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.

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 24, 2017
Patrick Cockburn
A Shameful Silence: Where is the Outrage Over the Slaughter of Civilians in Mosul?
Robert Hunziker
Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up
Ron Jacobs
Dylan and Woody: Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Dan Glazebrook
Quantitative Easing: the Most Opaque Transfer of Wealth in History
Ellen Brown
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for the State’s Bucks
Richard Hardigan
The Media is Misleading the Public on the Al-Asqa Mosque Situation
Matthew Stevenson
Travels in Trump’s America: Memphis, Little Rock, Fayetteville and Bentonville
Ruth Fowler
Fire at Grenfell
Ezra Kronfeld
The Rights of Sex Workers: Where is the Movement to Legalize Prostitution
Mark Weisbrot
What Venezuela Needs: Negotiation Not Regime Change
Binoy Kampmark
From Spicy to the Mooch: A Farewell to Sean Spicer
Wim Laven
Progress Report, Donald Trump: Failing
Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Kevin Zeese
Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Red State, Blue State; Green State, Deep State
Paul Street
“Inclusive Capitalism,” Nancy Pelosi, and the Dying Planet
Anthony DiMaggio
Higher Education Fallacies: What’s Behind Rising Conservative Distrust of Learning?
Andrew Levine
Why Republicans Won’t Dump Trump Anytime Soon
Michael Colby
Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes
Bruce Dixon
White Liberal Guilt, Black Opportunism and the Green Party
Edward Hunt
Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria
Matthew Kovac
Is the Flint Water Crisis a Crime Against Humanity?
Mark Harris
The Revolutionary Imagination: Rosa for Our Times
David Rosen
America’s Five Sex Panics
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia: the Kingdom Whose Name We Dare Not Speak At All
Jack Heyman
Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack
Kim C. Domenico
Marginalize This:  Turning the Tables on Neoliberal Triumphalism
Brian Cloughley
Trying to Negotiate With the United States
John Laforge
Activists Challenge US Nukes in Germany; Occupy Bunker Deep Inside Nuclear Weapons Base
Jonathan Latham
The Biotech Industry is Taking Over the Regulation of GMOs From the Inside
Russell Mokhiber
DC Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox Won’t Let Whistleblower Lawyer Lynne Bernabei Go
Ramzy Baroud
The Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians to A Corner
Farzana Versey
The Murder of Muslims
Kathy Kelly
At Every Door
David W. Pear
Venezuela Under Siege by U.S. Empire
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuelan Opposition Now Opposes the People
Uri Avnery
Soros’ Sorrows
Joseph Natoli
The Mythos Meme of Choice
Clark T. Scott
High Confidence and Low Methods
Missy Comley Beattie
Glioblastoma As Metaphor
Ann Garrison
Organizing Pennsylvania’s 197: Cheri Honkala on Frontline Communities
Ted Rall
What Happened When I Represented Myself as My Own Lawyer
Colin Todhunter
Codex Alimentarius and Monsanto’s Toxic Relations
Graham Peebles
Europe’s Shameful Refugee Policy
Louis Proyect
Reversals of Imperial Fortune: From the Comanche to Vietnam
Stephen Cooper
Gov. Kasich: “Amazing Grace” Starts With You! 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail