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Posts Tagged ‘Bernie Sanders

 

Bernie Sanders Campaign Suspends Jewish Outreach Coordinator for Vulgar Remarks About Netanyahu

By Jason Horowitz, Apr. 14, 2016

Note: Since when the terms“arrogant, deceptive, cynical, manipulative.” are considered vulgar Mr. Sanders? And do you know that Sanders voted in Congress 1995 for Jerusalem to be Capital of Israel?

Updated, 12:22 a.m. | The Sanders campaign’s announcement on Tuesday that Simone Zimmerman would be its national Jewish outreach coordinator delighted her fellow left-wing Jewish political activists and encouraged their belief that public expressions of disgust with the Israeli government had edged into the acceptable mainstream of Democratic politics.

They might have been getting ahead of themselves.

On Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign suspended Ms. Zimmerman, 25, after revelations that she had used vulgarities in Facebook posts about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Hillary Clinton.

The suspension, hours before a Democratic presidential debate in Brooklyn, made for an embarrassing misstep for Mr. Sanders, a secular Jew who, despite having lived briefly in Israel (How brief and for what purpose?) and being the most successful candidate of his faith in American history, is being pummeled by Mrs. Clinton among Jewish voters.

But the suspension was also an important moment in the small but deeply felt universe of Democratic Jewish politics, which has been torn apart on generational and ideological lines over the acceptable level of criticism of Israel’s right-wing government.

With Ms. Zimmerman’s history of opposition to Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza, her hiring drew concerted and ultimately overwhelming pressure from American Jewish leaders.

Her suspension showed that when it came to the high stakes and intense scrutiny of presidential politics, the establishment’s view of Ms. Zimmerman and her brethren as dangerous radicals still held sway even with Mr. Sanders, a candidate promising a revolution.

The fact that he acted shows that obviously he didn’t think it was acceptable,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

A chorus of Jewish figures, including Abe Foxman, the president emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, had joined Mr. Hoenlein in calling for Ms. Zimmerman’s firing.

The final straw was a report on Wednesday in the Washington Free Beacon, which found a Facebook post in which she used a vulgarity and described Mr. Netanyahu as “arrogant, deceptive, cynical” and “manipulative.”

She then used more aggressive language and continued that he had “sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people this summer.” (If this allegation is wrong, sue her instead of hiding these facts under the carpet)

Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Mr. Sanders, wrote in an email, “She has been suspended while we investigate the matter.” (Yeah. Kind she committed a crime?)

After Mr. Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary in a landslide, Ms. Zimmerman also wrote triumphantly on Facebook, “The first Jew in history just won a primary, as a proud socialist calling for political revolution.” Then she criticized Mrs. Clinton and added a vulgarity.

Ms. Zimmerman declined to comment on her suspension, but supporters noted that she wrote the Facebook post about Mr. Netanyahu in March 2015, an emotionally charged time, when Mr. Netanyahu infuriated liberals across the United States by addressing Congress to argue against President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. (Context has no value in politics?)

“This is the American Jewish community eating its own,” said Peter Beinart, a mentor to Ms. Zimmerman and a leading voice in liberal Zionism. “Simone is the best of the best. Most of the other kids have given up on the community. She cares deeply and wants to make it live up to its own stated ideals.”

In an interview last year about the shifts in American Jewish politics, Ms. Zimmerman talked about how she had grown up in an active Jewish community and household in Los Angeles, with a grandparent who had fought for Israeli independence. Other relatives were killed in the Holocaust, she said.

After receiving training from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, Ms. Zimmerman entered the University of California, Berkeley, she said, with the intention of defending Israel. But she began doubting Israeli policies regarding the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, settlements, and what she viewed as the excessive use of military force.

She then became the national president of the student branch of J Street, a pro-Israel lobbying group that is critical of the Netanyahu government. She started a grass-roots movement of thousands of young Jews who sought to stop American Jewish groups from supporting Israeli policies in the occupied territories.

She protested in front of the offices of Mr. Hoenlein, among others.

“They claim to speak for the American Jewish community,” she said, adding that “young people make the establishment the most worried.”

But apparently the Sanders campaign, despite its popularity among young liberal voters who tend to agree with Ms. Zimmerman on the question of Israel, became worried, too.

A significant number of Jewish voters consider Ms. Zimmerman and her allies to be radicals, and the Sanders campaign, already facing a more than 30-point deficit among New York’s Jewish Democrats, according to a new NBC New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, took action.

In Thursday night’s debate, though, Mr. Sanders advocated a critical discussion of Israel that, while popular with his young liberal base, was unlikely to please the Jewish establishment figures who had sought to hold a common line on Israel in Democratic politics.

Mr. Sanders criticized Mrs. Clinton’s pro-Israel orthodoxy, called the Israeli army’s use of arms against Palestinians “disproportionate” and argued that “we have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.”

Ms. Zimmerman would have approved.

Find out what you need to know about the 2016 presidential race today, and get politics news updates via FacebookTwitter and the First Draft newsletter.

Correction: April 14, 2016
An earlier version of this article misstated Abe Foxman’s position with the Anti-Defamation League. He is a former national director of the group, not the current president.
 Well, that was fast.

I wonder if, when he hired her, he had ANY IDEA what he was stepping in. He just doesn’t seem that hip on the current state of Palestine/Israel discourse. He might have just thought she seemed like a nice girl with a good resume.

Then again, he has worked in Washington for quite a long time. How could he not know about the Israel lobby or its power or epic tetchiness? Maybe just because he’s kind of stayed out of the Israel question for the most part?

Both the hiring and the suspending raise many questions. It’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out.

But I can say if I were running for president right now, I probably wouldn’t try to be ruffling any Israel lobby feathers at this point.

There’s no benefit in it right at this moment (especially in freaking New York), and there’ll be plenty of time for that battle once you’re in the Oval Office. (Like when? This state of horror has been going on for 7 decades. Trump just openly supported Israel and he won on other issues)

Don’t trust their rhetoric: Blatant hypocrisy of these Senators and Congressmen

Those US Senators and Congressmen voted in 1995 to have Jerusalem Capital of Israel

Zionism infiltrated the Evangelical sects in the USA. Since 1915 the USA has been the instigator for establishing the State of Israel, by pressuring England in WWI to  recognize a land for the Jews in Palestine in 1917. Over 200,000 US soldiers died in that war and many fold from the “Spanish Flu” once they returned home

The battle-cry on Jerusalem crisis: Pressure US Congress to rescind its law of 1995 of Jerusalem Capital of Israel. Otherwise, UN will postpone indefinitely the creation of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as Capital. This will go counter to the world community desires to put to rest this century old situstion.

There are maps of Palestine of 1920, 1947, 1949, the Oslo II of 1995, the Wye Plantation of 1998, the Charm el-Cheikh of 1999, the Camp David map including Jerusalem, the Taba I and Taba II, the two Sharon’s plans of 2001, including Jerusalem. No wonder these are never displayed: these Swiss cheese subdivisions and the implantation of Jewish colonies would speak louder than any article.

 

Should Joan Baez endorse Bernie Sanders?

Pledged my allegiance not to a flag or a nation state but to humankind

 Joan Baez· April 7, 2016 at 7:12am ·

I’ve had conflicting feelings as to whether or not I should officially endorse Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I would be making this decision for only the second time in my life.

The first time was for Barack Obama, the master of the spoken word whose brilliance (and smile) brought people together and ignited our spirits for the first time in decades. Aside from endorsing Barack Obama, I have refused to step into the arena of party politics.

My choice, from an early age, has been to engage in social change from the ground up, using the power of organized nonviolence.

A distrust of the political process was firmly in place by the time I was 15. As a daughter of Quakers I pledged my allegiance not to a flag or a nation state but to humankind, the two often having little to do with each other.

Ideally, both Obama and Sanders could have used their unique gifts to build a grass roots movement, sidestepping the Oval Office and going directly to the streets to organize from the sidewalks, street corners, living rooms and churches.

Gandhi himself refused to be part of the newly formed Independent India government after he led the country to independence, and remained committed to nonviolent opposition.

Can a true political revolution ever start from within the party system?

It does seem like an insurmountable contradiction. And to imagine that more than a fraction of Bernie’s agenda could ever come to fruition is probably setting expectations too high.

Yet Bernie has won my heart.

He supports causes in which I have been personally involved for decadesI take great strength from his firm stance against the death penalty, (amazing!) his belief that Palestinians should have a place at the bargaining table, (unheard of!) his understanding that the prison system must transform its agenda from punishment to rehabilitation,

his desire to treat immigrants as human beings, and of course by his grass roots funding and astonishing refusal to sell himself to the devil on Wall Street, or anywhere else for that matter.

I am profoundly moved by this elder statesman, his compelling honesty, and his ability to engage young people.

