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How Socialist Bernie Sanders Offers Democrats a Shot at the White Working Class


How Socialist Bernie Sanders Offers Democrats a Shot at the White Working Class

Alan Chin

Almost everywhere that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont campaigns in his quest for the Democratic nomination for president, crowds overflow to standing room and in some cases out the doors. Ten thousand people packed the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin, recently. On a two-day tour of New Hampshire, 1,500 people came out to hear him in high school gyms and auditoriums, and at a barbecue and house party. Some polls have him tied or within a few points of frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the state, which hosts the nation’s first primary.


It is difficult to understand why anyone thinks Bernie is a Democrat. Because he is running in the Democratic primaries? That won’t wash, realists understand the only way for Bernie to get his message out is by running under the label of the Democratic Party, and that is all it is, a label, an entre on to the stage. Bernie is a democratic socialist, and for Committee assignments etc caucuses with the Democrats.

Then there is the hackneyed. “he says he will support Hillary if she wins the nomination,” red herring. Protocol is important, if only to maintain credibility and prevent fist fights. View the procedures of any legislative body, Parliament, the Senate, or what have you, and hear such as, "the Honorable Mr./Mrs, or my friend the Senator from Alabama, etc. It is pure formality and superficial deference. It is an act, a formality, it is so common in life a comic strip of yore used studied deference as its raison d’etre, “Alphonse and Gaston.”


The duopoly likes apathy and low voter turnout.

The duopoly wins because the usual choices are essentially between two peas from the same pod. Faced with such a choice, many potential voters choose not to bother.

Let’s say a candidate comes along – maybe it’s Bernie – who excites more than the usual volume of voters. Maybe he excites enough of them to upset the equation of politics as usual.

Maybe it’s possible for “democracy” to poke its finger in the eye of the duopoly.


I see Reuters is playing the race card here. Surprise, surprise…


I’m voting for Hillary because she’s a woman and it is important to have our first woman president.
There will be no more war because women are kinder and gentler and more compassionate than men are.

Everybody knows that Americans hate socialism, and I am an American, so I must hate socialism.
Bernie Sanders sometimes uses this repugnant term to describe himself.


Really? You think Bernie won’t support whatever nominee the Dems pick? Really? You think he would support someone like, Stein whose platform in certain areas is much like his? Really?


OK - you want a woman? How about a woman with a MUCH better platform than Hillary - Stein …


Interesting headline. So Bernie Sanders is offering the Democrats a shot at the white working calss? Translation, he is bringing the white working class back into the Democratic party to vote for Hillary when everything is said and done.


Some on the left remain critical of Sanders because his foreign policy positions are not all that different from any other mainstream politician: he supports Israel even in its attacks on Gaza, he supports sanctions on Russia, he campaigns for military seconding in his home state. But those positions should not lead any progressives to think that his current campaign is not a breakthrough moment for the ideals of democratic socialism. Once socialism becomes a possibility in the public mind, the numbers can then be addressed. To really put into practice his policies would require a drastic cutback in military spending which currently consumes 55 per cent of the discretionary budget. What would be the alternative - draconian increases in taxes for all?


I stand by what I said, and as far as supporting Stein is concerned, I voted fringe last time (Stein) and that is the last time.


Considering their much higher voting turnout, I think that at this point and through the (still 8 months or more away for crying out loud) primaries, Sanders has to worry more about the black and Latino/a-USAn vote. Capturing the bubba vote is for the general election. The pictures of the attendees at those rallys so far look like they are almost all white, N. European-USAns - who in the near future will be an ethnic minority. Blacks in my town - the politically active ones engaged in organizing anyway, can have a fairly blue-doggish conservative-Democrat streak, as I would find out trying to get them to sign Green Party candidate’s ballot petitions.

My city (probably unique in the US for its size) has virtually no Latino/as, so I don’t know about them.


If you knew anything about Mr. Chin you would know that he would not partake in anything that could be construed as playing a race card. White working class people, or Reagan Democrats, helped create what Kevin Phillips rightly saw as “The Emerging Republican Majority.” Talking about this demographic is not playing the race card. Google Alan Chin, an interesting man indeed.


