Feb 29, 2016
Bernie Sanders has seemingly mounted a big challenge to Hillary Clinton, at least after the first two primaries.
Sanders is portrayed as an “outsider,” an underdog, and even some kind of “socialist” – who calls for “political revolution.” During this time of crisis, high unemployment, starvation wages and war, this kind of political rhetoric can find a lot of support – especially from young people. But coming from Sanders, it is just rhetoric, political double talk. In Congress and the U.S. Senate, Sanders voted for and supported many of the very same policies that he now denounces.
Sanders denounces big business and the “1%.” He denounces the taxpayer bail-out of the banks and the big speculators. Demanding is easy! But in 2000, Sanders voted for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which gave the federal government’s seal of approval to wild financial speculation – because that is what Wall Street banks and speculators wanted. After the financial crash of 2007-09, Bill Clinton himself decried signing the bill. But Sanders doesn’t acknowledge his vote.
Sanders denounces the profits of the health insurance companies and drug companies and how they rip off the American public. But as a member of the Health Education Labor Committee, Sanders helped write the Affordable Care Act, which gave carte blanche to pharmaceutical companies to rip off those who need vital drugs, as well as forced millions of people to pay a lot of money to private companies for insurance that often covers almost nothing ... fake insurance.
Sanders also denounces the fact that the U.S. has more people in jail than any other country in the world. He calls it a national disgrace. But Sanders voted for Bill Clinton’s “tough on crime” policies, including the Omnibus Crime Bill of 1994, which expanded the death penalty, decreased the minimum age for minors to be tried as adults, required longer prison sentences, and paid states to build more prisons as well as expand state and local police forces. As the Justice Policy Institute later wrote, these “policies resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history.”
Worst of all, not only doesn’t he apologize for these votes, he calls for more U.S. wars. He has voted for every war appropriation since he has been in Congress – including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
In fact, Sanders is not an insurgent or an outsider. He has supported every Democratic presidential candidate since 1984. He’s simply dusting off the tarnished Democratic Party nameplate, after trying to drum up votes and support for the Democratic Party once again. After his victory in New Hampshire, Sanders said that no matter who wins the nomination, “we will need to come together in a few months to unite this party, and this nation, because the right-wing Republicans we oppose must not be allowed to gain the presidency.”
So, Sanders, the self-described “socialist,” who talks a lot about “political revolution,” finally wants to do nothing more than give the Democratic Party four more years in the White House.
It would be laughable, if it weren’t for the fact that, once again, people’s hopes are being hijacked by the Democratic Party, one of two parties in the service of the capitalist class.