Several long-term politicians and a few wannabes have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2016 presidential bid (or are at least hinting at it). Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and Republicans Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, and Carly Fiornia have declared. (See the complete list on the New York Times here.)
Progressives– disappointed by Elizabeth Warren’s choice not to run in 2016– are throwing their support to Sanders, particularly on social media, where memes about Sanders and his 12 Point Plan abound. Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), a political action committee, is backing Sanders in a big way and mobilizing ground troupes to make phone calls, set up house parties, and raise funds.
Their stated strategy is to move Hillary to the left and encourage her to come out for progressive causes. Recently, Hillary has publicly supported drivers’ licenses for Dreamers, executive action on immigration reform and deportations, and a path to citizenship. She has called for an end the “era of mass incarceration” and discriminatory policing and wants to put body cameras on all law enforcement officers; plus she linked what is happening in our streets to income inequality. She also has spoken forcefully against state-level voter suppression laws that revive the “demons of discrimination.” On Mothers’ Day, she called for an end to the shameful practice of denying paid medical leave for childbirth. (Video here and below.) In his Mothers’ Day show, political commentator John Oliver deftly laid out the issue. (Video here and below.) All of these recent stances sound pretty progressive. So, why doesn’t PDA like Hillary?
On the PDA website, they state: “Progressive distrust of Hillary Clinton goes back a long way. Much of it stems from her husband’s centrist presidency…” YOW! Talk about sexism in action. Did anyone ever say they don’t like Barack Obama because they don’t like Michelle? Even the photo choice is sexist– showing Bill and Hillary together, as if to say a vote for Hillary is a vote for Bill. Has anyone ever said: A vote for Ronny is a vote for Nancy, a vote for W is a vote for Laura, or a vote for Lyndon is a vote for Lady Bird? Nope. You may have to go back to the days of Andrew Jackson to find such sexist comments about a former First Lady.
Sanders’ 12 Point Plan
First let me say, that I agree with everything on Sanders’ 12 Point Plan. My issue is that the doesn’t go far enough for someone running as a “bold progressive”. The bullet points are below, with explanations here:
- Rebuilding Our Crumbling Infrastructure
- Reversing Climate Change
- Creating Worker Co-ops
- Growing the Trade Union Movement
- Raising the Minimum Wage
- Pay Equity for Women Workers
- Trade Policies that Benefit American Workers
- Making College Affordable for All
- Taking on Wall Street
- Health Care as a Right for All
- Protecting the Most Vulnerable Americans
- Real Tax Reform
OK, sounds good, Bernie but what about these issues…
This is probably not a complete list, but off the top of my head, here is a list of what is missing from Bernie’s stated plan. (Not in any particular order.)
- Equal Rights Amendment
- Access to free/affordable contraception and abortion
- Re-establishment of women’s health clinics in all states
- Paid family leave
- Access to affordable childcare (When Bernie talks about a social safety net, he mentions Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and nutrition. What about the pieces of the social safety net that protect and help families– not just seniors?)
- Constitutional Amendment to end Citizens United and money in politics
- Immigration reform
- Homelessness/ housing as a right
- Mass incarceration
- The failed War on Drugs
- Legalization of marijuana
- Constitutional Amendment to guarantee voting rights
- Continued steps to make health care more affordable (like negotiating drug prices. We are the only country in the world that has not negotiated a bulk rate for pharmaceuticals.)
- Police brutality
- Free community college (Yes, he says “make education affordable”, but why not go bold if your are a progressive?)
- Fight for $15 (Again, he says “raise the wage the minimum wage” and “stand with unions”, but why not go bold and stand with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on $15/hour for fast food workers and $15,000/class for adjuncts?)
- Debt relief for citizens and state/local governments (The feds could have bailed out the failed state budgets for a fraction of the cost that it took to bail out the banks.)
- Food security
- Gun control
- Mass privatization
- The lie of austerity
- Government control of the money supply
AND #26– how he will pay for what he has suggested without #25? Bernie says, “Bust up the banks.” What does that mean? He should be saying: take control of the money supply. That is the progressive stance. Currently, the US money supply is controlled by the Federal Reserve System, which is a collection of private banks and not part of the federal government. “Bust of the banks” is a catchy slogan, but the concept doesn’t go far enough. Look at the stories of Abraham Lincoln and the Greenbacks and Ben Franklin and his original public bank. Whenever the government controls the money supply, we have prosperity. When private corporations control the money supply (as they do now), we have austerity. In her eye-opening book Web of Debt, Ellen Brown says when private bankers control the money supply, it’s like musical chairs. When the music stops, someone is left in default (without a chair). (And, before you jump on me in the comment section, Hillary is too close to Wall Street– just like all of our presidents dating back at least 100 years.)
Progressives says they are trying to push Hillary to the left.
I say: It’s time for women to push Bernie to the left. It’s shameful that so many
women’s issues… family issues are missing from his 12 Point Plan. As our old high school football coach used to say, “Almost ain’t good enough”, Bernie.
Not an Endorsement
Let me be clear: I’m not endorsing anyone at this time. As long-term readers of my blogs know, I generally don’t endorse candidates, although sometimes when the choice is so glaringly obvious (as with the Fred DuVal vs Doug Ducey gubernatorial match-up in 2014), it is apparent where my support lies.
Here are the videos. John Oliver’s piece is particularly poignant.
Cross-posted from Tucson-Progressive.com