Bye Bye Bernie, Bernie Goodbye. The Bay City Rollers might as well be farewelling Bernie Sanders at this point, with the latest election results in just this Tuesday. After losing Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois to Hillary Clinton this week, he’s now three times further behind Clinton than she was behind Obama in 2008.
Things were looking good for Bernie after a win with America’s white and nerdy in Michigan, but his early losses in the ‘Deep South’ have made it hard to catch up with Hillary’s overwhelming lead. While feeling the “Bern” is theoretically still possible, at this point it’s looking like the Colonel Sanders lookalike will be dropping out in a month. Let’s take a look at his journey so far and hope against all hopes that he becomes Hillary’s VP (however unlikely that seems). Like saying goodbye to JoJo in The Bachelor, we must curse America (or Ben Higgins) for making the wrong choice for the future.
Bernie was Vermont’s only independent Senator for 25 years before deciding to run for leader of the free world. He was trying to bring down the 1% before it was even a thing, and was actually present as a young man at Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. In 1976 while running for Governor of Vermont he was already campaigning for LGBTQ rights, healthcare for all and higher taxes for corporations. More recently he voted against the Iraq war, called America’s anti-terrorism Patriot Act “Orwellian”, and opposed the legislation that led to the recession in 2008.In short, it kind of makes sense that the young progressives of Oregon are showing up in hordes to his rallies and decorating their car bumpers with his perennially-grumpy face.
Idealistic as he may be, Bernie’s also practical. With a personal wealth of US$300,000 (Hillary’s is over 100 times that), he’s managed to crowd fund his way to a place in the millenial’s heart, leapfrogging off the Democrats to bring messages of anti-warfare and migratory inclusion to his campaign. However, many have legitimate fears that his stances are too firm and his appeal not broad enough to compete with Trump on a national scale should he become the Democratic candidate for president. His self-described “socialist” views have a place, but they aren’t resonating with America’s women or black voters.
Strange as it seems, it’s not unusual for independent politicians or even non-politicians to wave a party banner in an attempt to gain a bigger following in America. In the complete opposite to the Australian way, a candidate can call themselves a Democrat or a Republican, parade their values to the people and if they’re popular, hijack the party’s way of thinking.
Bernie through his popularity as an independent-cum-Democrat, much to the party’s chagrin, has impacted Hillary’s policies. Clinton, democratic through and through, isn’t insulated against the fickle love of the American people. Trying to win back some of Bernie’s more inspired supporters she’s even changed her tune on trade agreements relevant to the working class in America’s Mid-West.
(Over at the Republican party, they for the most part hate Trump, and are scrambling to come up with a candidate more their own that can compete with the mass public appeal of the man who invented Trump Steaks.)
Bernie’s optimism hasn’t been for naught. Hillary’s policies have been leaning further and further left the more popular the Vermont Senator has become. Bernie, no doubt happy Hillary’s coming around to his way of thinking, is expected to drop out in a month or so. But in four years time, who knows? America may not be headed for the socialist paradise that it could have been, and at least for now free college will have to wait. Instead we say, shedding a single tear for his messy white hair, bye bye, Bernie. Bernie, goodbye.