By Wornie Reed, Ph.D
There is a campaign against liberals and progressives in national politics these days, and I am not referring to the natural campaign by the Right and Republicans. Instead, I am referring to the opposition of persons in the Middle and the Democratic party.
It started against Bernie Sanders in the presidential campaign in 2016. Opposition from corporate America was expected; however, some of it came from Democrats.
In the Democratic primaries in 2016, Sanders was consistently the best choice to defeat Trump. In May of that year, Hillary Clinton led Bernie Sanders nationally by 12 percentage points in the polls, but in a hypothetical match-up against Donald Trump, Sanders did much better than Clinton. Sanders was the favorite over Trump by 13 points. Clinton was also favored to beat Trump, but that race was decidedly closer — 49 percent to 44 percent. Yet, there was strong opposition to Sanders, saying he was not electable, as he was too far left and would be too divisive in pushing programs against the mainstream, and so on. Sanders argued that the corporate media pushed much of this opposition.
The campaign against Sanders resumed this year. Last spring, a story in the New York Times reported that some members of the Democratic establishment, worried about a divided 2020 primary, were beginning to ask how to thwart Senator Sanders.
The argument that Sanders holds extreme positions that are out of the mainstream does not hold water. Polls consistently show widespread support for Sanders’ agenda. Two years ago, Peter Dreier in The American Prospect magazine followed the results of various surveys and showed that to be the case.
Here are some examples:
- On Health Care.
- 60 percent of Americans believe it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage.
- 60 percent of registered voters favor expanding Medicare to provide health insurance to every American.
- On Taxes.
- 78 percent of Americans think some wealthy people don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
- 80 percent believe some corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
- 87 percent say it is critical to preserve Social Security, even if it means increasing Social Security taxes paid by wealthy Americans.
- On Gun Safety
- 84 percent of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buyers.
- 77 percent of gun owners support requiring background checks for all gun buyers.
- On Race and Criminal Justice
- 84 percent of Americans believe police officers generally treat blacks and other minorities differently than they treat whites.
- 60 percent of Americans think the recent killings of black men by police are part of a broader pattern of how police treat black Americans.
- On Abortion
- 58 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
- On Education
- 63 percent of registered voters—including 47 percent of Republicans—favor making four-year public colleges and universities tuition-free.
- 59 percent of Americans approve of free early-childhood education.
- On Unions
- 61 percent of Americans—including 42 percent of Republicans—approve of labor unions.
Responding to the criticism of him being a Democratic Socialist with the emphasis on “Socialist,” Sanders quotes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., about “socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.” Sanders argues that the rich welcome government when it benefits them, but not when it helps working people.
Elizabeth Warren holds many of the same positions as Sanders, and she has documented how they would be implemented. So recently, when she rose in the polls, they came after her.
According to Julie Hollar in AlterNet, “establishment Democrats and their big donors are suddenly looking at Warren’s rising poll numbers as a sign that her candidacy has very real potential — and is a very real threat to their power.”
It appears that just as Hilary Clinton was to be the savior for this corporate hold on America in 2016, Biden was to fill that role in 2020. However, with Biden appearing to slip, something had to be done, so other candidates emerged in the crowded field.
My question is this: If Sanders and Warren represent the positions of the people, who do these other candidates represent?