(Washington Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Now is the time to stop Bernie Sanders before he becomes the Democratic nominee and destroys the party’s chances of taking back the White House. Just as important he would hurt our chances of taking back the Senate. He is not a Democrat, has never been one, and if he becomes the nominee many Democrats on the ballot below him from school board to U.S. Senate will be running for the hills. Sanders’ initials represent what he is about, BS.
In states where it appears Democrats have a shot at flipping a Senate seat: Arizona, Georgia and Georgia Special Election (two seats in play), Maine, North Carolina, and Kansas he would be a stone around the candidates’ necks. The same is true for the majority of candidates who helped Democrats take back the House in 2018. Democratic primary voters around the nation must wake up and reject the BS Sanders is trying to feed them. In reality he is simply an old white man, lifelong politician with the huge ego that comes with that, self-described socialist, who sounds like a ‘carnival barker’ shouting and waving his hands in the air. He has a thirty year congressional record amounting to close to ZERO. His speeches bring to mind the words of Shakespeare, “Full of sound and fury signifying nothing”. From the time he ran as an independent against a progressive former Vermont governor, Democrat Madeleine Kunin in 1986, to his rants against the Democratic establishment he hasn’t changed. He apparently still believes women, the LGBT community, dreamers and African Americans are part of the establishment only out to derail him. He recently embraced the endorsement of Joe Rogan, a sexist, homophobic, transphobic, racist. His campaign’s national press secretary said about the endorsement, “Sharing a big tent requires including those who do not share every one of our beliefs, while always making clear that we will never compromise our values. The truth is that by standing together in solidarity, we share the values of love and respect that will move us in the direction of a more humane, more equal world.” So he stands in solidarity with Rogan and thinks Rogan has values of love and respect; again Sanders BS. He sounds just like Trump talking about welcoming white supremacists and neo-Nazi endorsements to his campaign. Disgusting
Sanders’s only job in life has been as a politician. He cut a deal with the National Rifle Association (NRA) to win his first congressional election and in return voted against the Brady bill and background checks five times and against allowing people to sue gun manufacturers. He voted for the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that resulted in the judicial system putting thousands of young black men in jail and he voted for the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) resolution. “The authorization granted the President the authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.” That resolution is still in effect and being used to send our troops over there today.
Today he shouts at rallies about a ‘revolution’ he wants to lead. Waiting for the revolution to come in the United States is a little like Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot”. When Barack Obama was elected he quickly found out simply saying ‘Hope and Change’ wasn’t enough to get things done. But the difference between Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders is people within his own Party with the power to actually do something liked, respected and supported Obama. They were willing to work with him to move us forward in many areas including; healthcare, LGBTQ rights, women’s pay equity and a host of others. As Hillary Clinton recently correctly said “nobody likes Sanders”.
Despite the BS Sanders is selling he has never been a leader in any movement whether it is women’s rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, disability rights or immigrant rights. People must understand shouting and waving your arms about and selling what was once called ‘snake oil’ isn’t being a leader. It may play to the crowd, and seems to be playing to young people, but in our system of government it doesn’t work to move a progressive agenda forward and for over thirty years in Congress Sanders record of accomplishing practically nothing is proof of that.
So I beseech Democrats who want to beat Trump, those wanting to move a progressive agenda forward, and Independents; please choose a candidate other than Sanders. If you are sick snake oil can be alluring and seem like a quick remedy; but real medicine which may be harder to swallow and take a little longer to work is always the better choice.
The changes we want will only happen if we reject the carnival barker and vote for a person willing to do the hard work to get things done. It means electing a person who understands that the government our founders set up, the constitution they wrote, requires an understanding of the word compromise. Something Sanders has shone he doesn’t. Compromise, without giving up our principles, is what has allowed us to move the progressive agenda many of us want forward even if it is a step at a time. Say a resounding NO to Bernie Sanders in the caucus and at the polls.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.