Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are the Democratic candidates for the presidency in 2016. He is now a Democratic Socialist who has always caucused with the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton has always been a liberal Democrat. Both would like to be President of the United States.
Bernie was born on September 8, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York. He is 71 years old and the junior Senator from Vermont. Bernie is also the longest serving independent member of Congress in the history of the Institution. As of 2015 he officially became a member of the Democratic Party and now calls himself a Democratic Socialist.
In 1964, as a student at the University of Chicago, he was a civil rights protestor. After settling in Vermont he ran as an unsuccessful socialist candidate for governor and U.S. Senator in the 1970s. He was elected as mayor of Burlington as an independent in 1981 and reelected three times. He was then elected to the House of Representatives from Vermont’s at large congressional district where he served through 2007 when he was elected to the Senate. He is still serving in the U.S. Senate.
Bernie Sanders rose to prominence in 2010 with his filibuster against Bush’s extension of his tax cuts. He favors policies similar to those in the Social Democratic parties of Europe, particularly of the Nordic countries. He is a leading progressive voice on issues such as campaign financial reform, corporate welfare, global warming, income inequality, parental rights, and free universal healthcare. He has been critical of U.S. foreign policy and was an early and outspoken critic of the Iraqi War. In addition he is outspoken on civil liberties and civil rights. He has criticized the racial discrimination of the criminal justice system and advocated for privacy rights against mass surveillance policies as the patriot act.
I suspect that Bernie Sanders chose to run for the presidency of the United States in 2016 as an act of protest against the traditional political structure of the U.S. As a long-time member of Congress he knows that there is little he could do with the current Republican dominated Congress. After all, they make the laws and the President just carries them out.
Inadvertently Sanders picked a time when a goodly percentage of the population was disgusted with the inaction of Congress over the last five years, since the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and later in 2014 when they also gained dominance in the Senate. The Republican majorities in Congress have either not cared to or not been able to pass any laws needed by the nation.
In addition the overall population that was either fourteen years of age to just below eighteen years old in November of 2012 has now come of voting age and they want a candidate to represent them; most of these people believe that Bernie Sanders is that person. They represent a goodly percentage of the over 350 million people who make up the population of the United States.
To Bernie the extent of his success has been euphoric; he apparently believes that a Giant Revolution is in the process of occurring and that he will not only be elected President of the United States but that the Democrats will sweep into Congress with giant majorities in both Houses of Congress.
Is this true? That’s an interesting question. It could happen in the Senate where 24 Republicans will be running to get reelected, some in swing states. We could get a lot of politically disgusted people in those states voting for Democrats. In the House of Representatives through gerrymandering in 2010 the Republicans were able to assign Districts along the line of the voters. This will not change until 2020 when the next census occurs. In 2012 over a million and a quarter more votes were cast for Democrats running in the House of Representatives but the Republicans still maintained the majority. It will probably take at least two million addition Democratic votes for the Democrats to win control of the House of Representatives.
Donald Trump has attracted those disgusted with the government who, for whatever reason, could never get themselves to vote for Democratic candidates. It would seem that most of Trump’s followers are not overly educated. Many of them like his simplistic view of the world.
The election has its own special energy and no one can truly predict where it is going.
The other major Democratic candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, was born in 1947, which makes her currently 71. She is the wife of the 42nd President, Bill Clinton, has served in the Senate from 2,000 to 2007, then unsuccessfully ran for the presidency against Barack Obama in 2008, was his Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, and is at present the leading Democratic Candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election.
She came originally from the Chicago area and graduated from Wellesley College in 1969. She achieved a doctorate from Yale Law School in 1973, married Bill Clinton in 1975 and moved to Arkansas, where her husband became governor. While first lady of Arkansas she led a task force that reformed the state’s public school system.
Her husband, President Bill Clinton appointed her to lead the Clinton health plan of 1993 which failed to reach a vote in Congress. The Republican protagonists came out with a catchy slogan, “There has to be a better way.” The “better way” was no health care bill.
She played a major role in advocating the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act. During most of her adult life Hillary Clinton has been involved in causes for the needy.
