Bernie Sanders Is A Socialist And That’s Not As Crazy As It Sounds

1 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP sources: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to run for president.

Hillary Clinton’s “no real accomplishments” legacy as secretary of state and new allegations about foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation put the Democrat’s presumptive lock on the presidential nomination in jeopardy, former Rhode Island Gov. WASHINGTON (AP) — Day-old presidential contender Bernie Sanders said Thursday that questions about the Clinton Foundation’s activities are fair game in the race for the Democratic nomination, and noted that Hillary Rodham Clinton has yet to take a position on contentious trade legislation and the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. Bernie Sanders, the punch-from-the-gut self-proclaimed champion of the underpaid, overworked American worker, jumped onto the presidential campaign Thursday as a very liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders formally launched his campaign for the presidency Thursday afternoon, promising to make the economic unease of America’s middle class the driving force of his long-shot bid.

The 73-year-old senator from Vermont enters the race as a decided long shot, but his candidacy suggests a sharp, perhaps divisive debate among Democrats from now until at least early next year over government’s role in American life and the influence of money in politics. In an email announcement to his supporters, Sanders said the middle class was at a “tipping point” that required the nation to “boldly change course.” He also railed against what he called disastrous Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance, and warned of the “catastrophic consequences” of climate change. Sanders, an independent who describes himself as a “democratic socialist,” will follow a statement with a major campaign kickoff in his home state in several weeks. Sanders, the longest-serving independent in congressional history, has long been a strong, often lonely voice fighting against income inequality and for tougher corporate regulation.

Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont, who’s expected Thursday to announce a bid for president as a Democrat. “Elections should be about choices,” Chafee said. “There are a lot of candidates on the Republican side [and] now we’re getting more on the Democrat side.” But Chafee started out as a Republican, serving as a U.S. senator from Rhode Island from 1999 to 2007. It says, “A political revolution is coming,” and has a disclaimer that it is “paid for by Bernie 2016, not the billionaires.” Sanders said he remains a political independent, but drew a tweeted welcome to the race from Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee. “Sanders has clearly demonstrated his commitment to the values we all share as members of the Democratic Party,” she posted. The white-haired senator and former mayor of Burlington, Vermont, has been a liberal firebrand, blasting the concentration of wealth in America and assailing a “billionaire class” that he says has taken over the nation’s politics.

She voted for it,” he said. “The ramifications we live with today are so significant … in the Middle East and North Africa.” The Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat said that even though he’s switched parties over the years his domestic voting record remained consistent. Like Howard Dean and some other upstarts from electoral history, however, Sanders could influence the race — by making arguments that Clinton will have to address and, in the process, pulling the debate and ultimately Clinton’s platform to the ideological left. Sanders also cited his ongoing battle against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would make it easier for American corporations to do business in 11 other nations.

Considering himself socially liberal and fiscally conservative, he contended he never changed his principles. “The Republican Party become more about the social issues … and less about balancing the books.” That’s why he said he left the GOP. This is an outcome that many Republicans seem to relish, given Sanders’ unabashed embrace of the “s” word. “Bernard Sanders is avowed Socialist,” John Cornyn, the senior Republican senator from Texas, chortled on Twitter. “52 percent of Democrats are ok with that.” The figure is a reference to a 2014 survey in which about half of the respondents identifying as Democrats said they approved of socialism as an economic system. (Roughly the same proportion of Democrats approved of capitalism.) You can understand why that result would make Republicans like Cornyn feel smug. Aides to Clinton, whose husband pushed through the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993, have indicated she could support the deal if it were shown to help American workers and national security. He has called for universal health care, a massive infrastructure jobs and building program, a more progressive tax structure and reforms to address the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which Sanders says has unleashed a torrent of money from big donors to political candidates. The senator has generated some enthusiasm on college campuses and liberal enclaves in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and made several trips to court the influential Democratic voters there. “I know Hillary Clinton has always been expecting for there to be a competitive Democratic primary in New Hampshire,” Sullivan said. “I think he should be taken seriously.” Karl Rhomberg, a Davenport, Iowa, Democratic activist, said that while he expects Clinton “to be the nominee, I expect her to listen to Bernie, listen to (Martin) O’Malley and listen to people from the left.” He added: “If Bernie is going to put a stake on the left side of the field and draw Hillary toward it, that’s OK with me.” Sanders will start his campaign as a distinct underdog against Clinton, who remains the dominant front-runner.

He also said he is helping lead opposition to legislation that would strengthen President Barack Obama’s hand in future trade talks, including a proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. Clinton has supported previous trade deals, and the issue emerged as a key point of contention eight years ago when she and Obama both sought the presidency.

He has carried a consistent message during his political career, arguing that the system is rigged in favor of the wealthiest Americans to the disadvantage of the nation’s poor and working class. She’s expressed skepticism recently about the emerging Pacific agreement, saying it must protect U.S. workers, but has not taken a firm position on the deal and spoke in its favor when in Obama’s Cabinet. How you feel about them will depend, inevitably, on your own ideological predispositions and, to some extent, how you interpret available evidence on their effectiveness.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native was elected to Congress in 1990, then to the Senate in 2006, with aides telling anyone who asked that he wasn’t a socialist with a capital S, he was an independent. He’s relentless in pushing his agenda. “How does it happen that the top 1 percent own about as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent?” he asked at a Capitol Hill news conference Thursday. “My conclusion is that type of economics is not only immoral, not only wrong, it’s unsustainable.” “Real unemployment in America is not 5 1/2 percent,” he said. “Real unemployment is 11 percent.” The best remedy, he said, is to rebuild America’s infrastructure. A few have produced such strikingly positive results — variations on single-payer work very well in France and Taiwan, for example — that it’s hard to understand why they don’t get more serious hearings in the U.S. (Actually, the U.S. does have a form of single-payer health insurance.

He talks about creating a grassroots movement, but one suspects his endgame is to leverage whatever power he can muster into concessions on policy from a prospective Clinton presidency. Senate committees: Budget (ranking member); Environment and Public Works; Energy and Natural Resources; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Veterans’ Affairs; Joint Economic.

Clinton is a mainstream liberal, and these days mainstream liberals tend to want the same things that Sanders does — a stronger welfare state, more regulation of business, higher wages for the lower and middle classes, action on climate change. Sanders could push her in ways that are unlikely to hurt and might very well help — by encouraging her to confront Wall Street more forcefully, for example, or getting her to endorse government negotiation of prices with drug companies.

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