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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

MODERATES AND REVOLUTIONARIES: STARK REALITIES

The early election 2020 primaries are finally underway and the operative description so far is “confusion”.   After months of leading in the polls, former Vice President Joe Biden has apparently tripped over his tongue and fallen off the edge of the Progressive’s far Left platform.

After completion of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the Left’s media pundits are promoting the claim of a Bernie Sanders “surge”based on Sander’s victories in both early states.  To be sure, some are casting wary eyes at the rising popularity of another candidate. It’s not the runner up in both contests, junior achiever, former mayor Pete Buttigieg, it’s one of the three billionaires currently in play in the national election;  not Donald Trump, the “evil greedy” billionaire on the Republican ticket; not Tom Steyer, the “good greedy” but quixotic and largely irrelevant  billionaire still in the Democratic race, but the newcomer, the used to be “bad but now trying to be good”, billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg  wasn’t even on the ballots of either Iowa or New Hampshire but campaigned from the outside, spending millions of his billions on television aids.  Although Bloomberg didn’t enter the race until November 21, 2019 long after his Democratic competitors had begun their campaigns, he in three short months, has risen to third in the national polls average with 16.1%
preference,  topping long time candidates Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.

Bloomberg has been anointed as the best “moderate” alternative to Bernie, a title formerly bequeathed by the media on Biden, then Buttigieg, and sometimes Klobuchar.  But of course compared to Bernie, anyone to the “right” of, and including, Fidel Castro, who Bernie once praised for his “progressive” social policies, is in relative terms a “moderate”.

Still, Bloomberg has a steep hill to climb to put a dent into the commitment of Sanders’ far Left activist popularity.  His campaign website lists many “plans” but few details and no mention of costs or financing.  But to the Progressive Left, especially the young, he is another “old white male billionaire” who won’t receive the socialist exception for these “oppressive flaws” that the 78 year old Sanders has.  Bernie has always been a political radical while Bloomberg was a Democrat until 2001 when he switched parties to become a Republican.  Then in 2007 he switched again to become a registered Independent, only becoming a “born again” Democrat shortly before declaring his candidacy for the presidency in 2019.   

This checkered past is giving a clearly concerned Sanders an abundance of raw material for attacks on Bloomberg who served three terms as mayor of New York City.  Campaigning in Nevada prior to their caucuses on February 22nd Bernie who has previously attacked Bloomberg’s wealth, added Bloomberg’s pre-Democrat "racism", opposition to a minimum wage increase, opposition to increased taxes on the wealthy and advocating cuts in Medicare and Social Security to Bloomberg’s “moderate”“ heresy.  

Early polls show Bernie likely to win the Nevada caucuses, not surprising given the huge number of service employee union members who work in the state’s hotels and casinos. 
That would give Sanders another boost in his goal of portraying the inevitability of his nomination ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries held in fourteen states on March 3rd.

But Democrats themselves are concerned with how broad Sanders support really is, given his self identification as a “Democratic socialist” and his plans for a “revolutionary change” in the nation’s free market capitalist system which is currently booming.  Bernie’s victories have so far been close calls in small states with a significant lack of diversity.  He won in Iowa with  26.5% of the vote over Buttigieg’s 25.1%.  Thus 73.5% of Iowa’s voters were unenthusiastic about his proposed “revolution” and it’s most prominent feature, government controlled Medicare for all and the end of private health insurance. It also worth noting that since 1972, while the Iowa caucuses winner has gone on to win the Democratic nomination for President 7 of 10 times in “contested races” (no incumbent president in the race), only two, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama went on to win the presidency.

In New Hampshire, where Sander’s was supposed to have a huge advantage based on his residence in neighboring state Vermont, the results were similar.  Sanders won with 25.7% of the vote to Buttigieg’s 24.4%.  Thus the combined votes of the “moderates”, Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Biden, even with the exception of the “queen of plans”, Elizabeth Warren, was still 52.6%, more than double the “revolutionary” vote.

How can this be?  In more normal times with more “normal” i.e. establishment candidates, three victories in a row would definitely be seen as a significant momentum advantage which brings more money, more enthusiasm and a media boost.  But these are not “normal” times and Sander’s is the most far Left major contender in modern history.  

So in the context of uncertainty, important questions remain:

1.  If Sanders goes on to win the nomination by just squeaking by in the remaining primaries, will the revolutionary doubters, the supporters of the so called “moderates”, lose their interest for the national election and stay home; or will the “anyone but Trump” meme overcome their fears and give Sanders their votes?

2.  If Joe Biden somehow achieves a “Phoenix” like resurrection on Super Tuesday and beyond and regains a lead sufficient to win the nomination, will irate and disheartened Sanders believe the nomination was once again “rigged” against their man like in 2016 and stay home on election day in November?

3. If Biden’s Phoenix bird fails to get airborne and Buttigieg stays close to Bernie, will the likely withdrawal of Klobuchar, the only candidate deserving of the title “moderate”, move her supporters to Buttigieg allowing him to edge out Sanders for the nomination?

