• Defending Bernie Sanders Against Critics

    bernieRecently there was a “very scientific” poll done by me asking my Facebook friends who they would vote for President, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. I don’t really think any other answer should be taken seriously. Bernie Sanders won by a landslide.

    Part of my reasoning for this “very scientific” poll was that I want to show that there are actually a lot of people who support Bernie Sanders despite what the media would like people to believe. Now, obviously my Facebook “friends” list is going to be at the very least slightly more liberal/progressive than the general public. I get that. And yes, I know that my poll wasn’t actually very scientific or even scientific at all. It was a joke – lighten up. Still the level of support for Bernie is quite impressive. Even the people who supported Hillary Clinton didn’t seem all that enthusiastic about it. I think there was maybe one or two enthusiastic Hillary supporters compared to mostly everyone else who were very enthusiastic about Sanders.

    The common criticisms of Bernie I heard from the few people on my friend list who are supporting Hillary are:

    Sanders can’t win and is not a viable candidate.
    Sanders will make it easier for the Republicans to beat Hillary Clinton.
    Sanders has less of a chance against the Republican candidate.

    For starters, Bernie has raised $15 million in this reporting period. That is hardly chump change. Granted it isn’t the $45 million that Hillary raised from Wall Street. Still, all of Sander’s donations are also all from small donors. That means that they can keep donating without hitting the cap. I know, what cap? Yeah, under current campaign finance laws politicians can raise unlimited funds as long as the money is laundered through Political Action Committees.

    Still, money doesn’t equal votes and this is an issue that Sanders can use to get votes and to raise money from supporters. The majority of Americans (even Republicans) don’t support the legalized bribery of our politicians.

    Recently, Sanders has been gaining a great deal of grassroots support and has been drawing huge crowds of people at events. The media laughs at this and says that he went to liberal areas like Wisconsin and Iowa… you know that bastion of liberalism — Iowa. Still Ron Paul used to get large crowds too and he was never a viable candidate. The difference is that Rob Paul supporters tended to be registered Libertarians who couldn’t vote in the Republican Primary while Bernie Sanders supporters tend to be registered Democrats who absolutely will vote in the Democratic Primary. Plus, Sanders has raised more money than Paul and has generated greater crowds that Paul.

    This is the summer of 2015 and the election isn’t until November of 2016. Sanders has gone from a candidate who will force Clinton to move to the left to a growing threat to the inevitability of Clinton’s coronation. Can people admit that Sanders is at least a viable candidate at this point? If by the end of the summer, Sanders starts polling neck and neck with Clinton in New Hampshire and/or Iowa, will the media start to consider him viable?

    One interesting thing about Sander’s campaign is that he hasn’t gone negative. Sanders has yet to attack Hillary Clinton on a host of easy targets that he could attack her on. And yet, Clinton supporters like Claire McCaskill have gone on national television trying to demonize Sanders.

    I don’t see how Sanders could possibly weaken Hillary Clinton any more that she has already weakened herself. The Republicans have a list of scandals (most of which they made up) to pick from when they are ready to run attack adds. The fact is that people who are so excited about Sanders that they claim they would not settle for Hillary, should she win the Primary, are not going to vote for Hillary anyway. Everyone knows she is a corporate owned politician. It isn’t like that is some huge secret that the Sanders campaign has broadcast all over the airwaves. If anything, Sanders being so far to the left makes Clinton seem more centrist and that is always good for the general election…

    … Except when it isn’t. As it turns out, people are discovering that they are actually quite a bit more “socialist” than they realized. Bernie Sanders isn’t as extreme to the left as people believe him to be… or more accurately, the general public are far more to the extreme left than people believe themselves to be. When the general public hears the actual positions and policies Sanders wants to push, they actually tend to agree with him.

    Because there aren’t huge laundry lists of faux scandals concerning Sanders, he can focus on the actual issues and can deflect any fake scandals and refocus on those issues. This only highlights the fact that the Republican candidates don’t really have any real plans or policies. This makes them seem even stupider than they already look.

    Plus, once he becomes the nominee, there aren’t going to be many Hillary supporters who are going to be so outraged that they would stay home on Election Day. Say what you will about Hillary supporters, they tend to be practical. With three potential Supreme Court Justices at stake, they will all come out enthusiastically for Sanders if he became the nominee. On the other hand, Sanders supports tend to be more idealists. Many of them probably would have voted third party or not at all anyway. So if Hillary is the nominee, those votes would be lost.

    In other words, Sanders can bring out the base much more effectively. However, because Sander is perceived as a left-wing radical by Hillary supporters, she is weakening him for the GOP. The more people realize that Bernie’s positions are actually quite rational, the more he can get the centrist votes. Still, if he can bring out more of the base, he would need to court less of the undecided.

    It should also be pointed out that the Republican candidates are so weak this time around and so fractured that any candidate the Democrats put up would almost certainly win. This field of clown car contestants is even wackier than the last round. The last round even had Mitt Romney as the constant frontrunner. This election cycle field of Republicans doesn’t even have that. Plus, we haven’t even seen the Republicans really attack each other yet and they will. No one runs attack ads like Republicans. People forget that George W. Bush robo-called Republican Primary voters and asked if they knew that John McCain has black kids. Yeah, Bush used the old Southern Strategy against a fellow Republican. I can’t wait to see what kind of attack ads Trump runs against Jindal or the ads that Walker and Bush use against each other. That’s going to be fun.

    I’m going to make a confession here. When Bernie Sanders first announced he was running I didn’t think he was a viable candidate either. I didn’t think he could raise as much money as he did or draw the crowds that he has. I didn’t think he would be polling well at all and yet in the few months since his announcement, he has risen in the polls and in now almost within the margin of error in New Hampshire and is closing the gap in Iowa. This has made me so hopeful, that I dare to dream. Not only that, I am acting to make that dream come true. Last month, I donated $35 to the Bernie Sanders campaign. It isn’t much, but it is a start. I put in my part of the $15 million and I’m proud that I did. I will probably donate more in the coming months and I am excited to buy my Bernie Sanders for President lawn-signs and bumper stickers.

    If my Facebook poll is any indication and if everyone who supports Bernie Sanders for President donates $35 or more to his campaign, he will be able be able to win the Democratic nomination and go on to become President of the United States of America.

    Category: Election 2016featuredPolitics


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.