In 2004 I could not have been more derisive toward the campaign of Rep. Kucinich who, while being a nice guy, wasn’t ever going to win and whose supporters were really annoying. I viewed the whole thing as a colossal waste of time and by the time of the convention in Houston would shake a little when anyone mentioned the Department of Peace in a serious tone.
This, increasingly, is how I’ve grown to feel about the Bernietastic campaign of Bernie Sanders. Bernie, while being a nice guy, isn’t as a Bernieriffic as everyone would like to believe. He is, in fact, pretty doctrinaire and simplistic which makes something like this really irritating.
First, I don’t accept the premise that Hillary is serving the moneyed elite or that her voters are stooges of the Corporate Power Structure of America, Inc. That ship sailed long ago and to accuse liberals of being in league with corporatists is the height of hilarity. Corproratists long ago picked their side and it’s the Republicans. We want the same things many Bernie supporters want… we happen to differ on how we go about doing it. That’s the nice way of saying that Bernie is peddling a fantasy way of making things happen that involves:
1) Him being elected President (unlikely against someone like Trump who is likely to peal off more than 20% of Democrats in an economy based campaign)
2) Him proposing legislation to a, at best, recalcitrant Republican Congress filled with people who liked to set kittens on fire just to hear the screams.
3) The passage of the aforementioned legislation through some, as yet, unknown mechanism that may or may not involve magic. Or a unicorn.
For example, Single payer is what we all want… Tax policy created the modern health insurance industry and it can certainly dismantle it. But there isn’t going to be just one grand conflict at which we settle the issue. It’s going to be a series of battles over years as we drag the country, kicking and screaming, to something better. And the country WILL resist… because Americans fundamentally don’t like change until all other options have been exhausted. For most Americans, we’re not there yet. Americans are not going to just wake up one day and say, in unison, BERNIE IS RIGHT.
Second, if he can’t weather the attacks of the so-called establishment liberals who are so mean (so, so, so very mean!), what the fuck is he going to do up against the Republicans? Clinton, if nothing else, will never let up on them because after 25 years of constant attacks she knows never to expect something good. She will never be fooled into thinking that they will work out a deal on level ground. She knows and is prepared for pushing things down their throats in ways Bernie simply can’t because he’s never really dealt with it at that level.
Finally, I’m not voting for Clinton based on the difficulty of making Bernie’s dreams reality, I don’t buy into Bernie’s dreams. Admittedly, a socialist utopia is better than no utopia at all. HOWEVER, I don’t think utopia is possible as long as there are people in it. More to the point, Bernie’s solutions which sound good to so many are childishly simple and easy to pull apart (he and O’Malley are in the same boat on that one with regard to financial services/bank reform… I mean, if you’re willing to accept criticism from a known corporatist like Paul Krugman). And that’s what makes this so irritating to me… his solutions seem so perfect because they’re generated in a vacuum free of reality, where anything is possible. It’s only when you break the seal that you realize the solution is nothing more than vapor.
Bernie has a one dimensional view of the world that’s akin to cops and robbers played by four year olds. He’s the liberal equivalent of Ayn Rand, wholly unwilling to ever concede that reality is different from his skewed perception. Like Rand, he’s created a political narrative where people are absolutely good and absolutely bad… it’s maddening not because he’s done it but because so many have fallen, completely, for it.