Bernie, Hillary, and the California Dream

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, and Hillary Clinton speak during the CNN Democratic Pre
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, and Hillary Clinton speak during the CNN Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Thursday, April 14, 2016 in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Many people are wringing their hands, deciding whether they'll cast a vote for Hillary or Bernie in the California primary. The beauty of democracy is that we all have the right to our opinion. This is mine.

A dangerously high level of social and economic injustice has become entrenched within American institutions, and it's not going to get better without vigorous, proactive resistance to our current political trajectory. Just "mentioning it," or "having the conversation," is not enough.

Revolutionary resistance to the current status quo is not what Hillary Clinton stands for. She argues instead for incremental change at a time when many of us feel incremental change is not enough. I do believe she would do her best to lessen the pain of people whose lives are unfairly affected by our current inequities, but it is Bernie who challenges the forces that make all their pain inevitable.

The Sanders campaign must do more than simply remind Hillary of what needs to change; it must bear genuine political pressure on the system to make sure the changes occur. And the most powerful way to do that is for Bernie to win big in California on June 7th.

Donald Trump has a dangerously dictatorial personality, and the only thing any of us should be thinking about now is how to defeat him at the polls. I do not believe - nor do polls suggest - that Hillary will have an easy time defeating Trump. In poll after poll -- particularly among Independents, who are the voters who in fact will decide the general election - Sanders defeats Trump more easily than does she.

In the words of President Kennedy: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable." It is time for a peaceful revolution, and Bernie's call for one resonates with so many people for a reason. One way or the other -- either peacefully, or not peacefully -- things are going to change now.

It is Bernie, not Hillary, who is proposing fundamental changes: reinstating Glass Steagall, breaking up the big banks, providing free tuition at State colleges and universities, rejecting trade deals that serve only the wealthiest among us, and providing universal health care - all of which are things that will begin to reinstate economic justice in America. Money would begin flowing again among millions of people now too squeezed economically to get into the game, to participate fully in the marketplace, and to spread their entrepreneurial wings. America needs its middle class, and only serious policies like those above will begin to revive it.

Obviously, a right wing Republican Congress will do all it can to obstruct any Democratic president's agenda - whether it's Bernie or Hillary -- just as they did Obama's. The only way to counter that is for more Democrats to be elected to Congress, and it is Bernie -- not Hillary -- who will bring more voters to the polls in November. That alone has the power to change the face of Congress and thereby override a Republican onslaught.

Bernie is staying in the race for a reason, and his willingness to challenge the elite authority of the Democratic Establishment is the best thing that could happen to it. The Party desperately needs to regreen itself, for only then will it regain its relevance among so many young people who see it as just another corporate tool. Millions of Americans have no historical memory of the Democratic Party of yesteryear; they don't remember Bobby, they don't remember Martin, and they don't remember John. The Democratic Party needs to reclaim its soul. The corporatists took it, and it's time to bring it back.