Bernie? Why Not?


Count me among the leftists who thought Bernie was crazy to run as a Democrat.  I was wrong.

Historically, we know realistic malcontents are more comfortable and perhaps better off with an independent run, though seldom successful outside local elections.

That tact has been “problematic,” and has resulted in more than one debacle.

My best memory of the outsider phenomenon, beyond Bernie himself in Vermont, occurred here in Portland, when tavern owner Bud Clark knocked off a supposedly unbeatable Frank Ivancie in 1984 and served two terms as our Mayor.

Clark stunned the establishment and ended up on the Johnny Carson Show.  Fortunately, he didn’t let that go to his head. (I did see him in a national commercial the other day, playing a friendly and spry old waiter.)

I was wrong about Bernie’s chances, but my type suffers from the flashbacks of Ralph Nader’s campaigns in the old days, and Jill Stein’s every electoral season more recently.

We didn’t “get it” this time concerning Bernie, and essentially misread the citizenry.

People really are tired of the elite political class now, particularly those in the highest reaches of power.  Not much to be done in reality, but they’re seeking a path out of the morass that has our system clogged like a river filled with pollutants.

Hear me, Flint?

Too much is wrong, and people know it. People disagree about what exactly is wrong, but few are napping through the troubles.

Thus Trumpism…

This phenomenon speaks to how pathetic our political landscape is, especially as regards the GOP, with its empty-headed platoon of morons filling the television (multimedia) airwaves every evening.

The Dems are only slightly better, perhaps more human.

People recognize this and sense that Hillary, while conveniently uttering the liberal populist line of the day as she feels the Bern on her ass, is essentially a fraud who values power and money above all else.

Who needs a more democratic shyster?

Suddenly her minions are concerned–not about the problems they can’t possible feel, but about her career and their own wallets!

Bernie has a better rap, such as it is.  Now the phrase “the better of two evils” may finally have an iota of meaning.  Perhaps we can take a minor-key songster, a social democrat if not a real socialist, and make things work—somewhat.

Oust the kooks and the corporate shill, the Wall Street polemicist. Presto!  A revolution!

Many of us didn’t think Bernie could touch Queen Hillary.  (We’re yet uncertain that he can, but things are looking up.)

Never mind that Bernie’s politics are half-assed much of the time. Everybody knows that.

Everybody also knows that the bought and sold ideas in America’s political store are becoming increasingly tawdry.

The pols always lag behind the people.  That’s why they’re pols.

Bernie, as weak and beautiful as he is, understands this.

Terry Simons is the founder of Round Bend Press Books in Portland, Oregon.  This story is excerpted from his memoir of growing up in Oregon, A Marvelous Paranoia.