Why am I not spending my time trying to woo Bernie into grass roots organizing?

For the moment I’m going with my heart, which I mentioned, he has won. I am not sold on “the system” and never will be. I’m sold on the guy from Brooklyn.

I’ve learned a lot while writing this piece. I know that I am ambivalent about supporting someone who will be thrown to the lions if he wins.

He is a lion in his own right, and I want to see him win. Not just to conquer the growing evil in the other party, but also to see what he can do to bend the system towards a less corrupt and more generous country than we are at present.

I joyfully and wholeheartedly endorse Bernie Sanders to be the nominee for the Democratic Party in the 2016 Presidential Election.

-Joan Baez

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Rousing Sanders Attack on Vapid Media Coverage: And Cable News Edits it Out

Bernie Sanders garnered one of the biggest applause lines during the debate Tuesday night — and a trending hashtag — when he slammed the media for focusing on Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails” instead of asking the candidates about poverty, inequality, trade policies, and the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

But from watching television coverage of this dramatic moment in the debate, you would only hear half of the story. Playing clips from the debate, CNN and other networks focused almost exclusively on the political impact of Sanders expressing solidarity with Clinton about her damn emails —  while editing out his comment about the failures of the media to talk about the biggest issues facing America.

Andrew Bossone shared and commented on this link

I stay away from commenting on the lamelections, but this one I couldn’t. Don’t disagree with Bernie on this one that the issues matter, but questions about a candidate breaking the law and hiding her communications ARE relevant.

theintercept.com

At the 00:58 moment in the clip above, Sanders is heard saying: “The secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails…. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.”

But here’s the part that was edited out:

SANDERS: The middle class — Anderson, and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, talk to a whole lot of people. Middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United.

The way MSNBC covered it left viewers with the impression that Sanders was going after the Republican Party for obsessing over Clinton’s private email server. In fact, he was railing against the sensationalism-obsessed media that ignores bread-and-butter issues affecting normal Americans as well as systemic corruption in politics.

A similar example of unnecessary editing occured this morning on CNN, when host Michaela Periera played clips of the debate that received the biggest reaction on social media. Here is a transcript of the CNN coverage this morning:

PEREIRA: Moving along, the big moment on Facebook, I could have predicted this one. The “damn e-mails” comment from Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont. If you didn’t get a chance to hear it, let me refresh your memory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I think the secretary is right. And that is, that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.
CLINTON: Thank you. Me too! Me too!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREIRA: What’s interesting, many thought that he might have taken advantage of the fact that this was a big opening, but instead he essentially kind of defended her. This moment really, really rang true to a lot of people online.

Again, a cable media outlet failed to show the next sentence uttered by Sanders, when he goes after the media for failing to do its duty in covering major issues of the election.

While many corporate media outlets expressed shock that Sanders would dismiss discussion of Clinton’s private email server, the senator from Vermont has consistently asked reporters all year to discuss substantive policy issues instead of topics such as hair style or horserace-style jabs at his opponents.

To its credit, DemocracyNow covered Sanders’ repeated criticism of the corporate media in its coverage of the debate last night.

As former MSNBC producer Jonathan Larsen noted, CNN’s seemingly endless pre-debate coverage provided “virtually zero issue-prep” by failing to show “issue explainers, conflict previews, history, context, etc.” for its audience.

For instance, the transcript of CNN’s 11:30am pre-debate coverage does not discuss any policy issues. Instead, guest Brett O’Donnell spoke about whether Clinton will “appear real,” anchor John Berman discussed whether Sanders can appear “presidential,” and anchor Kate Boulduan chatted about how “Mitt Romney likes to be around Ann and the kids.”

Bernie Sanders is Not a Radical, He Has Mass Support for Healthcare & Tax Positions

Bernie Sanders is an extremely interesting phenomenon. He’s a decent, honest person… But he’s considered radical and extremist, [and] he’s basically a mainstream New Deal Democrat.” – Noam Chomsky

During an event Tuesday night, Noam Chomsky was asked about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and said he considered him more of a “New Deal Democrat” than a radical extremist, as some have portrayed him.

Chomsky said Sanders’ positions on taxes and healthcare are supported by a majority of the American public, and have been for a long time.

He added that Sanders has “mobilized a large number of young people who are saying, ‘Look, we’re not going to consent anymore.’

If that turns into a continuing, organized, mobilized force, that could change the country—maybe not for this election, but in the longer term.”

Chomsky is a world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than half a century.

