The Establishment Democrats Would Rather See Trump Than Bernie As President
Let’s turn this argument around…
For the last four years, I’ve been hearing and seeing this argument in social media:
“If you didn’t vote for Hillary in 2016, you voted for Trump.”
I didn’t vote for Hillary, I voted for Jill Stein. I did not vote for Trump. And still, people like me are blamed for Trump’s victory. Nevermind that Hillary was a notoriously bad candidate. Nevermind that where the GOP had control of state government, they had been hard at work purging voter rolls, and still they are. Just ask Brian Kemp the governor of Georgia.
And now this:
“Vote Blue no matter who.”
They’ve changed the wording, but the motive is the same. The implications are the same. They tell me that I should be willing to vote for Biden if he’s nominated. They tell me that I should be willing to vote for Klobuchar or Mayor Pete if they’re nominated. They tell me that if we have a brokered convention where the superdelegates get to decide who wins, just like they did in 2016, that we should vote for whoever the wealthy and comfortable superdelegates decide it should be.
But the Real Clear Politics national average of polls shows that Bernie Sanders is taking a very strong lead in the polls. Why do they still need to tell me to vote blue, no matter who?
I’m starting to see phrases like, “Anyone but Bernie” in social media. When Joe Biden got into the race, I could already see it, “I’m here to stop Bernie.” Even former President Barack Obama chimed in to say that if Bernie looks like he’s going to win the nomination, that he will speak up. And with Mike Bloomberg, a former Republican, and “stop and frisk” fan, I see yet another candidate trying to stop Sanders. I’m sure all billionaires will breathe a sigh of relief if Bernie isn’t nominated.
For years, I’ve seen polling that shows that Bernie consistently polls better than Donald Trump. And now polls are showing that Bernie has a 12 point lead in the national polls for the Democratic primary. So I bet that there are more than a few nervous elite Democrats out there. I wonder what they’re so worried about.
It can’t be that Bernie Sanders is a socialist. Some pundits say that Trump will paint “socialist” all over Bernie if he’s nominated. Some are saying that Trump would love to run against Bernie. All Trump has to say is “socialist” and he’ll win, right? Bernie has been winning elections for longer than anyone can remember. Vermont knows Bernie and they still re-elect him year after year. All despite being labeled a “socialist”.
I think there is something else at work here. I think that the elite Democrats are very worried that Bernie Sanders might actually change the character of the party. Bernie has taken no SuperPAC money. He’s not taking any money from billionaires. He’s very focused on small donations. I should know, I send him $3 every month. I made small donations to him in 2015 and 2016. I remember how he said that the average donation was $27 back then. Now it’s $18.
But collecting all those small donations from millions of people requires lots and lots of effort. Attracting millions of donations from all over the country requires one to promote public policy outcomes that would appeal to a wide variety of people, from all walks of life, across the entire country. Appealing to a small class of very wealthy donors? Not so much.
Still, there is more to this. By chance a few years ago, I happened upon an article by Greg Easterbrook writing for the Atlantic Monthly, back in 1986. In that article, he describes what I think is ground zero, the point at which Democrats started to act like Republicans. This inflection point, this subtle change, was very confusing for voters, and it’s a problem that modern Democrats suffer from to this very day.
In “The Business of Politics: Representative Tony Coelho has raised a lot of money for congressional Democrats — and roused a lot of debate”, Easterbrook shows us how the Democrats started to talk to big businesses. They said, “you need us”, in an effort to get more money from businesses. They appealed to the creditor class.
The modern struggle we see today is a continuation of a struggle going back thousands of years. It is a struggle between creditors and debtors. Ever wonder why wages have stagnated for 40 years? It’s because creditors lobbied for laws that have the effect of stagnating wages, for if wages were to rise, people would be able to pay off their debts faster.
Better than 60% of all bankruptcies are for medical bills. Another good chunk is for student loans. And long ago, bankers figured out that if they loan money for houses, houses become more expensive, and the loans get bigger, and profits rise. They found the same thing to be true for higher education.
In ancient history, the rulers of Sumer and Mesopotamia noticed how economic imbalance grew from debts. So whenever a new ruler took power, he canceled debts, in a tradition that lasted for at least 2000 years. They observed, that in nature there were resets, like the seasons, so they instituted economic resets in the form of debt cancellations. When debts were canceled, liberty and prosperity were restored to the people.
We are already seeing this with Bernie and even Elizbeth Warren. There is serious talk of debt cancellation by both parties. There is serious talk of debt relief when we talk about Medicare For All. And we are already talking about canceling all or most student debts. I have the sense that if consumer debts continue to rise, our leaders will finally figure out that debt is political power. And there may be the talk of an economic reset, something we almost had in 2008. But back then, it was the bankers who got bailed out due to their enormous influence on Congress.
Those wealthy bankers gave a lot of money to campaigns for laws that would narrow the scope of bankruptcy to prevent student loans from being wiped out in bankruptcy. That banker money is campaign funding that elite Democrats don’t want to lose. So bankers will continue to push for ways to prevent personal economic resets. And they would be truly frightened if someone dared to mention a debt jubilee in a national political forum. I think this is the threat they see in Bernie and others like him.
The struggle between us is one of creditor vs debtor. Bernie Sanders represents the debtor class. Trump, the centrist Democrats, and the GOP represent the creditor class. When I put the pending election in that perspective, it isn’t so hard for me to choose who to vote for.