On March 1, I will be voting for a pragmatist. I will be voting for a candidate who was dubbed the “Amendment King” during his 16 years as a U.S. Congressman; who fought to include $11 billion in funding for community health centers in the Affordable Care Act; who passed a bipartisan reform of the Veterans Administration. I will also be voting for a pragmatist, a radical and a self-described “democratic socialist.” Next Tuesday, I will be voting for Bernie Sanders.
Income inequality has reached grotesque levels not seen since the eve of the Great Depression. Labor force participation is at its lowest level since the anemic economy of the early Reagan administration. Real unemployment is at 9.9 percent. 33 million people are still without health insurance. At the same time, corporate profits and the stock market indexes have reached record highs. Unlimited sums of money, largely from the checkbooks of the “winners” in this economy, are funneled into the political process to candidates hostile towards even the most modest of regulations or welfare programs.
Senator Sanders has taken his case directly to the American people with a people’s campaign that offers a progressive vision for a democratic American future.
Enter Bernie Sanders, a public official who recognizes the dire threat posed to American democracy because of the accretion of political and economic power by a small faction within the population. He has spoken out against this injustice throughout his political career, and his current campaign offers a blueprint of how to break the stranglehold that this emerging plutocracy has on our republic. Rather than follow his opponent by cozying up to Wall Street financiers who seek to rig the game for themselves, or surround himself with lobbyists in thrall to the economic royalists, Senator Sanders has taken his case directly to the American people with a people’s campaign that offers a progressive vision for a democratic American future.
Sanders’s proposals are hardly extreme when viewed from a global perspective — or when one considers the progressive tradition here in the United States. His promotion of single-payer healthcare for all is well within the mainstream of social democratic (even conservative) politics throughout the developed world. His proposal to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure reconstruction jobs program is in fact far less than the amount recommended by the American Society of Civil Engineers to bring the country’s infrastructure up to par — and is yet significantly greater than that offered by Secretary Clinton or any Republican contender. Bernie’s refusal to coordinate with a super PAC financed by billionaires, and his record-setting success of raising small-dollar donations, speak to his ironclad commitment to reforming our disgrace of a campaign finance system. On foreign policy, Senator Sanders tacks closer to President Obama’s restrained use of force than does Secretary Clinton, who has criticized the president for not engaging in more capricious military adventurism along the lines of Iraq and Libya.
Far from being a “single issue candidate,” Bernie Sanders offers a comprehensive plan to challenge the emergence of an oligarchy in this country.
Far from being a “single issue candidate,” Bernie Sanders offers a comprehensive plan to challenge the emergence of an oligarchy in this country. True, he hammers home the need to curtail the plutocracy arising in our midst. He recognizes that concentrated wealth allows the purchase of politicians to obstruct decisive action on climate change, healthcare and the preservation of the welfare state. Without a meaningful challenge to this system of legalized corruption, all other attempts at reform will come up short.
This is why I will vote for Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday. Contrary to what the pundits will tell you, the struggle will not end on March 1, nor will it end at the Democratic National Convention this summer. The battle for the soul of the Democratic Party and for the future of American democracy is just getting underway.
Email Alex Frey at [email protected]