Apparently, in politics, you can never make everyone happy.
Bernie Sanders has all the traditional marks of a socialist. He’s very handsy with other people’s money, he lacks a basic understanding of both economics and combs, and he calls himself a socialist. He’s not trying to hide that he’s actively supportive of wealth redistribution, extensive government safety nets, welfare agreements, free college tuition, free housing, free jobs and free love (and, free religion and free guns, but that’s usually where liberal coverage stops). Unfortunately for one sad socialist, though, writing at POLITICO, Bernie just isn’t perfect.
He is, to wit, a SINO.
I can’t help but respect those who see support for Sanders as a strategic move for the far left, and who can engage with his campaign without the kind of emotional investment I’ve always fallen prey to. Socialists enthusiastic about Sanders emphasize that he and his campaign are clearly of more relevance to contemporary socialist politics than any major presidential run in recent history. “Sanders is moving the discussion to the left, and mobilizing an absurdly high number of people,” says socialist Bhaskar Sunkara, the editor and publisher of the explicitly Marxist-socialist Jacobin magazine, in an interview. “I want to take the risk of reaching out to all these people comfortable with supporting a self-described socialist candidate.” Sunkara sat on a panel at Socialism 2015 focused on the Sanders campaign and its relationship with the socialist left.
Ashley Smith, a board member of the International Socialist Review who also sat on the Sanders panel, has criticized Sanders not only for his generally conventional policy preferences but also for the likely political outcome of his campaign. “Sanders refused to consider an independent presidential campaign not because he had little chance of winning, but because he didn’t want to compete for votes with the Democrats’ eventual nominee,” Smith wrote in an article for the Socialist Worker, pointing out that insurgent Democratic campaigns frequently end up merely corralling critics of mainstream Democratic politicians into support for the eventual mainstream candidate. As Smith writes, “by steering liberal and left supporters into a Democratic Party whose policies and politics he claims to disagree with, Sanders—no matter how critical he might be of Hillary Clinton—is acting as the opposite of an ‘alternative.’”
Turns out, the left has its purists, too, I guess.
Ultimately, the writer is just suspicious of Sanders, and the Democratic party in general, under the presumption that Sanders’ candidacy isn’t obviously viable (not sure that was a stretch), meaning that Sanders is serving mostly as a “sheepdog” to keep far leftists in line with the Democratic party instead of wandering off to support true communists. Ultimately, this hurts true communists, because they don’t have that many supporters to begin with, and helps the Democratic party, who keep trying to hoodwink leftists into believing most politics isn’t done in the middle.
His biggest concern is, of course, that the party will just end up nominating Clinton. Can’t say I blame him for that.
While nothing will likely come of this little temper tantrum, it’s at least nice to know everyone around the political world occasionally sniffs out the stench of betrayal.