In 2,000 after the end of her husband’s term as President of the United States, she moving to New York and was elected as the first woman Senator from that state. Clinton was reelected to the Senate in 2006. She ran against Barack Obama in 2008 for the presidency. Instead she became Obama’s Secretary of State for the first four years of his term. Probably no other candidate in the history of the United States for the presidency has had as much experience as Hillary Clinton. She has been involved in public service most of her adult life.
If an individual has watched the debates in this 2016 Presidential Election year that person gets the impression that two separate and distinct elections are going on. The magnitude of the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats tends to give the impression that we are dealing with two entirely different countries.
For the Republicans this country has been abused and taken advantage of by all the other nations on the planet. We have been militarily inept, not capable of carrying out any military operation. We have signed unfair treaties with countries like Iran. Our trade agreements always favor the other nation or nations, taking needed jobs out of the United States. The U.S. under its current leadership, as a nation, is totally inept. Only by electing Republican leadership can the country properly function again.
Listening to them one get the impression that treaties need to be renegotiated and other countries need to be straightened out in their relations with the United States. If the United States reneges on past agreements with other nations this could be a direct path to war. Iran spent two years negotiating a compact with 5 Security Council nations plus Germany. I can’t see the Republican U.S. President telling them that the terms are now unacceptable and that the treaty now has to be redone on a much harsher basis with the U.S. To me that’s a recipe for war with Iran.
If Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) were to be suddenly cancelled, then no matter what is said a large number of people will suddenly lose their current health coverage. They and others adversely affected will be extremely unhappy. The Republicans have continually denounced this program since it came into existence in 2010. It was initially a Republican plan put into existence by Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts. It was voted into existence by the Democratic majority. The Republicans have denounced it since its inception, calling it a job-killing bill. They have never offered any real proof of its so-called negative aspects. Mainly they seem to object to it because it came into existence under a Black President, Barack Obama.
Somehow it seems that the Republicans have forgotten that the prior President was George W. Bush and that he got the country involved in a needless war in Iraq, wastefully spending trillions of dollars while reducing taxes mostly for the wealthy, and massively increasing the National Debt while making the U.S. a laughing stock to other industrial nations. It was also toward the end of his administration that the economic Real Estate Bubble burst almost bringing about the greatest economic decline in the history of the nation. It appears, to many Republicans that these events never did really happened. It was also Bush’s actions that destabilized the Middle East and brought about the current situation there. Basically a study of our current economic and military problems can be traced back to Republican Administrations which were then left for Democratic Administrations to deal with and, of course, were blamed on the Democrats by their Republican colleagues.
On the Democratic side we have a country with a broken or outdated infrastructure where state governors like Rick Snyder of Michigan can appoint inept city managers who then can arbitrarily switch a healthy water supply to a toxic one, poisoning a whole generation of children with lead infested water arbitrarily and even after that fact comes out, continue charging the residents of Flint for using the poisoned water and then when questioned about it by a Congressional committee blame the inexcusable problem upon the EPA.
We have a country where roads are filled with pot holes, bridges, in many instances, were built 100 years ago; where ports cannot handle modern shipping, railroads are today inadequate for properly transporting goods, many airfields are out of date, many school buildings are so old they are unsafe. Flint’s problem of unsafe water exists in many cities and buildings. The list goes on and on. In essence we are living in the 21st Century with an early 20th Century infrastructure.
According to Bernie Sanders we have, among many other problems, a broken legal system that incarcerates more people than a dictatorship like Communist China or Russia. And the bulk of those jailed tend to be Hispanic or Black. We have serious racial problems which are not really being dealt with.
As far as both Democratic candidates are concerned, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sander, this country needs a lot of internal repair and the major factor that has kept any of it from happening has been the Republicans in Congress and the state governments who apparently believe that this country can go on forever with little or no maintenance. Upgrading the infrastructure will probably take a decade or more and will cost trillions of dollars. Both feel it’s time we got started, particularly since the country still has an unemployment problems left over from the Great Recession of 2008.
