Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Democratic elite are learning a lesson from Einstein and independent voters

The Democratic Party is experiencing something that they haven't quite seen before, the rise of a powerful insurgent candidate that has garnered an enormous base of support. Bernie Sanders is considered an outsider to the Democratic elite and has been relatively independent from the Democratic Party. (I'd write about the Republicans with their Trump candidate, but they're not learning the lesson.)

Bernie Sanders is the insurgency on the left - the far left. He's an independent Senator from Vermont that decided now is a good time to run as a Democrat. He understands that many states have closed primaries and that he would not be able to survive an election without becoming a Democrat to run. Yet he is showing the Democrats that he has the support to win.

He's filling stadiums to capacity at his rallies, but you won't see that on the news. He's been raising more money than Hilary Clinton for two months. As the race for the White House moves beyond "the firewall" in the South, the demographics change and they're not looking so great for Clinton. Still, the press would have us believe that she's a shoe-in.

Einstein is often credited with the following definition: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Many voters are seeing this in Clinton. They see NAFTA, a hallmark of the Bill Clinton administration, and other free trade agreements that took their jobs. They see her "We'll take what we can get from the Republicans" legislative strategy being passed on us as leadership. They see her zeal for regime change. They see Clinton taking us down roads we've already seen, all at the behest of her very well financed benefactors. Many of the people who see these problems with Clinton are independent voters.

Einstein also said that, "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." Where Sanders has expressed rather original thinking on the problems of social welfare, foreign policy and economics, Clinton seeks the high road by saying we'll build on what we have. Sometimes she says what he says. Yet, she'd rather not have another debate about the work that Obama has already done. She is implying that Sanders would like to start over, something he has never said he wanted to do.

We know that Sanders is an independent candidate at heart. But we also know that he's been saying the same thing over and over again for more than 30 years, with few of the very powerful in the Democratic Party willing to listen to him. Already, there is a chorus of Democratic Senators giving a gentle suggestion that he step aside and let Clinton take it from here.

But what the Democrats and the Republicans are unwilling to discuss is that independent voters make up a 45% majority in this country. They are now greater than either major party alone, and they are not easily swayed by the usual rhetoric from the old guard. We've tried Trickle Down Economics and we've found ourselves in a bubble economy where every bubble eventually bursts. We've tried regime change and found ourselves mired in war after war. We have continued to use oil, gas and coal, only to see the oceans rising and our shorelines receding.

Independent voters think from outside the Democratic Party, but they are willing to vote for a Democrat if he (or she) is willing to think with some independence. Sanders represents that candidate. Voters want someone new, who is not so beholden to the money. Ironically, there is a fair number of voters willing to switch to Trump if Hilary wins the nomination. They see some parity between Sanders and Trump in their policy views, something different that establishment politicians are not offering.

30% of Sanders supporters say they will not vote for Clinton. 45% of the country is self-identified as independent. Clinton has done most of the winning up to this point. She has the popular vote so far. But there are some who say that as the votes move west, the road gets rougher for Clinton. Some are reminding us of how Clinton conceded the nomination to Obama in June of 2008. These are the same people who refuse to go quietly.

Why should Sanders quit when he's filling stadiums and raising more money than his rival? Because Clinton very much feels entitled to be president, and her vast, deep network of political allies feel powerless to stop Sanders. They've ignored him in the press, but the internet goes around them like damage. They would rather show us an empty stage at a Trump event than to show us Sanders talking to a stadium filled to capacity in Seattle. This is how the press betrays the country they are supposed to serve. But I guess that what we can expect when 90% of major media is owned by 6 parent companies. The free help provided by politicians and the major media belie the strength of the Clinton candidacy.

The establishment media and politicians are expecting us to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. She just might win the nomination, but the polls say that she's not going to win the independent votes. It well may be that the independent voters have become the teacher for the Democratic Party. Hopefully, the Democrats are listening.

No comments: