By Ameen Izzadeen
Senator Bernie Sanders is losing his battle to become the Democratic Party’s candidate who will defeat the reelection bid of erratic and impulsive Donald Trump at the presidential election in November and bring back decency to the office of presidency. The Super Tuesday Sanders was billed to sweep slithered away from his grip. So did the primaries this Tuesday in several other states.
His exit from the Democratic Party race is now near certain. On Wednesday he acknowledged that many Democrats see him as less electable than Joe Biden. What is happening is a repeat of 2016 when he narrowly lost the race to the establishment’s candidate Hillary Clinton.
Yes, the establishment – the deep state run by the plutocrats — has mustered all its energy to ensure Sanders is defeated this time, too, for he poses a danger to the type of capitalism that allows a mere one percent of the population to amass a wealth that is equivalent to the combined wealth of more than 90 percent of Americans. The deep state and the corporate media have ganged up against Sanders, portraying him as unelectable and as a man, if elected, would deal the death knell to the Free State their forefathers have built.
Far from causing the death of the Free State, what Sanders wants to bring about is a welfare system that is more close to the vision of the United States’ founding fathers than what is interpreted as free state by the establishment. In Sanders’ welfare state
• every citizen is assured state-funded health care,
• every worker is paid a decent salary,
• students could pursue college education without being driven to lifelong debt,
• elections are won and lost on the basis of policy and a franchise that is undistorted by manipulation, not on the basis of power of various lobbies, billionaire financiers, foreign powers and fake news media,
• foreign policy is based on peace and justice instead of war and power politics,
• environment is protected through a green-energy revolution,
• the rich are taxed more for the government to free the poor from the poverty trap.
Sanders’ progressive goals are anathema to the so-called one percent who put profit before public welfare. They branded him as an extremist, a socialist, a Communist – the like of whom the Cold War era American leaders had demonized as the dreaded commie. “The only good Communist was the dead Communist” was a slogan then. “Better Dead than Red” was another, red being the colour of the Communists.
The establishment may be working for the triumph of Trump the billionaire businessman, one among the one percent. Probably, Trump the billionaire marketer, in his acumen, foresaw Biden will be his Democratic Party rival. That is perhaps why he wanted Ukraine to investigate corruption allegations against Biden’s businessman son – a move that led to Trump’s impeachment in the House of Representatives.
The Republicans believe Biden, former Vice President during Barack Obama’s presidency, is beatable, as he carries too much baggage. The Trump team is digging up the dirt to take on Biden.
The Trump team probably duped the Democrats into believing that the President wanted Sanders as his rival. After Sanders’ Nevada victory, Trump congratulated “Crazy Bernie” in a tweet, warning “Don’t let them take it away from you!” While in India, Trump claimed that Democrats had leaked intelligence to undermine Sanders’ campaign. Democrats “don’t want him, so they put out a thing that Russia is backing him.” The Trump team’s disruptive strategy that seemed to be favouring Sanders paved the way for ‘beatable’ Biden to enter the fray and the Democrats are turning up for Biden. The Afro-Americans seem to be having a soft spot for Biden, who was associated with Obama, the United States’ first Afro-American president. They believe Biden has the right experience. However, the progressives, especially the educated youth, who represent the future of America, still rally behind Sanders. It’s Sanders or none, Sanders’ young supporters say.
Only two weeks ago, many analysts had written off Biden’s campaign as good as dead. But with the establishment’s support, he is scoring victory after victory in states Sanders were expected to win. Sanders, who fared well in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada during the early part of the race has been on a losing streak since Super Tuesday’s shock on March 3.
With the party hierarchy stabbing Bernie in the back, he depends on donations from the progressives, while billionaire Mike Bloomberg could splurge 600 million dollars for his one-off appearance on Super Tuesday.
Can Sanders reverse the trend and pip Biden at the post? With the coronavirus epidemic now gripping the United States, the need for Sanders’ policy of free universal health care and paid sick leave is being felt more than ever before. On the contrary, Trump, who hits out at Obama’s health care scheme, is not known to be a backer of free universal health care. He has even cut funds for the health sector. In the United States he leads, every year around 500,000 Americans go bankrupt due to their inability to meet medical expenses, and the sick, in the absence of a statutory paid sick leave system, are forced to go to work fearing that they would lose their jobs.
Yet, the US is not yet ready for the radical shift from the welfare state as defined by the capitalists to the welfare state the progressives are dreaming of. The deep state will not let that happen. Even Obama, who held views that were seen to be somewhat progressive, could make it to the White House only after an understanding with the Wall Street. Wasn’t it a quid pro quo when he bailed them out during the 2008 financial crisis, much to the chagrin of the progressives who voted for him?
Just as the establishment conspired with the Democratic Party leadership in 2016 to pick Clinton as the party candidate, the cabal is working this time also to block Sanders and promote Biden, said to be the most rightwing of the lot. They have succeeded in the task, with the candidates quitting the race endorsing Biden.
The Democratic Party is alienating a large segment of the progressive voters. In 2016, quite a number of Sanders supporters did not go to the polling booth because they did not want to vote for Hillary Clinton. This was one of the reasons why Trump won. Needless to say, Trump is super confident of winning a second term.
(This article first appeared in the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka)