Monday, January 11, 2016

What About Sanders?

“…but he’s a socialist.”

I haven’t actually heard that line, but I’m sure it’s in the minds of many Americans in re Bernie Sanders. They’re fed up with things as they are, and they like what Sanders says, but…

I respectfully suggest that the doubters forget whatever “buts” they may have and consider the following:

• Sanders served four terms as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, from 1981 to 1989. The last I checked, Vermont was not one of the Soviet states — and he didn’t turn it into one.

• He was then elected to the House of Representatives, serving from 1991 to 2007.

• He was elected to the Senate in 2007, and reelected in 2012. 

• He openly acknowledges that he is a democratic (small d) socialist — which means, if I interpret it correctly, that his idea of socialism is not devoid of democratic content, but that it strengthens democracy, giving people the full rights and security they now only partially enjoy.

And so if anyone is skittish about Sanders’ loyalty to our Constitution and to the democratic principles it embodies, have no fear.

Of course, as this campaign drags on — and there has never been a draggier one in my recollection — should Sanders’ strength continue, the socialist tag may be brought to the fore by his opposition.

In the New York primary, as I am sure Bernie Sanders will still be a candidate, I will vote for him. Whether he will win that primary, or any of the other primaries, is questionable. But he has brought to this race something our country desperately needs: a powerful voice from the left. And from the way it looks today, it’s a voice the American people are ready to listen to.


  1. Thanks for the balanced portrait of Bernie. I'm boldly declaring my support for his democratic socialist platform to anyone who wants to know my leanings. The time has come to revisit the maligned "s" word and apply its strongest principles to make desperately needed changes to our democracy.

  2. Well said, Seymour. I've had some run-ins with folks with a liberal bent, who have been swayed by the "pro-gun" line being pedaled by Hillary's campaign that Bernie is to much of that. It's amazing how "different strokes for different folks" applies when his opposition tries to assail his campaign. I said to that friend of mine that if he's going to start assigning issues that become a benchmark on who NOT to support, how about these other issues?—support for the disastrous Bush war against Iraq, support for undoing Glass-Steagall, not supporting Single Payer? Pretty soon he'd have no one to vote for—you get my drift? As they say, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Bernie is much better than the good in my book. Weaknesses? Sure. I could name plenty. But he's a shot in the arm for progressive forces, he's aligned with important grass-roots movements which, in the final analysis, is the only way real change is gonna come. And that cannot be said about any other candidate running for President.

  3. Thanks, Seymour, for the post. I agree with Matt. His campaign has the feel of a movement rather than a campaign. I have been a part of Labor for Bernie from the beginning. It has brought a number of new people from the labor movement together. The challenge will be to channel the energy into an ongoing progressive electoral form. Tomorrow we will be stepping up the petitioning for Sanders and delegates to the convention. Just saw Chuy Garcia and Nina Turner interviewed on MSNBC about the Sanders' campaign - they are enthusiastic supporters. Sanders' campaign is gaining momentum. Let's see how far we can help move it.

  4. Bernie will win primaries, but how many, we don't know. The campaign and movement will take him far. Winning is a very real possibility.