We Should All Listen to Bernie Sanders About This

I do not expect Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic nominee, likable as he is.

But Sanders’ candidacy is more important than his prospects, because he has fearlessly identified many of the issues we Americans should be addressing–and many of them are problems that far too few of us are addressing. As a consequence, he has shaken Hillary Clinton out of her typically cautious–some would say calculating–approach, and made her a far better candidate.

In a recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel, of all people, Sanders said this about what he sees as the “job for Democrats:”

“Our job is not just to defeat Republicans, our job is to revitalize American democracy, bring people who have given up on the political system back into the system, and create a government which represents them rather than large campaign donors.”

I have only one quibble with that. The revitalization of American democracy is not just a job for Democrats. It is a goal that rational Republicans, Independents, Libertarians and members of the Green Party (there are some, right?) should share.

You don’t have to agree with every position Bernie Sanders takes, or even most of them, to endorse this one.


  1. Bernie Sanders is attracting huge crowds, and his followers – his main demographic – is comprised of young people and working class people who usually do not vote. One of Bernie’s main themes is that “Republicans win when turnout is low.” Bernie has identified this group of “self-disenfranchised” voters who have given up join the system. This is why issues that have strong majority support among citizens do not get addressed in Congress. Establishment politicians know that young people, students and the working poor just do not show up.

    Only 35% of voters voted in 2014. Even in Presidential years, 50% of voters stay home. Among young people, 60% to 80% do not vote. Bernie has targeted this group. and his “Political Revolution” is nothing more or less than a campaign to bring these non-voting groups to the polls and get them involved on an ongoing basis in the political and electoral process. That’s it.

    Bernie is confident that if we increase voter participation, we will have a country and a government that better serves the people.

    HOWEVER – the people that Bernie is attracting are loyal to Bernie, not the Democratic Party. Much was made of the fact that at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Iowa last week the Bernie supporters left en masse after his speech and did not stick around to listen to Hillary Clinton. This fact reflects what I, as ab avid supporter and follower of the Sanders campaign, know to be true: Bernie has a “yooj” following that is enthusiastic and fervent, almost evangelical in nature, but that enthusiasm is reserved only for Bernie.

    Because these supporters do not usually vote, they will not show up in any polls of so-called “likely voters.” That is why the Sanders campaign continues to exude confidence even in the face of daunting poll numbers.

    This massive movement (and it is a movement) is however a double-edged sword. If Bernie becomes the nominee, this cohort of previously non-voting voters will most certainly propel him to victory. If however Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, this same horde of potential voters will not come out to vote. They will, in all probability, avoid the polls like they avoided the Clinton speech in Iowa.

    The Democratic Party Establishment needs to consider this. They have in 2016 a chance to massively expand their party’s base, to get huge numbers of voters to come to their side, and to dramatically change the political landscape in America in a way that has not been seen since Reagan.

    If however the Democratic Establishment see fit to use their power and influence to ensure a Clinton nomination, they will lose the chance to recruit these people and condemn the country to Right-Wing dominated government for another generation, and in so doing also risk losing the General Election in 2016.

  2. The real shameful part here is Bernie is either misinformed or is trying to misinform the people by saying that Republicans only win when voter turnout is low which of you look back at the past 8-12 years that is largely incorrect.

    Just doing a simple Google search will show that both years of “W” were on the upswing the 2nd time he was re-elected was one the the highest voter turnouts until the 2008 election. Now I didn’t care for the years of “w” but facts are facts and it would seem like his statement on Kimmel was incorrect which makes me question him as a candidate.

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