2016 is a year of anti-establishment. With the primary party nominations four months away, many voters are showing a distrust of Bush and Clinton, middle of the road politicians who represent through their policies and last names an era of American politics that the populace is walking away from en masse.
In one direction, the malcontent voters follow Donald Trump, who taps the unfiltered anger and bigoted nationalism under America’s surface. To the other, Bernie Sanders has attracted a following which is repulsed by the control of money over the nation, a voting populace which demands egalitarianism and humanitarianism be virtues of the most powerful country.
To this end, Sanders’ campaign is unprecedented in recent history for refusing to partake in the donating power of super PACs commonly associated with Citizens United’s declaration that money is speech. The socialist senator from Vermont is instead entirely relying on traditional donations, capped at $2,700. The majority, 76%, of these donations are considered small dollar donors, capped at $200, who have flocked to Sanders and his free-range hair at a pace which has broken all records, including Obama’s previously record breaking campaign in 2008.
Compare this to a Republican field where 130 or so families and their businesses provided over half the campaign dollars. Senator Ted Cruz was provided most of his $37 million by three families.
This is the political modus operandi of Sanders. An idealist who surely acknowledges that the majority of America does not fully support his branch of democratic socialism, he has presented American tailored ideals based on the precept of social responsibility and equality of economic opportunity.
In a country which has struggled with McCarthyism, it’s amazing to imagine the majority looking past its antiquated, propaganda filtered concept of what socialism is to consider a man who espouses it. But perhaps the populace has realized that any commentator describing one ideal as ‘evil’ and another as ‘good,’ supported by cherry picked analogies of countries more authoritarian than socialist, are full of their own.
Sanders’ socialism looks like single-payer health care, massive public infrastructure projects, and a progressive tax that will no longer favor the extremely wealthy.
Socialism is a fluid theory of economics and not governance, and the degree to which it extends depends on, in this case, the man running and his policies. With a track record for political integrity documented by the New York Times, a voter can have some confidence that Bernie has not played the seemingly unprecedented role of an honest politician for the last 60 years simply to bamboozle voters after all this time with Maoism.
Sanders’ politics were molded by a half-century of experience, in which ideals were compromised for pragmatism. But this politician’s ideals, inspired by Nordic countries who do not measure their growth by GDP but by happiness indexes, shine through in all he does.