Monday, March 21, 2016

If Sanders is elected, the revolving door will be replaced by a political revolution

Take a walk with me to consider what a Sanders cabinet might look like. I know, he hasn't won the nomination or the election yet. But most of the polls going forward show Sanders seeing strong support outside of the South, and have already accounted for Clinton's so-called "Southern Firewall". That firewall was about as effective at stopping Sanders as walls of fire have been at stopping Evil Knievel. Sanders still has a very chance of securing the delegates needed for the nomination.

When Sanders chooses his nominees, are they going to be people that could pass a confirmation in the Senate? Depends on what the Senate will look like if Sanders wins. If Sanders wins, the odds are very good that the Senate will look different than it does today (88% of the seats in Congress are up for election and the Senate has a few seats in the air, too). If Congress swings his way, he'd be more likely to appoint people who were not looking for a job in the industries they will regulate if confirmed. His cabinet might actually be interested in regulated the industries they oversee.

Imagine a Treasury department that is run by someone who really wants to regulate. Now, imagine a Justice Department that would actually pursue prosecution of bankers responsible for the collapse of the housing bubble. What would life be like if the head of the Department of Agriculture thought it would be better to level the playing field for organically grown food?

If there is anything more terrifying to the 1% about Bernie Sanders, it is the prospect of a federal government actually doing the people's bidding. Imagine this from the perspective of people who are used to buying government offices for their own benefit. What are they supposed to make of a man that doesn't take corporate money? They might find themselves on the business end of an agency that actually wants to regulate rather than just take money or delayed offers of employment to look the other way. Let's consider a few possibilities then, shall we?

Bill Clinton, George Bush and President Obama all nominated people very close to Wall Street to run the Treasury. Hilary Clinton seems to be making plans to nominate a hedge fund manager as Secretary of the Treasury. In contrast, Sanders is an unknown quantity since he's taken no money from Wall Street. He's very like to nominate someone who would be willing to make referrals to the Department of Justice for prosecution. You know, like for robo-signing foreclosures, lying about the value of mortgage backed securities and for buying influence in the Treasury.

Barack Obama has stacked the FDA with shills from Monsanto and other biotechnology companies. Hilary Clinton has close ties to Monsanto, too. With even brighter contrast, Bernie Sanders represents the state of Vermont, a state that has passed a law requiring genetically modified food to be labeled in Vermont with the support of Bernie Sanders. Do you think Sanders will nominate a C-class executive from Monsanto, DuPont or ADM to head the FDA? I doubt it. He's going to find someone who actually wants to regulate the industry.

Then there is the Just-Us Department. Wall Street (along with a few bad citizens) have found their way into a few offices there under Bush, Obama and Bill Clinton's administration. They have pretty much shut down any investigation into the collapse of the housing bubble, and they're hoping Clinton is elected to finally bury any further investigations.

Sanders would rename the agency as the "Department of Justice", you know, for the sake of tradition. And since he's not taking any corporate money, he has no obligation to nominate someone who is looking for a job in Wall Street or in some multinational firm selling tobacco to teenagers in Asia. Sanders might even nominate someone with the chutzpah to actually prosecute white collar crime and make it stick.

"But Congress will never confirm a nomination from Sanders", you say? Sanders is well known for his ability to create bi-partisan coalitions to get amendments passed. He isn't called "The Amendment King" for nothing. He could very well find the votes he needs to get his nominees confirmed. If there is any roadblocking, he knows Congress well enough to show how the money is influencing their votes.

He is also aware that liberals aren't the only political faction that would love to do to our banks what Iceland did to theirs. In case you missed the news about Iceland the way the mainstream media did, there is an interesting story to read if you find the time. Instead of saving the banks, the government of Iceland let the banks fail, prosecuted the looters and then put them in prison. Now they're enjoying a well-deserved recovery. What other faction would love to do that? 

The Tea Party. Now most of you may be thinking that the Tea Party is nothing but a bunch of conservative wackos. Well, there are more than a few in the Tea Party, no doubt. But if you were reading the news carefully during the Occupy Wall Street protests, you might have noticed that the Tea Party was none too happy about the bailouts, too.

There is a significant faction in Congress that self-identifies as "Tea Party". They have a constituency that isn't just about cutting social security. They want to to put the bankers in jail, too. Sanders as president is so familiar with Congress that he'd be in a perfect position to out the Tea Party members of Congress that would not like to see a few hedge fund managers and banking executives in orange suits. 

Any Tea Party member who refuses to confirm a nominee for the Treasury or Justice Department, a nominee that is more than willing to prosecute and put someone behind bars, is going to have to explain that to their constituents back home. That could get a might bit discomforting.

This is one of the reasons why being an independent matters so much. An independent can be "bi-partisan" and succeed in meeting his objectives where partisans would fail. An independent can show the nation where there is common ground without losing face, while at the same time undermining his detractors. You just can't get that from anyone in the GOP clown car (which is a lot less crowded now) or from Hilary Clinton.

Sanders doesn't take corporate money. That means he doesn't have to worry about biting the hand that feeds him, unless that hand belongs to the people. You can dislike him for being a "Democratic Socialist", but at least you will know what motivates him and why. If you know that about Sanders, you know a lot more about him than any of his opponents in this race. That is probably the most terrifying thing about Sanders of all - to the 1%. I mean, the 0.05% that financed the bulk of the SuperPACs for this election.
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