After Bernie Sanders Loses Nomination Fight
Here we are again, poised to sacrifice the gains of the past on the altar of ideological purity. Passion is great, kids, but what if Bernie doesn’t have the horses to get the nomination? Do you quit after he stumbles because what’s left — Hillary, presumably — doesn’t rise to your standards?
Here’s a warning about what your idealism will get you: another “I got mine” Republican administration that will affect you (and everyone around you) not just for four or eight years. You’ll be feeling the burn for the entire lifespan of whatever retrograde hanging judge President “The Donald” proclaims “The Greatest Supreme Court Nominee EVER!” And with the potential for four (maybe five) open Supreme Court seats, the possible rollbacks — if you stop to think about actual consequences — are heart-stopping.
Try this political brainteaser: Which 2016 Republican presidential hopeful — labor-bashing Ohio governor John Kasich or Fundamentalist darling senator Ted Cruz — said, “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate farmers, liquidate real estate…it will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life”?
Actually, it was Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, advising Republican president Herbert Hoover on how to deal with the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent onslaught of the Great Depression. Even as Democratic presidents have put into place a succession of reforms since the early 1930s — Social Security and the forty-hour workweek under Franklin Roosevelt, Medicare and Medicaid under Lyndon Johnson, family and medical leave under Bill Clinton, affordable health care under President Obama — the Republican solution has remained much the same: Liquidate ’em all and let God sort ’em out. Where do you think a couple more presidential terms of that will leave us?
Let’s go to the (crackly, pre-digital) tape: In 1968, President Johnson, despite his shepherding of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts through Congress, was reviled by the left because of the war in Vietnam. His vice president, Hubert H. Humphrey, a longtime champion of worker and minority rights, was running for president, but a large contingent of the formidable youth vote that year wore “Dump the Hump” buttons because of his association with LBJ’s war policies. Speaking before the House Un-American Activities Committee in December 1968, Tom Hayden, one of the founders of the radical activist group Students for a Democratic Society, told the congressmen, “I think that the election of Richard Nixon, in a sense, shows that the country will continue to run down until people decide to straighten it out. You know, it doesn’t really matter to me whether Hubert Humphrey or Richard Nixon is president of the United States.”