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Bernie Sanders Readies a ‘Which Side Are You On?’ Presidential Bid


#1

Bernie Sanders Readies a ‘Which Side Are You On?’ Presidential Bid

John Nichols

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told The Nation more than a year ago that he was “prepared to run for president of the United States.” But he said he had to determine whether grassroots activists were ready to back an insurgent progressive-populist candidacy.


#3

If Sanders is as smart as I think he is, he will tap into the best of Rand Paul's ideas while rejecting Paul's Bible-thumper ideology and goofy-libertarian approach to government. That is, Sanders should take advantage of most Americans' thorough disgust with the "war of terror,""war on drugs" and "war on everything else" that throws away trillions of tax dollars. Most Americans are idiots when it comes to patriotism -- blindly supporting the Pentagon in everything it does without having sense enough to see the huge waste, but that's changing. Americans want to find a way to bring the vast majority of our troops home from overseas bases -- if it can be done in a way that doesn't appear to be backing down or accepting defeat. The U.S. has been defeated repeatedly in the past 20 years, but the average American can't accept that simply reality, so they must be coddled. Sanders should repeat the patriotic phrases and other nonsense that most voters love, but promise to refocus the huge amounts wasted on the Pentagon, especially nuclear weapons, on rebuilding America itself.


#4

No, Sanders is more aware of how politics works in this country. If he can use the communication and outreach running as a Dem offers to tap into the real pain and anger people have at this corrupt corporate oligarchy, he can make a difference and help turn things around. Sanders knows it will take a movement. Waiting for the next Che is a recipe for inaction and defeat. Just as he hopes to push the system in a more equitable direction, we can push him on issues which he needs to reconsider -- but not by stomping our feet and condemning him for being less than a saint.


#6

Regardless of label, Bernie in the conversation is better than a campaign of pure ennui without him.


#7

I’m sure Bernie Sanders heavily weighed running as a Democrat vs Independent candidate before making his decision.
As a voter who has backed the Green Party, and will continue to back the Green Party, I think it is better for the Democratic party and progressives everywhere long-term that Bernie Sanders run as a Democrat for President. I think he can revive and give voice to the progressive wing of that party.
I’ve seen my past choices of presidential candidates be ignored by the media, ushered out of by guard of presidential debates, even arrested and handcuffed to chairs to deny them entry to the debates.
In these times when the electorate is forced to choose between the least worst candidates, we could do worse than Bernie Sanders.


#10

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#11

Bernie's candidacy running on the Democratic ticket , and all the hoopla by progressives, reminds me of the Obama campaign in 2008. I hate to rain on their parade, but from my perspective, this is how it looks to me. The Democratic party, is the fake opposition party and now an independent and a man of some integrity, in comparison to most of the corrupt Democrats in Congress, has chosen the more effective evil party. True progressives, like Jill Stein and Ralph Nader among many other true progressives, would never join the Democratic party, because they know to do so,..... they would have to sell their political souls.


#12

While there are arguments against Bernie joining the Democratic party and implicitly appearing to align with corporate-America, there is something to be said for the fact that this gives him the chance to openly confront Hillary and her smug feelings of entitlement, and force her to clarify her fascist agenda. Give her hell, Bernie.


#13

Sanders will be the Dennis Kucinich of 2016, marginalized in the debates and made fun of on late-night talk shows as a loveable old geezer. I'm not falling for it this time.


#14

Hillary is 64, while Bernie is 71, far from an "old geezers".
Dennis Kucinich ran a good campaign in '08 but experienced a death in the family in the '12 campaign so dropped out in December of 2011. No one can predict how Bernie will do unless he gives a try and that is enough for me to support him.


#15

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#17

Yes, there are others, and I encourage them to run -- but will anyone beyond the left even know? Sanders is the best of the bunch that has much chance of being heard and that, in spite of his flaws, has great value. He must also be confronted and pressured on those issues but he is addressing economic disparity, corporate power and climate policy. If we are to tear down, criticize, and write off folks like Sanders and Warren we are our own worst enemy. He certainly is more progressive than Clinton, Wellstone was killed and Chomsky isn't running.


#18

I guess that's the best we can hope for from Bernie. He has shown himself to be the "loyal opposition" to Obama, in my opinion. And I doubt that he would be able to control or direct the debate to the most important issues. As I recall, yes, Kucinich was included in the debates, but he was marginalized to say the least. He was always stuck at the end of the stage and was seldom asked any follow-up questions when he did have a chance to speak. The media will control the debate, as I'm sure you well know.


#19

I would take you more seriously, Peter, if you could suggest a strategy which would further the "voter revolution."

Other, that is, than writing notes to people who already mostly agree with you.

Either as a Democrat or in a third party, it is extremely unlikely that Bernie can overmatch the media billions of the oligarchs. Look what happened to poor McGovern in 1972. As a Democratic candidate, however, Bernie's message of inequality and oppression will reach more people.

What happens to that message afterwards will depend on how we educate and organize beyond the electoral system. It won't happen because we "FLUSH OUT the Wall Street Empire's two-Party crap trap!" People vote maybe once or twice every 4 years. Real change requires that we be organizing where we live and work every day.

First, articulate an alternative to the economic system of competition and oppression, and second, Provide examples of our new, co-operative economy - in unions, workers' co-ops and neighborhood mutual aid groups. When we propose a new economy, we need something to point to that is working - and close by.

There is a vast amount of work to be done, and no politician, mainstream or otherwise, can do it for us.


#20

If you want to build real pressure on the system, CTS, organize new unions (and co-ops) backed by both workers and community members. As happened in the 1930's, only better. (No ties to Leninist illusions this time)

When we do that all over the country, THEN we will be able to build a political system which can grab more attention than the billionaire media.

Bernie Sanders can't do that for us, either as a Democrat, Green or whatever. WE have to do it. It will be harder work than blogging. But there will be more chance of success.


#24

Yes! Yes! Yes! The point, as John Nichols notes, is to bring up issues the billionaire class would rather keep hidden. No one is more qualified than Bernie Sanders to do this. Go Bernie.


#25

Who knows what Americans want? We've been deeply divided and subdivided by class and race. Dems and libs spent the last 6+ years more deeply alienating the masses who had voted for Obama in hopes that he could launch a legit public discussion about our poverty crisis.


#26

Actually, VP Joe Biden is the 2016 Dem Party candidate. Any Dem pol can challenge him for the nomination, of course. Democrats are unlikely to win in 2016 regardless, but that's because of an issue Dems and libs have carefully avoided for the past 6+ years. The poor (and those who get why unrelieved poverty is sinking the US) voted for Obama in hopes that he could launch a legit public discussion about our poverty crisis.That's not going to happen, and Dems in Congress have resumed targeting Social Security (specifically, the disabled). Liberals have maintained their pep rally for the middle class.


#27

What happened in the 1930s (and a couple other times in our history): Each time that the richest few took control of our politics and policies, to the harm of the country, the "masses" ultimately united to push back -- the poor and middle class, workers and the jobless, to everyone's benefit. That can't happen this time.


#28

Sen. Sanders is an adept pol. He used to advocate for the poor, being one of several pols who pointed out that it's impossible to save (much less, rebuild) the middle class without shoring up the poor. All quite abruptly dropped the poverty crisis issue to appeal to middle class campaign donors.