FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?

by

shutterstock_342185006

“The role of Third Parties in American politics is to sting like a bee and then die.”—Richard Hofstadter

In their collective wisdom, the 18th century framers of the U.S. Constitution saw fit to invent a system of government which would eventually require that the United States of America be chopped up into 435 little pieces.

That’s 435 separate entities. That’s 435 separate units, each with its own unique history, geography, economy, and demographics, each with its own prejudices, self-deceits and self-interests, each with its own elected representative, and each with its own political agenda. Welcome to the U.S. Congress.

All of which makes it so tiresome when people express outrage or despair over congressional “gridlock.” Finicky observers act as if the most natural thing in the world for 435 politicians to do—even with each representing disparate constituencies and disparate geographical regions (and each at the mercy of voters every two years)—would be to reach one happy consensus after another.

Indeed, rather than decrying how little gets done, we could just as easily be appreciative of how much gets done. Which reminds one of Samuel Johnson’s remark in response to seeing a dog walking on its hind legs: “It’s not that it’s being done well that’s impressive, but rather that it’s being done at all.”

Which brings us to Bernie Sanders. It is astounding that there are people going around grousing about how Bernie isn’t the “real” socialist he claims to be. Or whining about the fact that he hasn’t been enough of a “dove” when it comes to America’s military adventurism, or that his anti-Wall Street rhetoric isn’t “strong enough,” or that, being Jewish, he has been too “uncritical” of Israel.

Jesus, Mary and whatnot….are they serious?? Are these people serious? Given the history of the U.S.—given the fact that the U.S. has demonstrable never been anything other than a centrist or right-centrist country—people have the nerve to quibble with Bernie Sanders for not being a “pure” lefty? That is beyond absurd.

Yet people glibly talk about Third Parties as if they were a viable option, as if forming a Third Party would be a perfectly reasonable step for disgruntled left-wing Democrats. While they proudly note that Ross Perot received more than 19 million votes, in 1992, running on a Reform Party ticket, they fail to mention that he got zero electoral votes.

If we want evidence of how “progressive” the United States is, we need to focus on Third Party candidates who managed to garner electoral votes, because without them you can’t be elected. Since Teddy Roosevelt ran as a Bull Moose, in 1912, and got 88 electoral votes, only two candidates have made any noise. In 1948, Strom Thurmond received 39 electoral votes, and in 1968, George Wallace received 48. Both were vehement segregationists.

As a lifelong Democrat, when I freely admitted to people that, if Bernie Sanders loses, it will be difficult to vote for Clinton in the general election, I’ve had Sanders’ critics accuse me of being a “closet sexist,” of being anti-feminist, of being secretly opposed to a woman president.

They couldn’t be more wrong. If Bernie fails to get the nomination, I will very likely vote for a woman. But contradicting everything that I’ve previously said about the futility of Third Parties, it will be Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein.

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 08, 2016
John W. Whitehead
Power to the People: John Lennon’s Legacy Lives On
Mike Whitney
Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo
Ellen Brown
“We’ll Look at Everything:” More Thoughts on Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
John Stauber
The Rise and Fall of Obamacare: Will the Inside Story Ever be Told?
Ted Rall
Ameri-Splaining
Michael J. Sainato
Mainstream Media Continues Absolving Itself From Clinton, Trump Election Failures
Ralph Nader – Mark Green
Divest or Face Impeachment: an Open Letter to Donald Trump
Gareth Porter
US Airstrikes on Syrian Troops: Report Data Undermine Claim of “Mistake”
Martha Burke
What Trumponomics Means for Women
Ramzy Baroud
Fatah, Hold Your Applause: Palestinian Body Politic Rotten to the Core
Steve Horn
Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General Pick, Introduced First Bill Exempting Fracking from Drinking Water Rules
Joe Ware
The Big Shift: Why Banks Need to Stop Investing Our Money Into Fossil Fuels
Juliana Barnet
On the Ground at Standing Rock
Franklin Lamb
Aleppo Update: An Inspiring Return to the Bombed Out National Museum
Steve Kelly
Hidden Harmony: on the Perfection of Forests
December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba After Fidel
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewal of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail