What should Bernie-ites do?

I want Bernie to consolidate with Warren and the other progressives and take the nomination. If not, I want my vote to be meaningful.

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Yes, Bernie is locked in a fierce battle with Biden and the DNC. Will he win? I look at where we are in the search for delegates to the Milwaukee nomination convention, I look at the polls, and I wonder. Biden is soaring because the media is beating his drum. Bernie needs to take the nomination on the first ballot or else the super delegates and the DNC will screw him as they did in 2016. I’m not giving up, but we all should be thinking about our options.

Do we “Vote Blue, No Matter Who”? I’m really not for that. I want Bernie to consolidate with Warren and the other progressives and take the nomination. If not, I want my vote to be meaningful.

In 2016, I was voting in California. In the general election, I certainly wasn’t going to vote for Trump. My choices were to vote for Hillary, write in Bernie’s name, or vote Green. Hillary was going to take California for sure, so I voted Green as a protest.

In 2020 there’s a new option, particularly for those of us who vote in California or some other state which is assured of a Democratic win. It’s called Movement for a People’s Party, and it’s basically a party that supports Bernie’s platform. But instead of calling it a socialist movement, it calls for a movement that will enact FDR’s vision of America. “Polls show that the large majority of Americans are progressive and almost two out of three Americans are now calling for a major new party. The number is even greater among young people and poor people.” The MPP wants the Bernie platform.  “We want what regular people take for granted in so many other countries: single payer health care, free public college, money out of politics, an infrastructure jobs program, a $15 minimum wage, financial regulations, and more. We deserve these good things. If other countries can deliver these things, we know the richest nation on earth can too.” MPP divorces itself from the mistake of calling itself socialist and focuses on its program. “In 1944, FDR proposed an Economic Bill of Rights guaranteeing employment, food, clothing, leisure, a living wage, housing, health care, social security, education and freedom from corporate control. It’s the end of the age of oil.We’ve begun the renewable, digital age. We can and must bring a new system to life that delivers Roosevelt’s vision.”

I’m in favor of most things socialist. But I understand that it’s difficult to sell socialism to many Americans. Instead, labeling the MPP program a continuation of Roosevelt’s vision for America seems more patriotic without shooting yourself in the foot.

The real question is whether we can “bring a new system to life that delivers Roosevelt’s vision” in the context of a capitalist system that controls our political system. I think it would be very difficult, because we would need to tax the rich substantially and heavily regulate the interrelationship between those who have money and the politicians. But if that could be done, we could maintain a system which encourages risk taking and invention (about the only things that are good about capitalism) while at the same time having the social safety net that other countries still enjoy.

Take a look at Mike Bloomberg. He exemplifies what is good and bad about our system. He started out with relatively little, but he was able to earn wealth of $68 billion. But he uses that money to try to control our political system, which is very bad. We really have to do something about the rot which money causes in our political system. Unfortunately, the Citizens United doctrine that “money is speech” means that wealth can be used for all sorts of advertising. It’s not supposed to be used to bribe politicians, but if a politician wants money for a “public purpose” (thereby helping in his re-election), and a wealthy person “donates” the necessary money for that “public purpose,” it’s perfectly legal. Of course, the politician has been indirectly bribed, hasn’t he?

Frankly, I think that when someone has $68 billion under his control, the government should take virtually all of it away, except the amount needed to operate the business. In return, the government should let that person have a million or two each year to fool around with. But the billionaire should not be permitted to buy non-business property anywhere he wants.  Nor should he have outrageous yachts, collections of automobiles, tons of jewelry, and the like. What the government should do is let him select a token of honor since, after all, he should be made famous. Maybe he would like to have a documentary made about his life, or a musical comedy based on his life. Maybe he’d want his portrait done by a famous artist. Or a parade in his honor. But if he has a brilliant idea for a new product or an improvement in the landscape, why shouldn’t he be allowed to do it?

I like MPP. I’d like to have a say in the overall program. I’ve signed up and volunteered. I’m going to send this article to them. We’ll what comes of it. Meanwhile, it’s clear that MPP is too new to have a candidate in the 2020 presidential election. So maybe I’ll vote Green again and then start on the MPP. I sure hope that the Bernie-ites stick together and get a strong third party together for 2024.

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