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Which Democratic Party? Bernie Sanders and FDR's Second Bill of Rights


Which Democratic Party? Bernie Sanders and FDR's Second Bill of Rights

Thomas J. Adams

It’s a moment that comes like clockwork every time I teach a course on 20th Century American history. I have seen it happen in the Midwest, the South, the Northeast, as well as in Australia. Placing the text of Franklin Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union address on the board, I turn on audio of Roosevelt delivering it to the wartime nation. As students listen to Roosevelt enumerate his “Second Bill of Rights,” deep surprise is registered on their faces.


In the time of instant social media, political parties are showing themselves to be the anachronisms that they are. It is time to prepare for post-party politics that will emerge. We need less structure (no parties) and more freedom in the exchange of ideas. Bernie's campaign is a great start in this process.


Thanks for this timely vision Thomas. There is a choice being made between the Corrupted Dem Party DNC/DLC establishment and the party as it could and should be, that espouses and fights for progressive issues and integrity that many great Dems from the past have championed - as Bernie Sanders champions now.

The corrupt DLC corporate/banker/Wall Street-whore wing of the Dem Party has subverted history and our potential future and they and their vulture capitalist masters must be taken down! The Clinton-Obama-Clinton corporate machine serves big-money and power, and the 1%, NOT the 99% or a sustainable future!
There are some that doubt Bernie Sanders to the point of undermining his leadership, strong voice for progressive issues that only serves the entrenched Dem establishment's servitude to corporate greed and big-money - serves corrupt politics and self-interest million dollar speeches.
Sanders has shown political savvy, courage, independence - strong integrity and moral compass - he deserves respect and continued support! He never asked us to submit to the Dem machine politics as usual and I don't believe he will!


Noble, but naive. Going into the democratic convention will be like a field mouse taking shelter under a running lawnmower.


"The party of lesser evils". What a great description of the democrat party.


Great piece but the Democrats have long ago became the party of grater evils,,,,,,many quote JFK" a rising tide lifts all the boats" but as a result of legislation and rigged trade deals that simply is no longer true....Who signed those deals Clinton.


We'll see, won't we? That one decision he makes could be the most interesting and pivoting statement of this election...the exception being election day itself.

What will Bernie do?


He sure did.


Mr. Adams presents a good analysis except that it doesn't place enough emphasis on the power and influence of Big Money.

It was Big Money, via the Koch Brothers, ALEC, and the like, that set the Neo-liberal agenda.

And that agenda involved deregulation of many key aspects of the nation's critical infrastructure. For instance, the deregulation of media allowed print, TV, and radio to fall into corporate hands. With 5 major broadcast companies owning access to major media, costs could skyrocket (for advertising, which politicians require to mount successful campaigns) and that forced candidates to become beholden to big money interests.

Add in the odious Supreme Court's "Citizens United" which essentially provided billionaires with the legal right to purchase election outcomes and thereby, the agendas of the nation.

It wasn't ideology in particular that moved the Democrats to the right. THAT was where the Money is! And so long as the system requires money the way the vampire requires blood, talk of ideology is like moving furniture around on a sinking Titanic.

What Sanders showed was that a candidate who truly represented The Peoples' interests could generate massive amounts of campaign support through small donations and a staff with the technical savvy to tap that resource pool.

It's been obvious that media has done its utmost to give Sanders FAR less face time than other candidates, play down his wins, and constantly repeat the mantra that he can't win. Add in the state-to-state voting rule discrepancies, the problems in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Arizona, and it's obvious that Hillary's wins are largely RIGGED.

Few U.S. citizens like to see cheating in any form.

It's taken the anti-New Deal proponents 40 years to build their network of think tanks, fund their network of academics, and purchase their sycophantic politicians... they are not going to let go of the infrastructure they've built without one helluva fight.

It's absurd that people (the majority, angry white guys) actually think that a billionaire like Trump would betray his own class' interests to act as the working man's ally and come to their assistance!

