Sen. Bernie Sanders, the only self-confessed socialist in the United States Senate, is not coy about what his agenda is, unlike Hillary Clinton, who is all coyness. Indeed, whereas the former secretary of state is running on the basis of who she is, the current senator from the state of Vermont is running on what he wants to do. According to a Tuesday story in the Washington Examiner, what he wants to do is breathtaking. If a voter imagined that Ms. Clinton or President Obama were insufficiently leftist, then he or she will not possibly imagine the same thing about the venerable Sanders.
“Sanders laid out a sweeping, almost unimaginably expensive program to transfer wealth from the richest Americans to the poor and middle class. A $1 trillion public works program to create ‘13 million good-paying jobs.’ A $15-an-hour federal minimum wage. ‘Pay equity’ for women. Paid sick leave and vacation for everyone. Higher taxes on the wealthy. Free tuition at all public colleges and universities. A Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system. Expanded Social Security benefits. Universal pre-K.
“Sanders wants all that, plus the breakup of big Wall Street banks, defeat for trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, repeal of the Citizens United decision, public funding for all campaigns, a carbon tax and more subsidized green energy — all while staying out of ‘endless, perpetual war in the Middle East.’”
Least one think that Sanders is on the fringe of modern Democratic politics, the New York Times reported how he laid out this agenda before an adoring crowd of several thousand. None of what he said has not been advocated at one point by some progressive, even his unique approach to “repeal and replace” Obamacare that many conservatives crave though not in the same way. Sanders was bold enough to lay it all out in a single agenda.
Of course, there is plenty to be offended about Sanders, even if one agrees with his zeal to turn the United States into Sweden. For one thing, there is little if anything to appeal to inner-city African Americans irate at being mishandled by the police, Vermont is the whitest state of the Union and Sanders, the whitest candidate. Also, curiously, Sanders has come out against deodorant. His idea that it is a sin that there are so many varieties of deodorant while children are starving is the sort of slam that progressives usually reserve for the space program. It was too much, even for the Washington Post.
The betting among pundits is that Hillary Clinton will swat Sanders away like a mosquito. That is likely the case though the same was said about Edmund Muskie and George McGovern, a man with whom Sanders has a more than passing resemblance politically, in 1972. History records how that turned out.