Sunday, January 24, 2016

Taking the Gamble on Bernie

Hillary, Paul Krugman make sense.  Look at history: Medicare, Social Security all started small and incrementally grew to be big, hugely successful government programs which we can now hardly imagine living without.

Dreaming of a revolution is so Kumbaya and it's so 1960's,  to drift off on a euphoric high, dreaming of what America could be like, if only it were not like it really is:  filled with Trump-ies roaring their approval for expelling Mexicans and banning Muslims. 

America is not just the upper West Side of Manhattan; it is also the upper Mid West, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. 

But it is also true that Ronald Reagan was a longshot, unelectable, too extreme. And when he swept in things really did change, for a decade, maybe two. He cut taxes for the rich, ran up huge deficits and belittled government, if not actually making it littler.  His insistence that government is the problem not the solution lives on today in the hearts and addled minds of 30-40% of America who now flock to Mr. Trump.

Of course, his Republican revolution swept away a perceived failed Democratic presidency; now we are talking about a Democratic revolution to replace a stalled Democratic presidency. 

But, if Hillary wins the nomination and then the  election, she can only hope for a Democratic Senate, but she would be faced, ultimately, with the same intractable Congress which thwarted and frustrated President Obama.  We might face, likely would face incremental change or no change, more gridlock. 

The question is this:  is a slow creep forward worth it?  

If Trump is elected, or Ted Cruz, we'd march several steps backward--abortion rights crushed, rich getting richer, Planned Parenthood vanquished, teen pregnancies through the roof, unions only a memory.  But this too will pass.

But if Bernie were elected, he could only be elected with a massive liberal turn out and as he has said so often, it does no good to vote for Bernie if you don't send him a Democratic Congress. We would find out, in numbers, just how many Americans really are liberal.   So the voters, if they choose Bernie, will have to vote in both Bernie and Congress. There can be no split tickets, no voting for Mitch McConnell and Bernie.  Then we could get a single payer, government option, real restraint on Wall Street, free state universities,  and a chance at real, substantive, lasting change. 

It's like those credit default swaps--if you lose, you don't lose all that much, but if you win, you change everything. 

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