What’s The Difference?


Reading time – 1:59  .  .  .

Following Amy Klobuchar’s announcement that she was dropping from the presidential nomination race and indicated that she intends to endorse Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders was asked for his reaction.

Reporter’s Question:

Are you concerned about the moderates consolidating behind Joe Biden?

Bernie Sanders:

Look, it is no secret. I mean, the Washington Post has 16 articles a day on this. That there is a massive effort trying to stop Bernie Sanders. That’s not a secret to anybody in this room.  The corporate establishment is coming together. The political establishment is coming together and they will do everything. They are really getting nervous that working people are standing up.

His answer gives us insight into Sanders, perhaps in ways he did not intend. Here are three points:

  1. He talked about himself in the third person. It’s a demagogue’s self-serving construct used to promote himself, this time posing as a poor victim. Apparently, we’re supposed to feel sorry for him.
  2. He cites imagined action by “the corporate establishment” and “the political establishment” as though there is an agreed definition of who “they” are and what “they” are doing. His claim that “they” will “do everything” is suggestive that those “others” will cheat, lie and do whatever bad stuff “they” would do, all this without any evidence whatsoever.
  3. He claims (without evidence) that “they” are “really getting nervous because working people are standing up.” In that one claim he makes up motivation out of nothing. He makes it sound like efforts to stop Bernie are the same as efforts to suppress working people, all this without evidence. In addition, he makes “working people” victims, promoting an us-versus-them construct.

What is scary about all this is these are exactly the things that Donald Trump does all the time.

We’ve complained about and been sickened by the divisiveness Trump creates and the painting of some as hocus-pocus enemies, like “fake news” and the “deep state,” whatever that is.

We’ve become weary of the demonizing of “others” that separates us, too, yet here’s Bernie, the front runner for Democrats, and he’s just as manipulative as Trump.

Pete Buttigieg was right at the last debate, saying that a battle between Sanders and Trump would be nothing but chaos. Worse, regardless of who would win such a contest, our norms, our decency and our democracy would be torn down.

Far right or far left – is there a difference to us which extremism we dump on ourselves?

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5 Responses to What’s The Difference?
  1. Dan Reply

    As usual, Jack is right on target. One of the things that bothers me-a lot—about Bernie is the utopian nature of his campaign. He calls himself a “Democratic Socialist,” two terms which by their definition are mutually exclusive. Socialism is anything but democratic. I know because as a younger man I studied the political philosophy behind it and while it may work for nations like Sweden, they lack our traditions, history and culture. We’ve tried utopias here before: the first example that comes to mind is the Puritans. There were others attempted later, for instance in New York — the industrial revolution kind of killed that one off. We, as people are not cut out for Utopian lifestyles. In a sense, Karl Marx proposed this kind of life “each according to his needs, each according to his abilities.” As we saw in the 80’s that sort of life is anathema to anything faintly resembling ambition.

    Something about Bernie and for that matter, the other Utopian in the race, Elizabeth Warren, is that they seem to think the resources of the treasury are unlimited and they seem to me to be seeking to enlarge the government to allow it to do more and more things. At some point we surrender every right to the political necessity of having a government that carries us as the one in England does: from cradle to grave. Bernie’s support drops off around the demographic of 32 years of age…a curious coincidence because that’s about when people start getting some sense into their heads. They recognize that they’re not kids anymore and are settling down to do work.

    Little children demand everything they see, “buy me this, buy me that” and when they don’t receive things they don’t understand why. The American electorate (collectively, anyway) are not children and Bernie treating them to a big dose of “circle the wagons, ‘cuz here come the corporations” style of paranoia. Oh, my living God, it’s us and them . . . go get “them” because “they” (the great anonymous “they”) are the ones who are holding you back, it’s their fault that you have sky high interest on your student loans, their fault that college debt can’t be/won’t be forgiven… it’s also their fault that we enjoy the standard of living that we do.

    Bernie is a runaway train and we need someone to derail him and his campaign to re-structure the US economy, government and national culture.—-Dan

  2. David L. Lindgren Reply

    You are paralleling the recent Washington Post article comparing the Trump faction to the Sander’s faction. Both are contemptuous of the other. I know that Bloomberg is not getting sufficient traction and doesn’t fit into either of the above. He would be an excellent compromise candidate. I am curious about his backing this week. Thanks, my man, Jack.

  3. John Calia Reply

    I’ve been working on articulating how I feel about the direction of the party. You’ve done a great job of summarizing it. What’s remarkable is that he presumes he has the support of “working people” as if it’s the proletariat rising up. What evidence exists that’s the case?

  4. Jeff Reply

    Bernie isn’t far left. He’s center left. He only seems far left because of how far to the right the corporate establishment has dragged our politicians.

    • Jack Altschuler Reply

      Jeff, I agree on the rightward drag of our politicians, even to the point of their denying observable reality. That makes them far right. I don’t think it makes Bernie center-left.