Lots of red flags here …

“Can Bernie be the guy who brings the white working class, especially men, into the fold of the progressive left?”

Who brings them back into the fold of the Dem party …

“His menu of solutions is ambitious: … expand … the Affordable Care Act,”

Huh? What happened to Medicare for All? Doing a two step - is he taking “SP off the table” just like Obama did? Is he doing a 180, like that other “prog”, Kucinich, did?

His answer, in essence, to “how will you get your platform passed?” - don’t vote Rep, in other words, vote Dem, as if that party were ever so much better …

And there is what he doesn’t say …

Please, pay attention to this stuff, folks - it ain’t minor …


ThomasMarx was being sarcastic? :wink:


Yesterday, one of the guests on Democracy Now mentioned that 79% of U.S. States’ Attorneys are white males.

In this statement, Mr. Chin points out something few dare to mention (and treat largely AS taboo in this “Progressive” forum):

“Watching them listen intently, the burning question arises: Can Bernie be the guy who brings the white working class, especially men, into the fold of the progressive left?”

Hmm… this explains all the C.D. central players who now toss poisoned barbs at Bernie Sanders.

Then, following the kneejerk conformity of mass media, the gender item is omitted and Mr. Chin reverts back to this:

“So, can it work with white Middle America?”

There are enlightened males of all hues; but one thing held in common by angry white males is their blithe rejection of the CONCERNS of women, Latinos, and the Black community.

If the class struggle were really the cure-all for all of these items, it would not explain away centuries of sexism & misogyny or slavery.

Capitalism and those who want cheap labor are a significant factor; but it’s cruel and disingenuous to turn that into the ONLY factor and in the process, devalue the very real and often painful experience of persons who are not white males. In my view, this group has the greatest empathy deficit of all.

Nor is it any accident, that military recruiters rely on the Deep South and its ingrained racist-sexist warrior mentality to fill troop quotas. Worst of all–and this is documented (and yesterday I posted the link twice), there is a very real Fundamentalist-Christianization of the military in pursuit of a new Crusades.

Persons “of faith” (and in particular, the sort of faith that consigns to a male father god-authority figure the right to give orders that must be followed by those lower down the ranks) are immune to any Truth outside of their ingrained frame. There is nothing more dangerous that faith-based true believers whose central belief is Holy War, a battle over which god shall rule. And THAT is the mentality of too many armed, dangerous, and mind numbed warriors.


I made a mistake: B. Sanders does not call himself sometimes “socialism,” but “socialist” betimes.

If Hillary is elected, everybody will have a good job with lots of benefits, you know, like at China Mart. Our middle class working families will flourish and thrive and prosper and grow and gain and glow, and rain and flow and snow and nourish and drive and all kinds of enthusiastic and wonderful things!


Do you remember how angry the masses became after The Great Depression and the staggering poverty of the 1930s? There was more power to Labor movements and more visible Communist and Socialist party affiliates at that time. Nonetheless, Roosevelt was forced to make major concessions: enter The New Deal and many of the social programs that are NOW being eviscerated under the pretext that the money–used to fund sickening wars that benefit a few at the expense of millions of displaced persons, and to bail out the banks who engineered the inevitable financial crisis of 2007-2008… which in my view, has never been remedied–is used up, gone. (Okay to print it and hand it over to banksters, but apparently not for funding social programs that ensure a modicum of security for society’s most vulnerable.)

You set up an either-or scenario. If Bernie wins he must sell-out. As if the “front runners,” who oh, so coincidentally happen to come from the same 2 American dynasties that have run this nation (to the ground) for the past 3 decades… would not guarantee worse problems.

Bernie isn’t superman. He can’t fix a system that has systemic fixes built into it. And these, from Supreme Court rulings to who owns congress inordinately favor the very rich. That’s why Bernie actually getting face time and media exposure in pointing these things out may well lead to at least some meaningful reforms.