He spoke at the Brooklyn Public Library at an event hosted by Live from the NYPL.

The event also featured Greece’s former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis. He discusses his role in the country’s financial crisis in his new book, “And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe’s Crisis and America’s Economic Future.”

Varoufakis will be a guest Thursday on Democracy Now!


TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, Bernie Sanders is an extremely interesting phenomenon. He’s a decent, honest person. That’s pretty unusual in the political system.

Maybe there are two of them in the world, you know. But he’s considered radical and extremist, which is a pretty interesting characterization, because he’s basically a mainstream New Deal Democrat. His positions would not have surprised President Eisenhower, who said, in fact, that anyone who does not accept New Deal programs doesn’t belong in the American political system. That’s now considered very radical.

The other interesting aspect of Sanders’s positions is that they’re quite strongly supported by the general public, and have been for a long time.

That’s true on taxes. It’s true on healthcare.

So, take, say, healthcare. His proposal for a national healthcare system, meaning the kind of system that just about every other developed country has, at half the per capita cost of the United States and comparable or better outcomes, that’s considered very radical.

But it’s been the position of the majority of the American population for a long time. So, you go back, say, to the Reagan—right now, for example, latest polls, about 60 percent of the population favor it. When Obama put through the Affordable Care Act, there was, you recall, a public option. But that was dropped.

It was dropped even though it was supported by about almost two-thirds of the population.

You go back earlier to the Reagan years, about 70 percent of the population thought that national healthcare should be in the Constitution, because it’s such an obvious right.

And, in fact, about 40 percent of the population thought it was in the Constitution, again, because it’s such an obvious right. The same is true on tax policy and others.

So we have this phenomenon where someone is taking positions that would have been considered pretty mainstream during the Eisenhower years, that are supported by a large part, often a considerable majority, of the population, but he’s dismissed as radical and extremist.

That’s an indication of how the spectrum has shifted to the right during the neoliberal period, so far to the right that the contemporary Democrats are pretty much what used to be called moderate Republicans. And the Republicans are just off the spectrum.

They’re not a legitimate parliamentary party anymore. And Sanders has—the significant part of—he has pressed the mainstream Democrats a little bit towards the progressive side.

You see that in Clinton’s statements. But he has mobilized a large number of young people, these young people who are saying, “Look, we’re not going to consent anymore.” And if that turns into a continuing, organized, mobilized—mobilized force, that could change the country—maybe not for this election, but in the longer term.

Susan Sarandon posted 

“Around the rest of the world, Mr. Sanders represents a point on the political spectrum that is mildly left of centre.

His “wacky” ideas of free education, free healthcare, regulating banks and corporations and so on are all actually staple ideas of many of the happiest and most prosperous countries in the world.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the happiest countries in the world index for 2016.”


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Joan Baez opinions on the candidates and the political system

Tonnie Ch shared this link

I’ve had conflicting feelings as to whether or not I should officially endorse Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I would be making this decision for only the second time in my life. The first time was for Barack Obama, the master of the spoken word whose brilliance (and smile) brought people together and ignited our spirits for the first time in decades. Aside from endorsing Barack Obama, I have refused to step into the arena of party politics.

My choice, from an early age, has been to engage in social change from the ground up, using the power of organized nonviolence. A distrust of the political process was firmly in place by the time I was 15. As a daughter of Quakers I pledged my allegiance not to a flag or a nation state but to humankind, the two often having little to do with each other.

Ideally, both Obama and Sanders could have used their unique gifts to build a grass roots movement, sidestepping the Oval Office and going directly to the streets to organize from the sidewalks, street corners, living rooms and churches.

Gandhi himself refused to be part of the newly formed Independent India government after he led the country to independence, and remained committed to nonviolent opposition.

Can a true political revolution ever start from within the party system? It does seem like an insurmountable contradiction. And to imagine that more than a fraction of Bernie’s agenda could ever come to fruition is probably setting expectations too high.

Yet Bernie has won my heart. He supports causes in which I have been personally involved for decades.

I take great strength from his firm stance against the death penalty, (amazing!) his belief that Palestinians should have a place at the bargaining table, (unheard of!) his understanding that the prison system must transform its agenda from punishment to rehabilitation, his desire to treat immigrants as human beings, and of course by his grass roots funding and astonishing refusal to sell himself to the devil on Wall Street, or anywhere else for that matter. I am profoundly moved by this elder statesman, his compelling honesty, and his ability to engage young people.

