Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bernie Sanders: More Myth Than Populist Champion

Bernie Sanders: More Myth Than Populist Champion

by Stephen Lendman

Populists are excluded from high office in America. A true progressive hasn’t run for the presidency since socialist Eugene Debs tried five times - his last attempt from prison in 1920 for opposing WW I.

In 1924, Robert LaFollette’s Progressive Party bid failed. Following his defeat, his party disbanded.

Progressivism began in the 19th century to end slavery, support women's rights, small farmers, and political populism. It supported:

  • social reforms benefitting ordinary Americans;

  • citizens having more control over government;

  • education as a universal right;

  • curbing excessive corporate power;

  • eliminating corruption and waste;

  • empowering organized labor;

  • preventing child worker exploitation;

  • environmental conservation; and

  • social values above financial gain.

Aspirants for the nation’s highest office today are worlds apart from these values - pro-war, pro-business, and against government of, by and for everyone equitably. 

Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin, virtual clones of each other on issues mattering most.

Sanders is more opportunist than populist, a socialist in name only, voting 98% of the time with Democrats, backing their anti-progressive agenda while rhetorically claiming otherwise.

He’s done little in Congress fighting for things he claims to support - universal healthcare a glaring example. 

His Senate vote could have killed Obamacare, a healthcare rationing scheme based on the ability to pay, designed to enrich insurers, drug industry bandits and large hospital chains at the expense of Medicare for all - everyone in, no one left out.

His alleged turning a new leaf on Palestinian rights belies his 30-year record of one-sided support for Israel’s worst crimes.

His notion of revolutionary change is old wine in new bottles, business as usual he rhetorically opposes.

His voting record shows he’s on the wrong side of issues mattering most. All politicians lie. Nothing they say should be believed.

Acknowledging defeat Tuesday night, Sanders’ pledge rang hollow, saying he’ll fight for “Medicare for all…breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking, making public colleges and universities tuition free,” and more.

Backers should ask why he’s done so little throughout his public life for what he claims to support.

America needs committed populists, not rhetorical ones. If Sanders wanted real change, he’d have launched a progressive movement years ago - reviving the spirit of Debs and LaFollette.

After 30 public service years supporting wealth and power, why should anyone believe he turned a new leaf!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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