My issue with Bernie is that I see him portraying himself as something he is not: a truth-telling, above-the-dirt activist who hasn't and won't ever play the game.
A few questions to follow that.
One: what if he is
exactly what he looks like? (I know you probably have examples at the ready to say 'he's not,' but work with me.) What if the image isn't a lie, he really is
this way? What then?
Two: so, you would rather have a candidate that's 100% honest about everything, rather than someone who uses tactics like you're attributing to the Sanders camp?
I think there's a very big problem with that preference when it comes to democratic-style government. We essentially engage in a popularity contest whenever we have an election - though with things like the Electoral College, the effects of that contest are somewhat limited - so whoever says the most popular thing is typically the one that gets elected.
This works well when the voters you're dealing with are well-educated, and embrace civic virtues and duties. The problem we have today, as is becoming increasingly illustrated, is we have a voting populace who are not
well-educated, and who reject
civic virtues and duties.
Part of this is due to the machinations of the political establishment, who've realized that dumb and uneducated people have this tendency not to ask questions and simply do what they're told by someone who seems to know what they're doing. But part of it also lies with the voting populace themselves. Benjamin Franklin (in an uncertain anecdote) replied to a woman who asked him "Well, Doctor, what have we got: a Republic or a Monarchy?"
"A republic, if you can keep it."
Whether or not this actually belongs to Franklin is not the point. The point is that democracies, republics, representative forms of government, take work
, and far more than authoritarian ones like a monarchy. You have to stay up to date, informed, learn about logical fallacies and debate tactics, question who commissioned that latest study that says XYZ and whether or not they have an agenda. Being a good citizen is not a spectator sport. And whether it's because we're just too busy, or simply don't care, fewer and fewer people are engaging in the necessary behaviors to be
a good citizen - when Lincoln said that we would live forever as a nation of free men, or die by suicide, he was essentially saying that whether the union goes on is up to the people.
And right now, the people aren't doing a bang-up job of it.
But you can't say
that to people, because the immediate knee-jerk response to being told "you're lazy" is "no I'm not!" (If nothing else, watching the Republicans should teach us that.) Even if it is
true that people are lazy, nobody will admit to it because then the typical response there is "then you have no one to blame but yourself." The last 30-40 years of politics have been one gigantic, long-running game of hot potato, and the potato is blame. Blame for why the country sucks so bad. You'll see a lot of options - but the people, in general, has never been one. (It's always specific groups of people, not the people themselves.)
To use a movie illustration, the movie Interstellar
has a robot character - TARS - who has, I kid you not, an Honesty Setting. TARS explains that his typical honesty level is about 90%, because 100% honesty could be seen as 'too brutal.'
Brutal honesty, 100%, from where I sit, would be to tell the populace 'this is your fault.' Which would just result in mass rejections and get us nowhere. What we have to do is get people back into the political process, we have to start producing good citizens again.