The turbulent 1960s were Bernie’s formative years. He participated in civil rights movements when it was not popular to do so. While in college he was a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He was arrested in Chicago for anti-segregation activities on the campus of the University of Chicago protesting separate Black and White dormitories.
Bernie actively participated in Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington as well as the Anti-Vietnam War activities that so dominated the period. Bernie Sanders was a young activist who never really moved passed that time. He embraces today many of the same beliefs he held as a youth with the same energy.
After moving to Vermont he held numerous miscellaneous jobs and made several unsuccessful attempts at holding elected office until finally becoming mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981. He served three terms as mayor. In 1991 he first entered the national arena when he became a member of Congress and served as the state’s representative for 16 years. In 2006 Vermont elected him to the Senate then re-elected him in 2012 with 71% of the vote. Sanders always ran as an Independent when not running as a Progressive. Sanders only knows politics, he never held a meaningful “real” job.
Being an Independent in the Senate is a lonely position. He found common cause with the Democratic Party and caucused with them on a regular basis. That is likely why they allowed him to run as a Democrat for President after he switched to being a Democratic in 2015.
In Congress he openly opposed the Iraq War opposed the Patriot Act, many Foreign Policy initiatives of both parties, all forms of “Corporate Welfare” as he termed it, and international trade deals that gutted the Middle Class worker. He fought for Civil Rights, parental rights, global warming initiatives, Campaign Finance Reform, and fought against income inequality which provides the basis for his socialist economic ideas.
There are no hints of scandal in Bernie’s background and the only real criticism that can be leveled against him relates to his being chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee (2013-14), a time when veterans have been terribly abused. Interesting that this has not come up considering the vast controversies about the Veterans Administration even to this day. In fact, Sanders has very little to talk about when it comes to actual accomplishments.
Bernie’s problems stem from his attachment to his “government can solve everything” posture and his failure to consider the economic limitations that would prevent many of his high-minded ideas from coming to fruition. He is a dreamer detached from economic and fiscal reality. Over the past eight years America’s national debt has soared to over $19 TRILLION, twice what it was when President Obama came into office. There is no way the next generation can pay off this massive debt. Bernie’s socially conscious ideas would require additional expenditures that the economy cannot afford. The result would be America becoming Venezuela, Brazil, or Greece.
Sanders has no clear foreign policy and has no distinct domestic policy. He has based his entire campaign on attacking what is there while providing no reasonable path or concept of what he believes should take its place.
Despite this reality, he has motivated vast numbers of young voters who have lost all confidence in the traditional political process, are burdened with educational debts, have few prospects for a successful, financially stable future, and are frustrated by having their dreams stymied while others wallow in vast wealth. The result of this is a revolution in every real sense of the word.
The problem for the Democratic Party is that they welcomed this camel’s nose into their tent. They likely figured he would provide Hillary with someone to run against and easily defeat. A political strawman to play with… a mouse for the cat to paw. However, Bernie surprised everyone as did Trump by tapping into the seething anger infecting American voters.
Sanders and his followers are NOT Democrats. Their goal is to take over the party and bend it to their wishes. They have no intention of playing by the Party’s rules because these “rules” have been used against them. They feel betrayed by Democrats.
Thus, while Democratic Party stalwarts expect Sander’s to do the honorable thing and “fall on his sword” for the good of the party. Bernie has other ideas. Paraphrasing John Paul Jones…. “Sanders has not yet begun to fight!”
Bernie and his cohorts believe the Democratic Party has a corrupt process and now a corrupt prospective nominee. It is his duty to his beliefs, his people, his party, and his nation to stop Hillary’s coronation and have his ideas and himself stand as the leader of a new generation. Furthermore, polls that indicate he is the stronger opponent to Donald Trump, advance his argument that he is the right candidate and would be nominated had the process not been rigged.
Bernie will take his revolution to the Philadelphia Convention with the hopes that his non-scripted, emotional, and articulate speech will turn enough Super Delegates to his side and away from stale, teleprompter Hillary. This could prove especially powerful moment should Hillary endure further legal embarrassments…which likely will occur.
Sanders is an interesting individual. Determined, dedicated, focused, and committed to his ideas no matter how unrealistic they may be. But given the peculiar situation America finds itself in during this election cycle, anything is possible.
One thing is for certain. Sanders is not a Democrat and he owes no loyalty to the Party establishment. This is especially the case when one considers how they have treated him during the primary season. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain by staying in the hunt. He has tapped into the energy and dreams of his youth. Furthermore, his people have no intention of giving up either.
The “Sanderistas” may even prove a problem in the convention hall itself and even protest by deciding not to vote in the general election. Hillary represents everything they abhor…the political establishment, Wall Street influence, corruption, billionaire control, political double-talk, perpetual lying, and inside deals.
It is difficult to imagine Bernie Sanders folding his tent and quietly endorsing Hillary. More likely, he will hold out to the very end because he and his troops will not be muzzled…remember…it’s a revolution. All must wait to see what he and his followers will do once the convention dust settles.