Rethinking America, American Bystander

Bernie Sanders for President?

Why Bernie Sanders is the person best qualified to be the next President of the United States.

Credit: Crush Rush


  • In a previous era, virtues such as the quest for social justice made the US the envy of the world.
  • Democratic politicians are overly concerned with the prospect of coming under assault from the right.
  • Democratic support for the Iraq war was the most craven act of political cowardice in American history.
  • Bernie Sanders is the one man willing to challenge America’s rightward drift.

This is not to say that Senator Sanders is qualified, it is simply that he is better qualified for the job than anyone else running.

For the past several decades, the Republican Party has moved steadily to the right. Today’s GOP is the evil spawn of Richard Nixon’s “southern” strategy and a misguided fetish for anything Reagan.

It has produced a stridently radical agenda promulgated by a bullying right wing media, via the likes of Fox News and numerous talk radio provocateurs.

The gentle political construct of “smaller government, lower taxes and stronger defense” that characterized the GOP’s philosophy for generations has given way to a knee-jerk agenda where the GOP is now on the wrong side of every issue, whether the environment, civil liberties, military intervention or financial regulation.

It has come to a point where it operates on the simple-minded philosophy that “more is better,” no matter how far to the right that “more” gets us.

The Democrats ideology

Over the same time frame, the Democratic Party has adopted the opposite approach, incorporating a “less is more” philosophy when it comes to promoting liberal ideals.

To be sure, the Democratic Party remains liberal, but its liberalism has grown increasingly stealthy over the years.

In fact, it was President Bill Clinton, who as Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, espoused the idea that the Democratic Party needed to abandon many of its previous core principles to accommodate a progressively right leaning U.S. electorate.

Today, Democratic politicians are overly concerned with the prospect of coming under assault from the right. As a result, the party has danced around issues like supporting a single-payer health care system or promoting stronger regulatory frameworks for the environment and the financial system.

It is often mute on matters of civil liberties, like NSA spying, and circumspect in challenging the use of American force.

Democratic support for America’s invasion of Iraq may in fact have been the single most craven act of political cowardice in modern American history. And the list of shame goes on from there.

A refreshing change

Bernie Sanders is the one man willing to challenge America’s rightward drift. He points out with moral certitude the values that guide the liberal spirit and, in a previous era, made the United States the envy of the world.

Virtues such as an unstoppable quest for social justice, the need for military force to be used rarely and judiciously and the certain understanding that we, as Americans, are in this venture we call the United States together.

His words are not calibrated to appeal to all sensibilities. Nor are they poll tested. Right or wrong, he stands for real and honest values. He stands for those values whether they can be enacted into law or not.

Sanders provides a stark contrast to Hillary Clinton, whose career as the Senator from New York was characterized by mediocrity and a certain collegiality designed for political expediency.

Her role as Secretary of State was at best unremarkable, devoid of a single concrete accomplishment. In her entire career, she has not once taken a principled stand, unless that stand was fully validated by public opinion polls.

A positive outcome

If Bernie Sanders is elected President, the likely outcome would be nothing more than four years of gridlock.

Simply, little if any change would take place as Republicans would man the battlements in ways that would make their persistent opposition to President Obama seem like a love-fest. The country would stand still for four years.

And that might be the best thing that could happen to America right now. Rather than the compromise and accommodation that would characterize a Clinton Administration, thereby dragging the American polity further to the right, the Democratic Party would be able to get back in touch with its core values.

Under Sanders, Democrats would start fighting back against the bullies on the right for the first time since the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in 1981.

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About Richard Phillips

Richard Phillips is a New York-based international analyst with extensive financial sector experience. [United States]

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