It would seem that the Republicans have no understanding of the principles of economics. Most, if not all, Republican members of the House of Representatives believe that all economics is Microeconomics. That is, if one has raised a family and provided an adequate income then that person has a proper understanding of the discipline. They have a total knowledge of all they need to know about financing the United States. The nation takes in so much in taxes and that is its income. If it spends more than that it has to borrow the money and pay it back at some time in the future. That is all a person needs to know about finance it order to run the country. It’s a rather naïve and limited view of National financing.
To them money is like gold, it has an intrinsic value. Actually money today is just paper that is treated by most people as something of great value. It has not been gold since 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal collected all the gold coins, melted them down into blocks that were then buried in underground depositories, like Fort Knox, and issued paper certificates in their stead known as Federal Reserve Notes. Gold then was worth $18.00 an ounce, today an ounce of gold is worth slightly over twelve hundred dollars and the Federal Government has sold most of its gold bullion.
Money today is just a token that is used in the exchange of goods and services. It has no intrinsic value. The Central Government can print and issue as much as it wants. There are, however, general rules and regulations that govern this process which is done by the Federal Reserve. Both the 2008 oncoming depression and the banking collapse of the Housing Market were largely resolved by the Federal Reserve through its use of Creative Monetary Policy. This became necessary because the Republican dominated House of Representatives refused to deal with the problem with Fiscal Policy. In fact they exacerbated it by shrinking the size of the government and increasing the level of unemployment.
The Republican dominated Congress today cannot even accept the existence of the idea. Their concept of increasing employment is to get rid of the EPA, lower taxes for the rich, and allow increased pollution. The increased wealth that the rich gain through lower taxes, they say will allow for industrial expansion and the new wealth being spent on new productivity will tinkle down to the middle class and the poor.
This is the Republicans basic concept of job creation. Lowering the costs of production by allowing for more pollution. We can have industrial centers like China where the air is dangerous to breathe. This they believe, according to what a number of the candidates have said in the Republican Candidates 2016 Presidential debates, that if they do away with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) restrictions on production, unemployment will automatically disappear and there will be more jobs for everyone.
It’s a nice thought but it does not deal with reality. During the Reagan years as taxes for the wealthy declined their additional wealth was put into old production, the stock markets and what was then considered other safe areas of the economy. Very little, if any, trickled down to new production.
During Ronald Reagan’s Administration it was called “Supply Side Economics.” Its chief advocate was David Stockman who became President Reagan’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1981 to 1985 when he resigned from that position. Eventually even Stockman admitted that it didn’t work.
It should be noted that under Reagan the National Debt not only reached a trillion dollars for the first time in U.S. history, it also rose to over double that amount.
The Republicans are also convinced that climate change is a hoax that the earth is too large to be affected in any way by anything man does. It seems that they are never bothered by evidence of what is going on around them as they plod through life. Donald Trump believes that the Chinese started the rumor of climate change.
To the Republicans the melting of the Southern and Northern ice poles and the decreasing glacier areas would have happened even if man did not live on this planet, it is a normal, natural event. And this is also true of the rising ocean water levels. The tons of carbon that automobiles spew out into the atmosphere and other gases added by man to the air do not effect temperature change on the planet, which is naturally getting hotter.
The real problem for the Republicans is that the people who fund their elections are the producers of all this garbage that pollutes, fouling the air and warming the planet. It is to their advantage that pollution causing oil is used. The Koch Brothers who deal heavily in oil have had a law passed in Kansas making green energy illegal. The law is generally ignored but the brothers had enough political influence to get their state to pass it. They are heavy contributors to the Republican Party.
The Republicans mainly have vested interests in maintaining their contributor base—the wealthy producers and political contributors in the country. They have consequently adjusted their prospective to support the upper economic percentile of the population, making the interests of these people their interests and ignoring the needs of their economic base. As a result they cannot accept any facts about global warming being true, since that reality would separate them from their major political contributors.
If Donald Trump is not chosen as the Republican candidate for president he has threatened riots by his followers. That would seem to mean that if he is short the 1,237 delegate votes but is still leading the other two potential presidential candidates he still expects to be nominated. Trump has not mentioned being a possible third party candidate if the Republican Nominating Convention in July were to choose another candidate.
In terms of public statements he seems to be moving toward total monomania at this point in the election process. 2016 may be an historic election year!