Thursday, November 02, 2006

Senator Sanders

My favorite American politician, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, has gone transatlantic as The Guardian newspaper today reports in glowing terms about his upcoming victory in the senatorial campaign. Let's face it - how could a democratic socialist fail when he's facing someone called "Rich"?
Bernie Sanders is so far ahead in the contest for Vermont's vacant seat for the US Senate that it seems only sudden illness or accident could derail his rendezvous with destiny, after eight terms as the state's only congressman. His success flies in the face of all the conventional wisdom about American politics.

..."I tried to make the government work for working people, and not just for corporations, and on that basis I was elected to Congress," Mr Sanders said. He has served 16 years in the House of Representatives, a lonely voice since the Republican takeover in 1994. He has however struck some interesting cross-party deals, siding with libertarian Republicans to oppose a clause in the Patriot Act which allowed the FBI to find out what books Americans borrowed from libraries.

He says his consistent electoral success reflects the widespread discontent with rising inequality, deepening poverty and dwindling access to affordable healthcare in the US. "People realise there is a lot to be learned from the democratic socialist models in northern Europe," Mr Sanders said. "The untold story here is the degree to which the middle class is shrinking and the gap between rich and poor is widening. It is a disgrace that the US has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any industrialised country on earth. Iraq is important, but it's not the only issue."
I keep telling readers I'm not any kind of "big D" Democrat. If you want to know where I stand, in American terms, then look no further than David Sirota described the Vermont race as the most important in these elections, because:
This is not a man who is independent in the “between Democrats and Republicans” way - this is one of the most committed progressives ever to hold federal office, a man who is an independent because he has long believed the current political system is bought by Big Money. Make no mistake about it - the GOP and its Big Business backers are going to do everything they can to try to knock off Sanders. They have already recruited a multi-millionaire corporate executive who has pledged to spend $5 million of his own money to try to buy the election. And Sanders faces special challenges because he refuses to accept corporate PAC money. That’s why you should join me in heading over to his website and making a donation. No matter how small, it is important - Sanders has always relied on small contributions from ordinary people to fund his campaigns.

For far too long, the U.S. Senate has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corporate America, taking orders from Big Business and conservative interest groups. Electing someone like Sanders to the Senate would finally give The Rest of Us a voice in an insitution we have been locked out of. That’s why Vermont’s Senate race is the most important election of 2006: because it goes beyond the short-term partisan makeup of Congress, and finally gives us a chance to power someone who fights for real people into the most exclusive, elitist-dominated, and important institutions in America.
Sanders proves, empirically, that the people can take back their government from the cycle of corporate funding, lobbyists and corruption which has sunk so much of it in the mire and created the spectacle of two parties funding pork with all their might. I'd love to see Sanders have a tilt at the Presidency one day - I think he could shock a lot of people.

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