My problem with Bernie

Bernie Sanders is a smart, thoughtful senator from Vermont. I remember, before he ran for president in 2016 or, this time, in 2020, he was a regular on the Thom Hartmann radio program. He was there almost every Friday. Sen. Sanders and Thom Hartmann, one of the smartest man in radio, would discuss the events of the week. Bernie Sanders would then take calls from people who called into the radio program. If he didn’t know something, he said he didn’t know it. Frequently, though, he was able to expound on what ever question the caller had and explained what the progressive solution would be to that problem.

My problem with Bernie Sanders is threefold. First, Bernie Sanders is only a Democrat when he is running for president. The reason that he decided to run as a Democrat is because it is nearly impossible to win the presidency as an independent. Bernie Sanders needed the Democratic apparatus. There is nothing wrong with this. It is just an important thing for us to factor into the whole equation.

Secondly, Race. It should come as no surprise to anyone who has lived in America for more than 1/2 an hour that we have a race problem in this country. Is the problem better than it was 40 years ago? Yes, undoubtedly. Black families and Hispanic families have a total net income which is significantly less than white families. This is a fact. Why is this? What can the government due to help fix this inequality? These are questions which Sen. Sanders is uncomfortable in addressing. We all remember four years ago when he was confronted by Black Lives Matter. Bernie Sanders froze. He had no answer. He had to get with his advisers and he spent three or four days formulating a policy before he could answer. His answer was halting. It was not fluid. It was awful. In my opinion, no matter what problems we face in the United States, we have to come up with multicultural solutions in order for the solutions to work for everyone.

Thirdly, Sen. Sanders seems to have an all or nothing approach to politics. Politics is about give-and-take. Politics is about negotiation. Bernie has lots of great ideas – Medicare for all, no tuition colleges and more. Yet, it really doesn’t matter what kind of progressive wave crosses the United States, it is nearly inconceivable that the Democrats will have super majorities in both the House and the Senate. Without super majorities, he’s gonna have trouble passing any sweeping legislation. Democrats will not all fall in line like Republicans. Many Democrats will want to negotiate the finer points in the legislation. Many will have their own ideas which they will think are better than what Sanders has put forward. If Sen. Sanders doesn’t want to negotiate, then the legislation doesn’t get passed. Right now, we need victories. We need to slowly move the country in a progressive direction. I’m afraid that an all or nothing approach will leave us with nothing.

Finally, in spite of the fact that Bernie Sanders has a very energetic and passionate following, I’m not sure that’s going to matter, in the end. Somehow Bernie Sanders went from being the obvious front runner after winning Nevada to being a second-tier candidate after losing South Carolina and super Tuesday. Whatever momentum Bernie Sanders had, he has lost it. In order to win in November, we need a united Democratic party. We don’t need animosity. We don’t need bitter feelings. Can Bernie Sanders help fix this? I really don’t know.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

Books

A Letter to America

The Thirteeneth Juror

Where is The Outrage Topics
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