Liberalism After Bernie Exits

I have been, almost from the beginning, a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton for president. When Bernie Sanders first came on the scene, the thing that made me take notice of him was his comment, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails”. It was a characteristically brusque comment. But it caused me to see him in a positive light. I thought to myself that, well, this man is unlikely to win the election because of his age and his self-declared democratic socialism, but he seems like a nice guy with his heart in the right place. As time went on, Sanders’ message seemed to catch fire, especially in big college towns. He started to draw huge crowds, much to the surprise of everybody, including Sanders. His ego became involved, as one would expect, after preaching the same sermon for many years he is getting young worshipful crowds, almost as though he was a rock star. It would take a big person not to become intoxicated by that. Bernie seems to have proved he is not a big person. He seems willing to risk the future of the country on his increasingly unlikely quest for the presidency. I believe that by next Tuesday we will have our nominee, probably after the polls close in New Jersey.

What is going to decide Bernie’s legacy and the chances of his agenda gaining strength will be his behavior once he is officially eliminated from the primary, and can no longer claim that he has a chance to win. We have gotten some clues about how he might behave, and they aren’t promising. I really don’t believe that we will have a President Donald Trump. Trump seems almost as though,with his recent comments about a federal judge, he is trying to disqualify himself. The outrageous statements he keeps making are causing him to appear unhinged. Having said that, however, it isn’t helpful to have Sanders nipping at Clinton’s ankles, making her work harder to earn what, arguably, she should have earned eight years ago.

I believe that Bernie is sexist. He probably is in denial about it, but to me, it seems so obvious. The way he reacts to her on the debate stage, with the impatient finger wagging and dismissive comments, along with his writings as a 30-year-old man eking out a living in Vermont, seems to make the point obvious.

I believe that, unfortunately, the time has passed for Bernie to return to the amiable elder statesman he once appeared to be. For me, he will never be that man. All he can do now is to stop the crap. As somebody wise once said, “When you find yourself in a hole, the first rule is to stop digging.”

As he is nearly assured of losing his bid for the nomination, he is undoubtably angling to get some of his ideas into the Democratic platform. That would actually be fine with me, since the platform isn’t binding. But he also wants to remove liberal stalwarts Barney Frank and Daniel Malloy, an ex-Representative and current Governor respectively, from their posts on the Rules Committee at the Democratic National Convention. Bernie is being spiteful, vindictive, and childish. He can stop digging his hole and leave a decent legacy, as well as having a better chance of success as a returning Senator. It’s up to him.

I have always considered myself a liberal. I now prefer the term “liberal” to “progressive.” The latter has too much baggage from the early 20th century, and is prone to different interpretations. Liberal means, on its face, in favor of a more pluralistic, humane society.

I differentiate myself from Sanders supporters. I don’t know what they call themselves, but I am not in their camp. I disbelieve in the power of any kind of revolution at this time in our country. Such an aspersion is fantasy, pie-in-the- sky, that would be pounded into obscurity, most certainly, by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s gavel. What we need is somebody like Hillary, who knows the rules, accepts the rules, and knows how to get things done. Incrementally. The only way they can be done at this time.

Only charlatans claim to have a large majority of the voting population on their side, whether it’s Trump “making America great (white) again”, or Sanders’ “revolution”, whatever that means. We need a real, competent woman to do the nation’s business, not a sideshow barker, whether from the left or from the right.

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