Not One Big Happy Party
Benjamin Studebaker’s Why Bernie vs Hillary Matters More Than People Think has been widely read, and reposted on Huffington Post. If you haven’t seen it yet, read it now.
I’ve been called a political naif for supporting Sanders, and not wanting to accept Clinton as a consolation candidate. My first primary vote was for Jerry Brown, but I had to accept Jimmy Carter as the nominee. Carter was a very unpopular president, and though he now stands out as a very good and compassionate elder statesman, he was considered to have made a neoliberal bargain in the wake of the 1970’s oil shock, which probably contributed to the stagflation that followed.
What the hell is neoliberalism?
Neoliberalism is an approach to economics and social studies in which control of economic factors is shifted from the public sector to the private sector. Drawing upon principles of neoclassical economics, neoliberalism suggests that governments reduce deficit spending, limit subsidies, reform tax law to broaden the tax base, remove fixed exchange rates, open up markets to trade by limiting protectionism, privatize state-run businesses, allow private property and back deregulation.
In plainer words, Wikipedia sez:
Neoliberalism is a term which has been used by scholars in a wide variety of social sciences and critics primarily in reference to the resurgence of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism beginning in the 1970s and 1980s. Its advocates support extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy. Neoliberalism is famously associated with the economic policies introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States. The transition of consensus towards neoliberal policies and the acceptance of neoliberal economic theories in the 1970s are seen by some academics as the root of financialization, with the financial crisis of 2007–08 one of the ultimate results.
Since Carter, we have been governed by neoconservative Republicans and neoliberal Democrats, with disastrous consequences for the working, wage-earning class, but a pretty comfortable ride for much of the white collar, salaried class, and an unqualified bonanza for the wealthy investor class. Despite this savaging of their base, Democratic candidates that challenged the neoliberal order, like Dennis Kucinich, were not even allowed to debate. Barack Obama promised hope and change, but governed as a neoliberal. Hillary Clinton looks to govern much like Obama. With grass roots support among the millennials, Bernie Sanders, a throwback to the FDR type of liberal, has broken through, and is making a real race of it – with no help from the Democratic National Committee.
Members of the comfortable classes see no need to rock the boat, and urge Democrats to fall in line and vote for the establishment, neoliberal Democrat candidate to keep out the scary establishment, neoconservative Republican candidate, or more likely the scary outsider Donald J Trump.
Frankly, having a look at a candidate like Bernie Sanders has gone to my head. I want the Democratic party to change, and start representing the people again.