‘Murica needs Sanders Vs Trump

Written By: JD Adler - Mar• 14•16

Our media loves a good celebrity reality show, but this election cycle is about a choice between governing philosophies more than any other in recent history. People’s faith in their government is nearly non-existent. Nothing gets accomplished, it is clear our leaders are corrupted by money, and when they do accomplish something it is often in opposition to the will of the people. Now we have 3 candidates offering very different governing philosophies. Unfortunately, due to the design of our system, we will only be able to choose between two of them at the end. Which two will set the tone for the campaign and the next four years.

If Trump and Sanders become the party nominees, the debates between them will have an indelible effect on our culture. The nation will listen to arguments between cooperative development towards a more just, inclusive society versus xenophobic violence and greed. We will have to choose between nuanced, long-range plans, or shallow, short-sighted, self interest. Sanders will argue that individuals deserve equal respect regardless of their demographic. Trump will argue that poor people and foreigners are losers who should be feared and hated. Then a choice will be made that determines the future direction of our nation. A clear choice being provided to the country, electing either Trump or Sanders, would not just be an endorsement of the one but a clear refutation of the other.

This will not occur in a vacuum, it will be against the landscape of all that has occurred in the Nixon to Obama era; Viet Nam to Iraq, repeal of Glass-Steagle, the Citizens United decision, the collapse of the middle class, the many permutations of our relationship wth Iran, our failed Latin American policies, as well as our successes in health care, civil rights for minorities and women, worker rights, and social programs like welfare and social security and medicare. Reactionary attacks on progress regarding women’s rights, workers’ rights, privacy rights and economic protections in recent years coupled with military boondoggles and corporate personhood have pushed the American people to a boiling point. This context will be heightened by Trump saying we don’t win anymore, and he can fix that while Sanders is explaining our current situation is a result of past errors which his plan thoughtfully addresses.

Americans will have to choose between brutality and cooperation for solving our problems.

Our nation’s history is driven by periods of dramatic social progress; from the Revolution, to the Civil War, to Women’s Suffrage, to the New Deal to the Civil Rights Movement. Each of these pivotal moments pushed us closer towards equity and collectively defined our culture as the champion of justice and democracy. At each stage, there have been opponents who wished to conserve the old system, complaining the new path was illegal, would destroy us, or somehow violated God’s law. These arguments are as old as the Federalist vs the anti-Federalists. Not once have the nay-sayers been correct. On each occasion it required the populace to stand together to achieve the goal. This is the definition of Sanders’ “political revolution.” Populist organizing to support social change is what he is asking voters to choose.

Sanders has argued that we need to end the corrupting influence of private money on politics and reform wall street with taxation and regulations. These two things, he argues, will clear the way for the rest of the progressive agenda. Ending the legalized bribery of campaign funding solves our do-nothing congress by opening elections, and fiscal reform stabilizes the economy while increasing federal revenue for social programs. Critics tend to question whether he can get these acts passed, not the legitimacy of his premise. To which Sanders argues that people voting for him are signing on to be part of the participatory political revolution.

Trump’s proposals to wall us in, refuse aid to the helpless, and murder the relatives of our enemies, while targeting citizens based on religion are definitively fascist (and illegal). His website offers little else in the way of policy, tax cuts are his only economic plan. Under “issues”, he has posted a series of 30sec videos that contain only rhetoric. Under “positions” there are a handful of documents, rewrites of old think tank pieces, that primarily criticize Democrat policy and promise to “make America Great Again.” The is no substantive plan other than expanding the military, being cruel to foreigners and cutting taxes for rich people. Meanwhile, at his rallies, his supporters raise their arms and pledge loyalty and/or beat up minorities without provocation, all with his encouragement.

A debate between these two diametrically opposed, popular views will force America to make a choice. Of the three leading Presidential candidates, Clinton wishes to maintain the safety of the status quo, Trump is arguing for a retreat to tyranny and Sanders wants to take a progressive leap forward. The status quo seems untenable to many; a broke, divided government with little public support creating more enemies than it defeats abroad while mass imprisoning its citizens can not last. It is time for dramatic change. Sanders and Trump both generate enthusiasm in their supporters, Clinton represents sighing and accepting an inevitable reality like cleaning your toilet or paying taxes. At a time when our people have little faith in their government, pitting a corporate shill against a reality show billionaires is not ideal. Sanders vs Trump represents an enthusiastic election cycle, a population hopeful for their future and prepared to work for it. Sanders campaign would also represent people actively working to defeat hate in favor of helping each other.

Its not only the caring versus hating message that America must consider; Trump presents himself with the intellect of an elementary school boy. He acts the bully, is bored by intellectual conversation, thinks bodily functions are gross, thinks women have cooties and utilizes the vocabulary of a 4th grader. Meanwhile Sanders is clearly a well educated, thoughtful man who supports his proposals with reasoned arguments. After years of the GOP denigrating education and critical thinking while the Democrats did little to fight back, Americans would be presented with a choice between nerd vs bully. Do we respect intelligence or knuckle dragging brutality? The winner of such an election would be more than just the next office holder, he would represent what the culture of America desires to be.

A Clinton vs Trump election, or even more so if the Republicans managed to turn the tables in the convention and nominate someone else, would just be an election between who Americans don’t want more. Clinton is disliked and Trump is disliked, and neither inspire a grand future image. Another such election, with 4 more years of status quo politics, could have significantly detrimental effects to the body politic of a nation which already has so little trust in its government and such a disfunctional economy.

Sanders Vs Trump would also present two candidates not bought by outside billionaires. Sanders funded by his supporters and Trump by himself, each beholden to no special interest beyond their voters. The court decisions which established money as speech and corporations as people have undermined our democracy, essentially legalizing bribery. As a victim of this problem, Clinton represents every reason people distrust the current system. She is indebted to the wealthy interests who fund her campaign while her public positions shift with polls; this combination creates a lack of credibility. Obviously compromise and change are an important part of politics, but her predisposition to incrementalism when dealing with ideologues means the battle for progress is lost before it has begun. So the results are the same, expansion of military and corporate benefits while citizens suffer for budget concerns. Yet a politician in her shoes must preach incrementalism, because it is the only way to attempt to please both the progressive voters and the corporate funders. But you cannot please everyone all the time, and when a choice must be made money will win out. An election cycle in which neither Presidential candidate has corporate sponsorship could have a lasting effect on the landscape.

If a President Sanders were successful at overturning the Citizens United decision and requiring public funding of elections, the playing field would be leveled for candidates and the influence of money would be drastically reduced thereby increasing the influence of voters. The domino effect of that on tax policy, trade policy, environmental policy, health care and so many other arenas would be incalculable. A President Trump, on the other hand, would make no effort to alter the system, having benefitted from it as a supporter and candidate, and more than once stating he believes only wealthy people should be President. If anything, his success would deepen the ditch we are stuck in, as candidates struggle to gather more and more funds to keep up with the new model.

The question of Sander’s electability is not only cynical, but requires testing. If we can not elect a candidate who wishes to shift our priorities to domestic services and individual economic protections, while receiving the largest turnout of any candidate at his rallies, then we are not a liberal country. If we can only elect a candidate who receives corporate backing while preaching pragmatic incrementalism, then America’s era of greatness really is over because you do not achieve great things by aiming low. Avoiding the risk of failure guarantees mediocrity. And if, somehow, we elect a fascist bigot preaching that greatness means being an international bully, then we should fold up the flag and disband now, for we would have betrayed everything every patriot ever fought for since 1776.

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