In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s shock victory over Hillary Clinton, many people are wondering how it could have been avoided. A common explanation I’ve seen a lot on social media, is that if only the Democrats had chosen Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump certainly would have been defeated. Only Sanders had the principles and honesty to mobilise and enthuse people to counter Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric. Some even go further claiming that the DNC rigged or even stole the election from Sanders. Continue reading “Would Bernie Sanders Have Won?”
(I’ve considered deleting this post as it’s based on the presumption that Hillary Clinton would win the election, which was sadly wrong. However, I stand by everything I write even when I’m wrong, so I’m going to leave this up as a monument to hubris and a historical reminder of how people viewed the 2016 campaign at the time.)
Whenever people look back on elections, particularly Presidential elections, they always use a simple narrative to explain it. The 1964 and 1972 elections used the narrative that if you nominate an extremist, you’ll lose in a landslide. 2004 was about fear and the War on Terror, whereas 2008 was about hope and change. So what will be the narrative of 2016?
It’s not easy being part of a third party in America, the electoral system strongly discourages more than two parties, so most people don’t even know that there are other parties let alone their polices. In 2012, the Libertarian nominee for President, Gary Johnson, got 1% of the vote and considered this a success. Yet there is talk that this year could be different, that the polls indicate this time the Libertarians will have a breakout success. While Johnson obviously won’t win, perhaps this year the Libertarians will gain national significance and even swing the election. Continue reading “Could Gary Johnson Be Relevant in 2016?”
A common criticism of Bernie Sanders is that he is unelectable. Many fear that if he is chosen as the party nominee, then the Democrats will suffer a heavy defeat in the general election. Comparisons are made with 1972 when George McGovern suffered one of the worst defeats in Electoral College history, winning only the state of Massachusetts. It is often said that this was because he was too liberal and too far from the middle ground. The landslide defeat of Walter Mondale in 1984 is explained in a similar way, if you go too far from the middle ground you are out of touch with the voters. On the Republican side, the 1964 defeat of Barry Goldwater is also portrayed as the dangers of extremism. Elections are won in the centre, it is said. Continue reading “Is Sanders A McGovern Or A Reagan?”
America has a serious problem with inequality. The gap between the rich and the poor is one of the widest among developed nations and has reached levels last seen in the Roaring Twenties before the Great Crash. Although the productivity and wealth of the nation have grown rapidly, the wages of ordinary workers have stagnated. Average wages have remained more or less the same for forty years. While wealth becomes increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, more and more people fall into poverty. Unions have had their strength drained from them and adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is lower than it was fifty years ago. To be successful in America nowadays has less to do with your skill and abilities and more to do with where you were born and how rich your parents were. Continue reading “Why I Will Vote For Bernie Sanders”
It seems that journalists feel it’s mandatory every time they discuss either Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn to declare that they can’t win a general election. According to them, there is a simple rule of politics and those who stray from it are doomed to defeat. It is almost a motto that “Elections are won in the centre”. This piece of perceived wisdom is repeated constantly to the point that a great many believe it without even thinking about it. It seems obvious that elections can only be won by avoiding divisive principles and instead only proposing watered down moderate proposals. To listen to political analysts, it would seem that you could have principles or power, but not both. Continue reading “Elections Are Not Won In The Centre”