FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Bernie Sanders is a Dead End

by

‘Tis the season once again. You should know it well by now: a “progressive” Democrat running in the primaries for president of the United States. We’ve seen it all before, from Jesse Jackson to Dennis Kucinich, left-leaning voters have time-and-again been asked to support candidates that are working to transform the corrupt and war-hungry Democratic Party from within. And each and every time this strategy has failed — not only to elect a progressive Democrat into the White House, but to alter the party that offer themselves up as a lighter shade of neo-con.

This time around that “progressive” Democrat is self-proclaimed “socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Even though it’s early in the primary push, Bernie is hitting the trail, spreading a message of hope for working class people that he’s there to fight for their cause. He wants to create new jobs, challenge Wall Street crooks and take on the corporate control of our political quagmire. These are fine positions to take, but what Bernie isn’t about to tell you is that in order to radically alter the system in favor of workers, the Democrats must be abandoned altogether — for it’s their neoliberal policies, from Bill Clinton on down, that exacerbated the sell-out of the American workforce.

Sure, Bernie will talk tough when it comes to these failed policies. He’ll criticize fast tracked free-trade agreements and corporate plutocracy, but his hardy embrace of the Democrats continues to undermine his own criticisms. It’s as if Bernie got a job at a coal mining outfit in hopes of stopping the melting of ice caps in the Arctic. His bid for the White House is simply a dead end and a waste of scarce resources. Progressives would be better off working to reinvigorate the antiwar movement and Occupy than spending time and money on Bernie’s hollow campaign.

Even so, while Bernie may come across as sincere about class politics, make no mistake, he’s is a militarist that isn’t about to challenge U.S. supremacy. He supported the ugly war on Kosovo, the invasion of Afghanistan, funding for the endless Iraq disaster as well as the losing and misguided War on Terror. He voted in favor of Clinton’s 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which expanded the federal death penalty and acted as the precursor to the PATRIOT Act.

As for Israel, Bernie has been a hawkish advocate that would never halt the $3 billion the U.S. government sends to the country every year. Last summer he backed Israel’s murderous bombing of Gaza. He’s even had some nasty words about Palestine’s right to resist. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that several former members of Bernie’s staff have also been employed by AIPAC, including Israel apologists David Sirota and Joel Barkin. His is a disgusting record. Want to change in the U.S.’s meddling in the Middle East? Bernie isn’t your guy.

If the Senator’s support for ongoing war and the occupation of Palestine don’t make you squeamish, then you may as well stop reading. I doubt you’ll grasp the importance of challenging empire by refusing to cast a vote for a party that pumps fuel into the war machine’s tank. Such an effort requires a willingness to step out on the Democrats, especially at the national level, where they have waged war on workers at home and employed a blood-thirsty foreign policy abroad.

The Bernie Sanders campaign, while a slight breath of fresh air in the national debate on class issues, is a complete loser in terms of impact. There’s no sign he’ll break from the Democrats and challenge both parties down the road. Bernie doesn’t oppose U.S. power, nor does his campaign do a single thing to build independent politics in the country, perhaps the last chance to salvage any democracy we may have left. In the end, Bernie Sanders will play the lesser-evil card and plea for us all to hold our noses and vote for Hillary Clinton, who guarantees a future of more war and economic inequality.

That’s why Bernie’s is not a bandwagon I’ll be jumping on anytime soon.

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. He is author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, both published by AK Press. He can be reached at brickburner@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter@brickburner

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can follow him on Twitter @joshua__frank

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
Stephen Cooper
Steinbeck’s Road Map For Resisting Donald Trump
February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail