Bernie vs Hillary (Episode II)
by Elias Blum
The difference between the candidates is that Bernie wants is a principled social democrat who wants to engage in the great struggle of ordinary people against the power of concentrated capital. He wants to end the era of robber barons and bring in a new Progressive Era, a new New Deal – starting with increasing wages, shifting tax burdens, and making healthcare and education available to all. He has the potential makings of an FDR II, and the ideological orientation to move things in a more ‘New Deal II’ direction. Ok, so the real world being what it is, he might not be able to run it all the way down to the endzone, but at least he’s going to push the drive forwards and make some yardage, so to speak.
Clinton is an ‘Obama II’, but without Obama’s genuineness and personal integrity. Some tweaks here and there. Some nice little gestures maybe. But essentially business as usual and nothing that’s going to upset either the neo-liberal assumptions of policy nor the raw power of the oligarchs. That’s fine, if you think things are basically ok, and that more of the same is an adequate answer to the problems facing the USA and the world.
I’ll be honest here, my only interest in this election, as a Scottish person living in the Netherlands (and therefore as someone who is not a citizen or resident of the USA), is that having Sanders in the White House would make life easier for social democrats in Europe to get things done. The reason I care about that is because I don’t think things are basically ok, and I don’t think more of the same is an adequate answer. We in European need a new New Deal, we need a rebirth of social democracy for the 21st century, and Bernie Sanders is the first leader yet to appear on the world stage, from a major and influential country, who seems to be able to offer that. I don’t just want Bernie Sanders to be president of the United States, I want him to be a figurehead and inspiration to people across the world who are sick of neo-liberal oligarchy and want to try, for the first time in about 80 years, to confront it.
I just wish Hillary supporters would be honest. Their concern is not that Bernie cannot do what he says, but that he might, indeed, do it – and they don’t like it, because it’s too left-wing for them. With the Republicans way out there in crazyland, Hillary is the candidate of moderate, centrist, conservatism, of comfortable, business-as-usual elite-driven politics. If her supporters would just have an argument on policies and ideologies, then there would be, at least, a sensible debate. Instead it’s all, ‘Oh, Bernie’s a dreamer – nice ideas, but it can never happen’.