Vote for Sanders But Don’t Rule Out Compromise


As a general thing, the most common use for a Sacagawea dollar is to decide whether Bernie Sanders or Ben & Jerry’s is the most important thing to come out of Vermont since maple syrup. Sen. Sanders is exciting. At the age of 73 he may be the most youthful candidate from either party, and he combines the candor of Donald Trump with positions that are intelligent and well considered. He has proposed a 12-step program that few progressives would question except, perhaps, the order of the entries:

Agenda for America

12 Steps Forward

• Rebuilding Our Crumbling Infrastructure

• Reversing Climate Change

• Creating Worker Co-ops

• Growing the Trade Union Movement

• Raising the Minimum Wage

• Pay Equity for Women Workers

• Trade Policies that Benefit American Workers

• Making College Affordable for All

• Taking on Wall Street

• Health Care as a Right for All

• Protecting the Most Vulnerable Americans

• Real Tax Reform

The list contains essential steps for saving the planet, the nation, and the American ideal. He has been traveling the country, drawing huge crowds, and evidently enjoying himself. He has perhaps the greatest appeal to the millennials, the inheritors of those who once chanted “yes we can”, and if it turned out that we couldn’t, as long as hope springs eternal, some day we actually may.

But the great man may be underestimating his followers. On Aug. 29, the New York Times reported that Sen. Sanders has warned the party leaders that unless he wins the nomination for President, his followers, Bernie’s (which is larger, a battalion or a brigade?) will be peevish enough to vote for a Republican. In this, he’s ignoring one of the identifying traits of liberals and progressives, a willingness to compromise. Republicans stick to their guns, both literally and figuratively. When Yougov polled Americans whether they would prefer a representative who “compromises to get things done” or one who “sticks to their principles no matter what.” Democrats and independents, by wide margins, chose compromise. Republicans, albeit by a small majority, will stand their ground.

Many liberals would be happiest if Sen. Sanders gets the nomination, but this year, the gulf between the two parties is so severe that the rational thing to do, unless the Dems nominate Vlad the Impaler, is vote a straight party line. Any Democrat — Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton. Martin O’Malley. Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb – would try to curb greenhouse gases. No Republican would. A Republican President would work to repeal Obamacare and privatize Social Security. No Democrat would. Democrats favor a progressive tax system, Republicans have made the federal tax system more regressive and are still trying to repeal the inheritance tax as well as rename it. After the shooting of two television employees in Roanoke, Va., Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley called for tighter gun controls. The Republicans assured everyone that they were praying.

Republicans would make contraceptives more difficult to get, and abortions impossible – Democrats favor access to family planning services and would support Planned Parenthood. Republicans support a Balanced Budget Amendment that would, in times of financial hardship, make it impossible to stimulate the economy and choke the ability of the government to help the poor and unemployed. Democrats understand Keynesian economics.

That’s the nature of our two-party system today. As many candidates as there are on either side, there’s a high degree of uniformity between the candidates, and any Democrat would approve of Sen. Sanders’ 12-step plan as a legitimate priority list for the next eight years.

A lot of progressives might prefer Sen. Sanders as the nominee for President, but by nature we can compromise, and vote for his program even if we can’t have him in person. As Prof. Krugman wrote “One thing is for sure: American voters will be getting a real choice. May the best party win.”

Sam Uretsky is a writer and pharmacist living on Long Island, N.Y. Email

From The Progressive Populist, October 1, 2015

Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2015 The Progressive Populist

PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652