History does repeat because cycles are built into the fabric of time. Whether fascism rises in America or the elites let go of the gains they've engineered (see Piketty Study) over the past few decades to evade The Revolution is yet to be seen.


Yes Michael, we will see and I do hope my trust is Sanders' integrity isn't misplaced - I don't really have reason to think so yet. Time is running out (or has) on the ability to effect any real change to domination by the 1% and their bought political whores of both party establishments. Millions are pissed and angry at being sold-out so often by so many, their futures compromised to feed corruption, greed and usury. Sanders is educating - speaking of issues and making people comfortable with socialist ideas and egalitarian visions - changes. He deserves respect for bringing so many disaffected victims of vulture capitalism together to think, and increasingly act, at least, like Occupy did - will he capitulate? Promote a third party? what will come out of all this ain't clear yet, but it's sure comin......keep the faith


Until things shake out, we don't know what Bernie will do, but from all the analysis around this question it appears that Bernie will not go independent or Green. He will try to impact the worthless Democratic platform, mostly ignored by the Party's elected officials and reworded every four years. He might successfully change the rules governing the Party, a more effective path, but still far short of the needed sea change. Time will tell.

The real question is what will I do if Bernie does not continue to run in the general election?

Are we witnessing a movement or a campaign? A movement will mobilize, a campaign will not.


The biggest reason for the change in Democratic politics was probably a shift in population to the sunbelt states. Demographically this is no longer the country of FDR dominated by large populations in the Northeast and Midwest. While the sunbelt states are less conservative then they used to be because many northerners moved south these states now have far more political power and are still conservative. It took awhile for the Democratic Party to adapt to the shift in regional power. But Bill Clinton showed how it could be done and Democrats now have a good chance of winning the White House. On the congressional level however, things aren't going that well for the Democrats with the sunbelt states getting ever more members of the House as the northern states continue to lose members in the House and in the Senate of course the small conservative western states have a lot of power compared with their populations.


Thanks Carol, I just wanted to support your position with a comment...


To a great degree, Bernie is operating much like a party within a party, except he has seemingly very little establishment Democrats behind him (thinking Debbie Wasserman Schultz, here). The traditional party system is ever so corrupted by unelected party bosses and kingmakers. Bernie is showing us how to run on issues to which he has consistently supported. George Washington loathed the concept of political parties and I believe that he was right. Party politics and campaign donations leave politicians beholden to too many interests in conflict with those of the electorate.


We will keep on fighting and deny Hillary the Presidency, no matter what else happens. #NeverHillary.


" We must continue the revolution by making this the first time a third party wins."

One way that could happen is if Bernie joined Jill Stein and the Green Party. And if HRC is nominated by the corrupt dems. I would hope Bernie sees that it is no use to try to reform the corruption from within and that the only hope is a third party coalition. I think Bernie has some integrity on domestic issues and speaks the truth about those issues, but Bernie trying to reform the rampant corruption in the DNC is a lot like someone joining the Mafia and trying to reform it!


Thanks for the response of the Democratic establishment.

Of course, they HAD to sell us out and Bill Clinton

Which is why we need to defeat the Clinton dynasty.

We don't need no stinkin' dynasty.

Sanders 2016


The basic difference between Sanders and Trump is that Sanders wants to make Murka inclusive again, while Trump wants to make Murka white again.

Inclusive in this context means all ethnicities AND wealth/income brackets.

Clinton wants to make the 99% poor again, like back during the gilded age.


Resident Hillbot Lrx has just shown how different the current Democratic establishment is to the old Democratic Party. LBJ knew that by signing the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act he was going to lose the South for the party. He signed them anyway because it was the right thing to do. And, he lost the South. The new democrats say they have to capitulate for votes instead of standing on principle. (Or at least that's what they tell people naive enough to not realize there is no capitulation at all and that the new dems have different principles than the old party used to have.)


I have to agree with you even though I would love to be wrong.