Feel the Bern: the Democratic desire for a revolution

Bernie Sanders just crushed Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire democratic primary, by a margin of 22 per cent

Image: Gage Skidmore

Bernie Sanders just crushed Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire democratic primary, by a margin of 22 per cent. This off the back of his narrow loss in the Iowa caucus by a fifth of a percentage point, it is time to call it what it is; a political revolution.

How does a self-described democratic socialist overcome the American stigma to wealth redistribution, the Clinton political machine and raise money without the help of the extremely wealthy? It is obvious, a message that resonates with the American middle class and working people.

Most of Sanders’ polices poll favourably not just with democratic voters, but also with Americans as a whole. His Medicare for all program that would provide healthcare for all citizens regardless of income, has 58 per cent approval, which rises to 80 per cent amongst democrats. The majority of Americans support his free public college program and his plan to hike taxes on the extremely wealthy and hedge funds.

But the kicker is his stance of private money in politics and the damaging effect that corporate interests play, something he has railed hard against, leaving Clinton to play catch up. Over 90 per cent of Americans believe that private campaign contributions have a negative effect on the integrity of political candidates.

This is where Sanders is in his own realm; he has taken no campaign contributions from large banks, insurance companies or hedge funds. He does not have a Super PAC, ‘external’ groups which collect donations from large business and individuals so they can contribute unlimited amounts to campaigns. Instead he relies on small contributions from regular Americans, over a million of them, averaging $27 a donation. Clinton on the other hand has taken $21.4mn, from Wall Street donors, on top of this she’s taken $675,000 for three speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs, which goes straight into her own pocket.

Sanders walks the walk, whereas Clinton just talks. She now claims to want to change how presidential bids are financed, despite playing within the same system. Clinton claims to want to regulate the banks; despite large campaign contributions from them, and getting paid $200,000 an hour for speaking fees. Bankers are by definition, investors, and they’re investing heavily in the product that is Hillary Rodham Clinton. They expect a return on investment and they want to keep Sanders out of the White House.

He wants to break up the big banks; he wants to redistribute the trillions of dollars that have gone into the top one per cent’s pockets with a $15 minimum wage and he wants the American political system to fight for the average American, not those on Wall Street. He wants to make the industrialised world’s most economically unequal society, more equal again. Clinton claims to, but no one is buying it.

It shows; when democratic voters are asked who is honest, Sanders gets 92 per cent to Clinton’s 6. When asked who cares more, Sanders get 81 per cent to Clinton’s 18.

People are tired of politicians who pick policy positions based on polling and are backing a candidate that has had the same message for the last 34 years. Hillary Clinton is bought, Bernie Sanders can’t be. Enough is enough; the American people want a revolution.

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