Sunday, August 14, 2011

Run, Bernie, Run!

I’m speaking of Bernie Sanders, the Senator from Vermont, of course. He can’t run in the Democratic primary because he’s an independent, not a Democrat. But, he probably won’t run in the general election either, because he caucuses with the Democrats and probably doesn’t want to become a political pariah like Ralph Nader. But, he should run. And, here’s why.

I predict the Republicans will pick Governor Rick Perry of Texas to be their candidate. He’s the perfect candidate for the Republican Party.  He’s religious, a southerner, has better looks and more charisma than the last Republican president, and can speak in complete sentences that his constituency understands. He's also very acceptable to the sane wing of the party, unlike most of the other contenders. And, he's not the recent Mormon governor of a blue state. What more could the Republicans ask of a candidate? If he is the candidate, his party will be energized and, unlike the Democrats and a lot of progressive independents, many of whom can't stand Obama and will sit out the election, will turn out for him in big numbers at the polls. In that situation, Obama, the Republican lite, will be toast.

Even if Obama were to win, do the Democrats really want four more years of Obama continuing to cave to the Tea Party agenda of austerity and no new taxes? Or would they be more successful as an energized opposition party? Look how successful the Republicans have been as the opposition party. With the distinct likelihood of another meltdown due to the austerity measures being pushed by both parties now, won’t the Democrats be better off laying it off on a one term Republican president as the Republicans are now doing with Obama?

If  progressive Democrats had a good spokesperson stumping for their progressive agenda including reducing wealth and income disparities, a single payer health insurance program, investments in education and infrastructure, etc. they would be on a good path to being a successful opposition party and have better prospects for winning in 2016. An energized progressive electorate would also get people to the polls to elect more of their constituency to the Congress.

Bernie Sanders is such a spokesperson. If you haven’t heard him, take a listen to him on the Senate floor here. There is no Democrat that comes close to him in stumping for the progressive agenda.

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