Presidential Candidates: Archie Bunker, Head versus Heart

Editorial by Rona Fried

With the Iowa caucuses upon us, I’d like to share some quotes and images that hit home for me, and they may for you as well.

I strongly support Bernie Sanders, but you don’t have to in order to read this.

While he will be roundly attacked for bringing back "big, bad government," the fact is Bernie will help us return to a time when government was viewed as playing a vital role in democracy – one that cares for its people and environment and one that provides checks and balances against corporate greed.

In comparing Sanders to Clinton, Bill McKibben says: "A leader is someone who figures out where the future is going, not someone who joins the party once it’s underway." He’s referring to Sanders’s votes against Iraq, the Keystone Pipeline and trade agreements. Clinton voted to invade Iraq, and as Secretary of State, the agency basically approved Keystone and promoted GMO agriculture around the world. She was fine with trade agreements until recently.

In comparing Trump to Sanders, the "media often blurs distinctions between right-wing populism and progressive populism – as though there’s not all that much difference between appealing to xenophobia and racism on the one hand and appealing for social justice and humanistic solidarity on the other," says Norman Solomon, founding director of Institute for Public Accuracy. "Donald Trump is to Bernie Sanders as Archie Bunker is to Jon Stewart."

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, says: "In my view, Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have. Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have.

Reich says he keeps bumping into people who are choosing between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. They see both candidates as potentially giving them what they want:

  • an end to "crony capitalism" and "corporate welfare" (ie Wall Street bailout) and being ripped off by drug companies and health insurers.
  • End trade agreements that sell out American workers (and the environment) and create fair ones instead.
  • Get big money out of politics

The choice is how Trump and Sanders would achieve these goals, says Reich: through a dictator who promises to bring power back to the people, or a movement leader who asks us to join together to bring power back to the people.

This week, Senator Sanders joined Ed Markey (D-MA) to block the nominee for Food and Drug Administration Commissioner. Why? Because he has close ties to the pharmaceutical industry and lacks commitment to lower drug prices.

Read Reich’s blog post and Six Responses to Bernie Skeptics.

The real choice between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders isn’t "pragmatism" versus "idealism," says Reich. It’s either allowing trends toward inequality to worsen, or reversing them. Inequality has reached levels last seen in the era of the "robber barons" in the 1890s. The only truly pragmatic way of reversing this state of affairs is through a "political revolution" that mobilizes millions of Americans.

Read our article, Oxfam Illuminates Income Inequality.

Read, Bernie Sanders is the Realist We Should Elect, by Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of Nation Magazine.

Promoting Renewable Energy

Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate is on the ground in Iowa with billboards, and ads on radio, TV and the Internet, calling out Republicans for their complete lack of support for renewable energy. In Iowa, that means wind energy, which currently provides 30% of electricity and 6000 jobs.

"Republican candidates’ would squander an opportunity to grow Iowa’s economy by $1.7 billion by 2030 and put thousands of wind jobs at risk. By refusing to embrace clean energy, Republican candidates are at odds with Iowans and disqualify themselves from the White House," says Tom Steyer.

Over 30,000 Iowans have committed to caucus for clean energy on Monday, says Steyer.

You can see and hear the ads here.

Elections Ad

The back says: It’s time for GOP candidates to wake up.

Elections Ad1

Many people who support Trump say the US needs a businessman, not a politician. We can see the results of that in Flint, Michigan. We can see it when coal companies fight laws that protect workers from black lung. And we can see it in countless other situations where people and the environment have been hurt by corporate’s tunnel vision on profit-making.

Republicans want government to fail so they can prove its incompetency compared to the sacred private sector. "They want government to fail so they can justify crushing it, eliminating much of what it does for people and turning over the rest to private business, which profits by cutting corners," says Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers union.

Yet, when they get in trouble, "it’s amazing how quick those Republicans put their hands out for a federal bailout," Gerard says. They didn’t want to pay for the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, but when a tornado hits their town, they look to the feds for help, just like Snyder is doing in Michigan. One day, they will have succeeded in cutting government so much that the help simply won’t be there.

"For Bernie, the key is rallying and organizing workaday people to reject the plutocratic corporate order. He comes straight out of America’s historic continuum of progressive boat-rockers: the pamphleteers, abolitionists, suffragists, Populists, unionists, Progressives, New Dealers, anti-war protesters, along with marchers for women’s equality, gay rights, the environment and the civil rights movement," says Jim Hightower.

This chart is taken from Michael Moore’s endorsement of Bernie, where he points out all the times the "unelectable" candidate won:

Election 2016

Watch this great Ad from Friends of the Earth Action Fund, which endorsed Bernie:

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