4. Is the “anyone but Trump” incentive strong enough to overcome Bernie’s or Buttigieg’s basic disadvantages?  Buttigieg is young (38 yrs.) and would be the youngest U.S. President to ever serve. His political resume’ is thinner than Elizabeth Warren’s tomahawk collection.  He was defeated in his 2010 State Treasurer of Indiana run,before wining two terms as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, population 101,000. That’s it.  Despite his relative success among the Progressive Left dominated Democratic primaries, being openly gay is still a problem on a national level. Only 50% of registered voters declared that they were “ready” for a gay president. Thirty-two percent of Independents and twenty-two percent of Democrats said they “weren’t ready”.

Bernie’s “socialist” problem:

Sanders says he’s not a socialist; he’s a “democratic socialist”.  What is a “democratic socialist”? 
Apparently it’s whatever Bernie and his thirty year old sock puppet and campaign participant Ocasio-Cortez says it is. The short academic definition of socialism has always been the “public” (gov’t) ownership of the means of production.”
Sanders was a member of the Liberty Union Party, a socialist party founded in Vermont in 1970.
He was the party’s Senate candidate in 1972 and the party’s candidate for Vermont Governor in 1976.  He went on to become the party’s Chairman until 1977 when he resigned reportedly because of the party’s lack of activity between elections.

While a member in 1971 Sanders advocated for the nationalization of major industries, specifically energy, banking, and manufacturing, as well as state control of Vermont’s public utilities, all of which fit neatly into the definition of “means of production”.  In 1976 he proposed a marginal federal tax rate of 100% for “millionaires and again called for the government of Vermont to seize all public utilities without compensation.  In 1976 he called for the conversion of privately owned manufacturing industries into “worker controlled enterprises”.

In the years since Bernie’s youthful radicalism, he hasn’t changed much. Although he’s tried to soften his approach in the 2020 campaign by emphasizing “free stuff” he remains true to his assault on free market capitalism and the promotion of big government to fulfill most of society’s needs.

In 1981 he expressed opposition to private charities claiming that “Government should take over responsibility for social programs.” In 1987 he defined “democracy” as “ public ownership and worker self management in the workplace.”
As recently as February, 2016 on the far Left website Daily Kos, he declared that “Democracy means public ownership of the major ‘means of production’.  And in December of that year in a quote published in the New York Times, he advocated for politicizing the Federal Reserve, an independent regulatory agency, by creating a Federal Reserve Board made up of “representatives of labor, consumers, homeowners , urban residents, farmers, and small business owners.”

It only gets worse, if one actually takes the time to read Sander’s campaign web site which is a blue print for social and economic disaster.
Here’s just a few items from that site:

Immigration:   “Break up Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and stop deportations of illegal immigrants, essentially an “open borders policy”.

Green New Deal: This is Bernie’s rendition of Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic Socialist of America’s plan to bankrupt the federal government. Unlike that plan he leaves out the danger of methane producing “farting cows” but includes actual dollar amounts he would spend to  save the world while destroying the U.S. economy.
Support the Green Climate Fund, an aid program for developing countries to “mitigate” the effects of global climate change.
Cost: $200 billion

“Guarantee health care, housing, and a good paying job to every American.”
Cost: $ unknown

 “100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization of the economy by 2050 by expanding the existing federal Power Marketing Administration to build new solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources.”
Cost: $16.3 trillion

A “Climate Justice Resiliency Fund”to provide grants to racial minorities, elderly, children and other special “victims” deal with the impact of, and prepare for climate impacts”.
Cost: $40 billion

Free electricity for all by 2035 requiring a new national renewable energy power grid.
Cost: $526 billion

Grants to change heating and cooling systems in homes and businesses from fossil fuels to electricity.
Cost: $964 billion

Grants to “low and moderate income families and businesses” to trade in their gasoline powered automobiles for electric vehicles.
Cost: $2.09 trillion

National network of automobile electric charging stations.
Cost: $85.6 billion

Grants for electric school buses.
Cost: $407 billion

Grants to replace diesel commercial trucks.
Cost: $216 billion

Research to “decarbonize industry”.
Cost: $500 billion

Fund public transportation.
Cost: $300 billion

Fund high speed rail.
Cost: 607 billion

Research to “decarbonize” aviation and maritime shipping and transportation.
Cost: $150 billion


While doing this Sanders would shut down the already “decarbonized” electric power generation  nuclear power industry which currently provides 19.4% of the nation’s electricity.

Add to this Sanders’ most prominent policy of free Medicare for all which is estimated to cost $34 trillion over ten years and his free college tuition which is estimated to cost $79 billion per year, his plan to cancel all $1.6 trillion in existing student college loan debt and grant $1.3 billion per year to historically black colleges, and the sheer fantasy of this “democratic socialist’s” remake of the entire U.S. economy should be a stark political reality for 2020 voters.