Why am I not spending my time trying to woo Bernie into grass roots organizing? For the moment I’m going with my heart, which I mentioned, he has won. I am not sold on “the system” and never will be. I’m sold on the guy from Brooklyn.

I’ve learned a lot while writing this piece. I know that I am ambivalent about supporting someone who will be thrown to the lions if he wins. He is a lion in his own right, and I want to see him win.

Not just to conquer the growing evil in the other party, but also to see what he can do to bend the system towards a less corrupt and more generous country than we are at present.

I joyfully and wholeheartedly endorse Bernie Sanders to be the nominee for the Democratic Party in the 2016 Presidential Election.

-Joan Baez

Note 1: Nicolas Sawaya My article “Bernie Sanders’ record on Palestine” has been published at Mondoweiss.

Bernie Sanders is clearly more progressive on the Palestinian issue than any other major candidate for the Presidency including Hillary Clinton.
Still, Nicolas Sawaya says that when viewed from a P…
mondoweiss.net

Note 2: Ralph Nader explained how difficult it is to be an independent candidate.

The two-party system is suffocating independent challengers By Ralph Nader March 25, 2016
Follow RalphNader a consumer advocate and author of “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.” Ralph Nader: Why Bernie Sanders…

The two-party system is suffocating independent challengers

By Ralph Nader March 25, 2016

a consumer advocate and author of “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.”

Ralph Nader: Why Bernie Sanders was right to run as a Democrat

The two-party system suffocates independent challengers.

I would know

During a recent town hall in Columbus, Ohio, Sen. Bernie Sanders said the unthinkable.

At least, you would have thought he did, judging by the response of several Democratic operatives. Sanders was deemed “extremely disgraceful” by Donna Brazile, vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, and “a political calculating fraud” by Brad Woodhouse, a former DNC communications director.

What was his crime?

The old-fashioned Rooseveltian New Dealer had answered a question about why he is running as a Democrat, instead of as an independent, with typical candor: “In terms of media coverage, you had to run within the Democratic Party,” he observed, adding that he couldn’t raise money outside the major two-party process.

As one of the more successful third-party presidential candidates in recent U.S. history, I know firsthand the obstacles Sanders might have faced if he had run as an independent.

The reality is that Sanders is right, and the backlash against him reflects all too well what two-party tyranny can do to a more-than-nominal third-party challenger.

This is especially true of candidates like Sanders, who — despite advancing political views similar to the classic Democratic New Deal platform — now sits well to the left of the party’s corporatist, hawkish establishment.

I chose to run on the Green Party line in the 2000 presidential election with a pretty clear idea of what I was in for. I had run a limited write-in campaign in New Hampshire in 1992 and had accepted the Green nomination in 1996.

My interest in moving politics past the two-party duopoly began long before I first ran for president in 1996. Historically, many major reform movements (abolition, women’s suffrage, labor) have come out of smaller parties that never won national elections, starting with the anti-slavery Liberty Party in 1840.

Several different parties for women’s suffrage followed. Then came parties representing farmers’ struggles against railroads and banks, a movement that peaked in 1892 with the Populist Party.

Labor parties — which fought for fair labor standards, the right to organize and progressive taxation — rose to prominence in the 20th century, along with the Socialist Party of America, formed in 1901.

But when the Communist Party got on the national ballot after World War I, it drew widespread venom, and the two major parties began to raise barriers to ballot access and undertake other efforts to prevent these small parties from competing in elections.

Admiring these reform movements and critical of the Democratic Party’s decay, I knew what it would mean to run as a third-party candidate.

Just appearing on the ballot is a challenge for independent candidates.

While any Democrat or Republican who wins their party’s nomination is guaranteed a place on general-election ballots nationwide, smaller parties must, in many states, petition election officials to be listed.

And that is a delicate process, easy for the major parties to disrupt. Their operatives have a number of tools at their disposal to knock third-party candidates off the ballot, render their campaigns broke, and harass and ostracize them.

In 2004, Democratic operatives were especially zealous in their efforts against my campaign. They hired private investigators to harass my campaign’s petition circulators in their homes in Ohio and Oregon and falsely threatened them with criminal prosecution for fake names that saboteurs had signed on their petitions, according to sworn affidavits from the workers and letters containing threats that were presented in court.

Our petitions were also disqualified on arbitrary grounds: In Ohio, complaints submitted in court and to the office of the Secretary of State by groups of Democratic voters led officials there to invalidate our petitions. They disqualified hundreds of signatures on one list, for instance, because of a discrepancy involving the petition circulator’s signature.