Note the parallels:

  1. The Pope is speaking openly about greed, climate change, and the wealth gap imposed by the 1%
  2. The Greek people have stood up against the Central Bankers
  3. Spain and Italy and Portugal could well follow Greece’s example
  4. BRICS are standing up to U.S. imperial hegemony imposed through both the dominant status of the U.S. dollar and conventional military tactics (and threat of lethal force)
  5. Several South American leaders have given Western corporations significant challenges

There are themes that come to life at specific times–shades of “A time for every purpose under heaven.”

The theme of rebellion to the status quo imposed by the 1% to further their own interests at profound cost to The People is popping up all over. Tomorrow’s historians may well link these developments to Stage 2 of Occupy Wall St., Spain’s indignados, Canada’s Idle No More, and The Arab Spring.

People ARE fed up. What possible good does it do to point out where Bernie may falter when ANY success or improvement could not be more mandatory? Or is it that you think some kind of armed revolution–given the kinds of weapons in the hands of these same dark elites–is going to create an improvement? Rather than a pretext to impose martial law.


Low voter turn-out is a favorite castigation in this forum, but more important than that are the following:

  1. Republicans redefining voting districts to give themselves a disproportionate influence
  2. Voting machine tallies kept under private proprietary controls (Ohio, 2004 for starters)
  3. A Supreme Court stepping in to thwart a genuine vote count
  4. Citizens United and the typical protocol that allows for the purchase of any candidate since any viable candidate requires financial backing to be seen in media or heard
  5. The use of draconian anti-drug laws to disenfranchise sizable segments of the Black Community
  6. Oppressive voter I.D. laws to further facilitate #5
  7. The vote selection consisting of a coke/Clinton or a pepsi/Bush

You do raise other important points.


This tripe is aimed at me and it reflects an incapacity to understand how the dominant paradigm operates.

There ARE distinctions between what is Yin and Yang or typically preferred by females and males.

By taking the tokens allowed into the circles of power to use this minute example as basis for decrying that there are no differences is a surefire way to maintain the status quo built by patriarchy with masculine interests, inclinations, and expressions exclusively in mind.

Just as I contested the point to a former Ms. Magazine editor, articles that feature women in sports–which is to say women playing with balls as men do–is not really a Feminist stance.

What is needed is voice, witness, and visible availability of alternatives to the paradigm that is built upon macho shows of force, a/k/a militarism, and war by economic means = unleashed Disaster Capitalism, the all gloves off version of the Shock Doctrine being imposed on nations… with Greece, birthplace of Democracy, at last saying NO!

The times are exciting because people are resisting… suggesting that a woman who’s shown her fealty to the martial machinery of this nation’s deep state posing as a Vichy Democracy in order to insist that there are no meaningful differences between men and women is a LIE. It’s a lie told often in order to retain a status quo where in EVERY field of significance, white males still hold a majority of positions.

It reminds me of the strained logic of a criminologist who, upon noting that 90% of violent crimes are done by males, tries to say that due to the 10% done by females, there is no distinction.

You guys strain to retain your own false narrative… but the dominion of the white male is coming to an end. Good riddens! It’s time for other than the white male bankers’ club, and the Koch Brothers, and the deluded military warriors for Jesus to grant OTHERS positions at decision-making tables.

If the old boys’ club had the answers (or any semblance of decency), the world would not be on the brink of simultaneous military, fiscal, and ecological disasters. (And that doesn’t mean that some white males have not flown over the Cuckoo’s Nest and transcended the frame that the dominators have held in place for centuries. Unfortunately those who argue against more female representation expose their allegiance to the retrograde spiritual dinosaurs’ club.)


It’s easy to SOUND pro-Feminist in a post like this… but given the logistics of U.S. elections, how many people have even heard of Ms. Stein? I love her positions and I voted for her a few years ago, but let’s face it: Mr. Sanders is getting the crowds to come out and his words resonate with the majority: the disaffected along with those all TOO affected by policies like NAFTA and bailing out big banks while leaving U.S. workers with little recourse apart from part-time work or fast food gigs.