The question "who is Bernie Sanders?" is peaking at this point in the 2016 election cycle. It is absolutely delightful that the recent turn of political events has spun away the spotlight from the blowhard Donald Trump and onto the Democrats. Well, the simple answer about Bernie is that he is a statesman as opposed to a politician. In the 60s they used to often make this distinction between JFK and other politicians. Being a statesman means someone who does the right thing for all. When speaking about what a statesman is, John Adams said, "Always stand on principle even if you stand alone." A statesman is a person of politics who is prepared to make the moral move as opposed to the politically expedient one. Bernie clearly showed he is a statesman when he made the comment at the Democratic debate that "The American People are sick and tired of your damn emails". In this era of extreme politics and hyped-up media coverage, a statesman like Bernie is a welcome relief from the fray.
Not coincidentally, he is the only Democratic candidate to draw big crowds to his speeches. So what is making him so popular? Given, that he has drawn over 250,000 to his speeches, it must be something substantial. No other Democratic candidate comes close to that. The main reason for Bernie's popularity is that voters trust him. They trust him because he has given them good reason to trust. For example, he is the only non-billionaire candidate who does not have a Super PAC fund. He also has gained trust by never going negative in all of his campaigns. He is not a cheap shot artist. However, the biggest reason for his popularity is his passionate defense of working and middle class citizens. He is not afraid of the big bad wolves of Wall Street and other predators that exploit their leverage.
He is a man with a vision. His vision is Democratic Socialism. Of course the term needs a clear definition. Much to his credit, he has the guts to not run away from the word socialism. Democratic socialism is the combination of the best principles of capitalism with the best principles of socialism and making this hybrid work. Important parts of America are already utilizing the principles of democratic socialism. These include public schools, public libraries, police and fire departments, the post office, highways and roads, Social Security and Medicare.
Democratic socialism gives folks the freedom to carve their own destiny but not abuse their success. It is a compassionate and sharing philosophy whereby everyone wins. The passion of Bernie's' vision and his hopeful message is assuaging the anger of U.S. citizens. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Voter anger is the main driver of this election as voters have many reasons to be angry. Citizens United which now enables billionaires to blatantly control politicians; took voter anger and shifted it into overdrive.
Voters are more desperate than ever for answers. Bernie's solution and his leadership is quite believable and that is why he is drawing such big crowds. He gives working and middle class voters hope of returning to better times. This is a lovable curmudgeon with a big heart and people feel it. He is a unique figure in today's political environment and the right person to start to fix our obviously dysfunctional government.
This was originally published at www.politicsnpop.com