has been an historic election year on both sides with billionaire Donald Trump spouting racist propaganda and Ted Cruz, the first place finisher in Iowa. standing so far to the religious right that you can barely see him from the center of either party.
The latter isn’t just my opinion this is the only time in half a century I can remember a sitting governor of a state announcing in public and to the press that voters in his own party should not vote for a candidate of that party but that is just what Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, did a few weeks ago, asking members of his party to NOT vote for Ted Cruz.
It isn’t unusual for a governor to endorse a candidate but asking citizens NOT to vote for one is new to me. Despite Branstad’s plea, about one-third of the Republican Iowa caucus-goers failed to heed his heartfelt plea.
This election, more so than any since the 1930s, is about changing the course of the country from plutocracy (governance by the richest) to an actual democracy that serves the vast majority of the people.