In Oregon, Democratic Secretary of State Bill Bradbury retroactively applied certain rules in a way that suddenly rendered our previously compliant petitions invalid.

Democrats and their allies (some later reimbursed by the DNC, according to both campaign finance reports and a party official in Maine who testified under oath) enlisted more than 90 lawyers from more than 50 law firms to file 29 complaints against my campaign in 18 states and with the Federal Election Commission for the express purpose of using the cost and delay of litigation to drain our resources.

“We wanted to neutralize his campaign by forcing him to spend money and resources defending these things,” operative Toby Moffett told The Washington Post in 2004.

Democrats falsely accused my campaign of fraud in state after state.

In Pennsylvania, they forced us off the ballot after challenging more than 30,000 signatures on spurious technical grounds.

My running mate, Peter Camejo, and I were ordered to pay more than $81,000 in litigation costs the plaintiffs, a group of Democratic voters, said they incurred. In an effort to collect, their law firm, Reed Smith, which the DNC also hired in that cycle, froze my personal accounts at several banks for eight years.

A criminal prosecution by the state attorney general later revealed that Pennsylvania House Democrats had, illegally at taxpayer expense, prepared the complaints against our campaign, and several people were convicted of related felonies.

A federal court in Pennsylvania ultimately struck down the state law used against me that had led to the order that I pay the litigation costs. But Reed Smith was still allowed to keep $34,000 it withdrew from my accounts, because state courts wouldn’t let me present evidence that could have permitted me to recover the money.

With the exception of this handful of felony convictions, most of the partisans who fought to keep me from running got away with it.

Given another chance, I still wouldn’t run as a Democrat; I continue to disagree with the party’s platform and direction. Sanders is different, though: However he’s appeared on Vermont ballots in the past, he’s really a progressive Democrat. He has caucused with the party in Congress for decades, even if its corporatist core has abandoned his New Deal priorities. This is perhaps why he has been able to make it so remarkably far.

But as the backlash against his Ohio comments demonstrates, the party’s patience with Sanders is wearing thin.

With today’s dominant Democrats favoring hawkish foreign policy and the entitlements of Wall Street, Sanders is seen as a Trojan horse. Cries of “get out,” already sounding in some Democratic quarters, will become increasingly fervid, notwithstanding Sanders’s years of support for Democratic causes and his pledge to endorse the Party’s eventual nominee.

By running as a Democrat, Sanders declined to become a complete political masochist, and he avoided exposing his campaign to immediate annihilation by partisan hacks. Because if he had run as an independent, he would have faced only one question daily in the media, as I did: “Do you see yourself as a spoiler?”

The implication being, of course, that he had no chance of winning. His popular agenda would have been totally ignored by a horse-race-obsessed mass media, which would have latched on instead to a narrative in which Sanders was unfairly hurting Hillary Clinton’s chances against whichever Republican wound up with the other major-party nomination, as if any Democrat is automatically entitled to the votes of progressives.

Knowing that this is the fate of most independent candidates, as he put it simply in Ohio, Sanders made the right choice to campaign as a Democrat. Should he win the nomination, he will have no ballot-access obstacles to overcome in the fall.

He gets to participate in televised primary debates, widely covered and commented on by the mainstream media. His scandal-free record and appealing message have resonated among younger Democratic and independent voters who are the future of progressive politics.

A loyal base that believes he has a viable chance to win has allowed him to smash through the ritual of catering to fat-cat donors and super PACs to amass a highly credible campaign treasury.

Collecting nearly $150 million so far at an average donation of $27 is already a historic breakthrough for future honest candidates to emulate. In the longer run, proving that outsiders to cash-register politics can compete in the same manner may be one of the two most important legacies of the Sanders campaign.

The other is that Sanders has demonstrated the relative weakness of the corporate Democrats and their major loss of trust among the people, especially the young.

“It’s sad and ironic how undemocratic the party has become,” says Bill Curry, a former White House counselor on domestic policy to President Bill Clinton and now a writer for Salon. He compares the party to “a closely held PAC used mostly to advance the careers of political insiders and the interests of corporate donors.”

I believe that should Clinton overcome Sanders and claim the Democratic nomination, the party will continue to be the champion of war and Wall Street, little changed by the primary competition.

But perhaps after the comparative success of Sanders’s campaign, this state of affairs will invigorate more courageous candidates to follow his lead in challenging establishment, commercialized politics.


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