It's not about the great social programs, free public education, medicare for all, criminal justice reform, or a $15 minimum wage. Although those things would be great for our economy and quality of life, I agree that they are not going to happen just because we elect Bernie. What the political revolution means to me, and why I will vote and volunteer for Bernie every chance I get, is something much more pragmatic.
I am a populist, and this is our year apparently. We come in different flavors, socialist or libertarian, anarchic or authoritarian. We disagree about the size and style of governance, but we agree on one thing. The government is of, by, and for the people.
In particular, a responsibility of government is to protect people from predatory and unfair business practices. It's part of something called justice. Somewhere along the line, the government turned this idea on its head. Rather than protecting the American people from the excesses of the finance industry, health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, weapons manufacturers, and fossil fuel companies, the U.S. government has devoted more and more of its time to enhancing the ability of these special interests to extract an ever bigger share of our incomes. That's how we came to this place of dangerous inequality and political instability.
These facts are not lost on the American public. We aren't that stupid, and woe to any candidate that thinks we are. We want the government to start protecting the people again, now. In November, I believe the voters will elect whichever candidate makes the most convincing case that they will protect the little guy, which is to say Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump.
Hillary is quite clearly part of the bipartisan neoliberal political establishment that ushered in the "business friendly" policies that have been destroying the real economy for the past forty years. How can we be so certain? Perhaps because we still feel the results of Bill's 1990s welfare reform, financial deregulation, and trade policy, or more recently because she and Bill have made tens of millions of dollars making speeches to and hobnobbing with all of these predatory business leaders. We don't even need to see the transcripts of the speeches to know it's true. Obviously what she said to them would reveal just how beholden to corporate interests she is, and she can't release them without massive redactions.
Bernie, of course, is too nice (and politically astute) to point these things out, except obliquely, but Trump won't hesitate. If she gets the nomination, he will be able to successfully paint Hillary as corrupt, not because she is personally doing anything illegal, but because she is part of a thoroughly corrupt system, exemplified by our laughable campaign finance system and the way Wall Street continually gets away with criminal behavior, among other outrages. Guess how much money the finance industry has given to try and install Hillary as the next one to keep them fat and happy?
Hillary, as qualified and well-liked by pundits as she may be, is not electable in a populist environment. The only way Hillary can defeat Trump is to hope that he beats himself, which is definitely a possibility for a narcissistic clown. Is that really a risk Democrats want to take though?
Bernie, on the other hand, is tailor made for this populist moment. After starting with no money and little name recognition, how else does one explain a 74 year young Jew from Vermont, who righteously calls himself a Democratic Socialist in a thick Brooklyn accent, being where he is in the polls?! In a time of epochal economic imbalance, he proposes real and bold solutions -- and it's not about him, it's about us.
There is video that stretches back more than 50 years showing that Bernie has been tirelessly fighting for us, the people, his entire adult life. Is there any doubt that Bernie as President would not have a justice department with teeth or nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn Citizens United? In a contest between his authentic populism and Trump's act, Bernie would win in a landslide.
Let's make it happen.