Let’s concede that the media’s distress about Donald Trump’s nomination is well founded. I certainly believe so.
If so, surely it’s also fair to point out that Bernie Sanders is by any measure an authoritarian as well. In many ways, Sanders’ proposed state intrusions into the lives of citizens are more significant, enduring, intrusive, and revolutionary than Trump’s. These positions, by the way, were not so long ago considered completely outside the norms of mainstream political discourse.
Somehow it seems to escape the attention of most of those covering the race that Bernie is a champion of an economic system that has caused more suffering and destitution than any other in modern history. It is almost impossible for nations to kick. Yet Sanders has, at various times, proposed state control over whole — or large parts of — the energy, health care, transportation, and education sectors because, well, he’s a socialist. (Yes, democratic socialists tend to attain power through “democratic” means in countries where democratic systems are in place.)
I’m old enough (and I say this seriously) to recall a time when it was considered contemptible to suggest that liberals were in any way sympathetic to the cause of collectivism. Even now, Twitter has a RedScareBot that will mock you as some kind of paranoid McCarthyite for bringing up “socialism.” Yet on Monday, Americans were subjected to the economic illiteracy of three of the most extreme anti-capitalist politicians — Keith Ellison, Elizabeth Warren, and Sanders — ever to appear on stage at a major party’s convention.
Up and down the roster, Democrats stroked Bernie’s ego. They praised him for his wonderful idealism. They bragged about the movement of confused young dreamers he has built, some of whom were shedding tears in the crowd.
Sanders supporters offer some legitimate ethical and policy concerns about Hillary Clinton, but you will rarely hear any criticism of his aims from her supporters. She is a progressive who gets things done, which is to say, he is a progressive who aims a little too high. On some positions, however, Clinton is happy to acquiesce. Sanders and Trump have nearly indistinguishable positions on trade, both of them pushing the party to its fringes. Hillary now opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership, a position to the left of Barack Obama.
And Bernie and Hillary now support a policy that would guarantee children of any family with an annual income of $125,000 or less to go to a public college or university tuition “free.” I guess, because public schools have done such a swell job educating young Americans, they might actually believe the state can provide them with free things.
“Together, my friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform America …” Sanders tells us. Oh, he mentioned the word “revolution” seven times in his speech, but not once the words “freedom,” “liberty,” or “Constitution.” In Bernieland, the Supreme Court’s main function is to overturn the First Amendment so the state can ban books and movies critical of the Democratic Party nominees. It would also be useful in overriding religious freedom and empowering the president to change the immigration status of millions unilaterally:
Hillary Clinton will nominate justices to the Supreme Court who are prepared to overturn Citizens United and end the movement toward oligarchy in this country. Her Supreme Court appointments will also defend a woman’s right to choose, workers’ rights, the rights of the LGBT community, the needs of minorities and immigrants and the government’s ability to protect the environment.
Let’s not forget that on top of all this, very much like Trump, Sanders is a conspiracy theorist, a scaremongerer, and an anti-science loon. Not to mention, he’s so dark and gloomy!
You’ll remember, that just last week everyone in the media was pointing out how dark and paranoid the Republican convention was, particularly Trump’s acceptance speech. I thought America was already great? I guess if that were true, we wouldn’t need a revolution now, would we?
Well, Bernie seems to believe that life around here is ugly, unjust, and unfair. In his zero-sum dystopia, oligarchs can steal your future and your vote, and oilmen can cause cataclysmic weather events and make an education unattainable — never mind that more kids are going to college than ever before. The system is rigged, and the banks charge you interest! And democracy is stolen by, among others, the “Koch Brothers” — who have actually sat out this cycle, but whatever.
Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Democrats is that they were sure to stop any chance of their own wild-eyed radical from winning. For now. Trump’s supporters might be older, but let’s not forget that both bases are as white as the wind-driven snows of Vermont.
Yet unsurprisingly, one of these politician is treated like a gentle, good-hearted grandpa with a bit of whacky, unpredictable streak. The other is HITLER!