This is kind of just going to be a rambling post. I'll try to keep it coherent, but apologies for if/when I fail.
Actually, you've made a fairly cogent point, and one that a lot of people have expressed as a reason not to vote for Bernie. You should see me - I try to say one thing in a post and I end up saying six
My biggest problem is that I can't get past the fact that I find a great portion of the boldest campaign promises he's making - those that typically garner the most attention - to be complete non-starters in the current political climate. Fundamentally, I don't really see a difference between Bernie Sanders telling his supporters that he's going to pass universal health care legislation in the United States of America with the general makeup of the House & Senate and Donald Trump telling his supporters that he's going to make Mexico pay for us to build a wall that keeps out illegal immigrants forever. They're promises that appeal to people who fervently want these things, and as far as universal health care goes at least maybe it's something we should have - but what's the path forward to get it done? After six years of bickering over the Affordable Care Act to say to people that you're going to expose the whole thing to gamma radiation and watch it turn into the Hulk? I think, not to drag the needle over this one again, Bernie's interview recently with the Daily News kind of drove that point home.
The downfall of many a presidential candidate in our history has been this idea that once they get into the White House they can go about doing what they need to do to implement policy. If that was true, our government would not look like what it does now, and look shades closer to an elected dictator. The phrase 'the most powerful man in the world' is incorrect when it comes to the President. Obama had two years at the start of his term when Congress wasn't vowing to obstruct him at every turn, that's
when he could have gotten stuff accomplished.
Bernie's proponents - though I'm not sure if he himself has said this - have noted that just voting for him is worthless, if there isn't a Congress in place to help support the kind of legislation he wants to pass. You could make Abraham Lincoln
President again, and he would have the same problem - if Congress doesn't want to go with him, it's an uphill battle.
Voting for Bernie means more than just putting him in the Oval Office. It means paying attention to future elections, Congressional ones, and putting in place people who will support his initiatives. I think that's primed to happen, too. It's finally dawned on at least enough
of us that the reason for Congress never getting anything done is because of all the obstructionism, and that it's largely the Republicans' fault for blocking the road.
But yes, for all the criticism you can levy about it, I prefer the cold pragmatism and shifting positions of Hillary Clinton. Gauge where public support is and what can be done now, and move the needle incrementally in the right direction. Small steps forward over a giant leap. Right or wrong, that's how the system works. I think the most feasible portions of Sanders' platform that garner public support - free public university is something that is very attractive to many people and could probably gain bipartisan support in some fashion, for example - is easily grafted onto her campaign.
Something here. Why
do the positions shift, why does she revise them? Is it because she's really thought over the positions she's held, looked at the evidence, and said 'no, I've been wrong,' or is it simply adopting the popular stance of the time in order to cynically manipulate voters? Or is it something else altogether?
My #1 criticism on Hillary isn't that her positions change - people do that all the time. My criticism is why
they change. People are starting to realize that the people we elect to office are treating this job - this very important job - a bit cynically. They'll come around and say all the right things at election time...but that's it. No serious effort is actually invested in keeping their promises. And to be fair, for the mindset they've got, why should they? If I get elected by a landslide to the Senate over Ex-State Representative Buttface on the issue of health care, and my goal is to be re-elected for the next thirty years, precisely what motivation do I have to actually fix the problem? I can just keep campaigning on health care reform and nobody can touch me.
And that's ignoring the powerful influence that the various lobby groups wield in DC.
Trump and a lot of the shenanigans during the Obama years have caused people to start waking up - we don't want people who will just say the right things, we want people to do
them, too. A lot of people are coming to the conclusion - and a bit rightly - that the politicians in DC just want to show up, collect their paycheck, and go home for the day. They do not want to do the job at best, at worst they are bought and paid for by someone
that isn't the people.
I do think the longer this goes on the more concerned I get about his supporters and the whole "Bernie or Bust" concept. Bernie has indicated he won't stage an independent campaign if he fails to secure the nomination (although that was a while ago and the situation between Clinton and he has become a bit more... tense, since then). Would anyone supporting him here refuse to vote for Clinton in the event she secures the nomination? I see a number of his supporters trying to frame a "she's exactly the same as X" stances which really bothers me - even if she's not your ideal candidate, I think it's fair to say that Hillary Clinton is politically closer to Bernie than Trump or Cruz on many issues that matter, such as LGBT protections, the minimum wage and health care, for example. Even if you needed a cold shower afterwards, I really worry that there's a chance of a large portion of voters just picking up their ball and going home if they don't get their way. That last line hopefully doesn't sound incendiary - I just can't think of a better phrasing.
Two things here.
A: Overall speaking, yes, Clinton is politically closer to Bernie than she is to Trump or Cruz. But is that because she's a real liberal, like Bernie, or because Trump and Cruz are so far off to the right that it wouldn't surprise you if they wanted to strike out the 14th Amendment? I think most people would answer the latter, rather than the former, especially with decisions Hillary's made about things like the TPP, the Iraq War, and others.
B: Taking their ball and going home if Bernie doesn't succeed may very well be what they do. This time
. Regardless of what you think about either of them, Bernie and his right-aligned counterpart Trump (I say this because they are quite similar in key core aspects) have both done something. They have let us know that we are We the People
, that we're the ones who decide what goes on here, the political establishment does not own everything. They have changed the game in a big way that is good for us down here on the ground. Maybe next election cycle, there's a new political party, or maybe Bernie runs again, or something. Just because we choose to do something this
time does not mean we do the same thing every
The most positive thing about his campaign might just be that it highlights how much the needle is moving for younger segments of the population (assuming the current young voters don't just become more moderate as they age). I just think as a candidate Bernie is maybe 10 - 20 years too early for his platform - someone else will have to take up the mantle eventually, and then hopefully the country is ready to take the last few steps after earlier moderates nudge them in the right direction.
Interestingly enough, there are actually some people who have said he should have run back in 2008, right after the financial crisis, and that no one could have stopped him then - Bernie isn't too early, he's too late
. I'm not one of those people, but I can see their point.
As far as most discussions I've heard, the
person to take up Bernie's mantle after he passes is Elizabeth Warren - she's insisted she wants to stay in the Senate, not run for President (or be Bernie's VP), but that hasn't stopped people from trying to persuade her. I know I
would vote for her!