In 1992, Bill Clinton ushered in the era of the New Democrat. We were told that traditional Democrats couldn’t be elected, that candidates had to run as “centrists” to win.
It soon became clear that “centrist” meant “corporate,” as Clinton and the New Democrats brought us NAFTA, the gutting of Glass Steagall, the Telecommunications Act, welfare reform and a slew of other policies most Democrats (and most Americans) oppose.
The New Democrats have dominated the Democratic Party for two-and-a-half decades. Meanwhile, the rich grow richer, the poor and middle class struggle more and more, and the vast majority of Americans believe our politicians and government have failed them.
Well, I say, “Take heart!” We are on the cusp of a transformation of historic significance. At the Iowa Caucuses on Monday, if Iowa Democrats set the tone for the nation and choose Bernie Sanders as their nominee for President, the era of the New Democrats will be over.
What will take it’s place? A new era that puts human need above corporate greed. An era in which people power again prevails over corporate power. An era that future generations will say resembled the progressive populism and forward thinking of the FDR years.
Barrack Obama asked us to believe in hope and change. Bernie Sanders asks us to be part of a revolution – a peaceful, non-violent revolution that moves America away from government by the billionaires and for the billionaires, toward a government we can again be proud of.
In your heart, you know we need such a revolution. And in your heart, you know Hillary Clinton is not going to lead it. She is too tied to Wall Street and corporate money. Beyond this, she is wrong on many of the key issues (Glass-Steagall, livable wage, the Patriot Act, single-payer healthcare) and slow to come on board others (Keystone pipeline, Iraq War, Trans Pacific Partnership).
When I first ran for the Iowa House in 1992, I refused large donations from individuals and money from PACs. As a lawmaker over the next 14 years, and as a candidate for Iowa Governor and US Congress, I maintained my refusal to accept PAC money and large donations. Without a doubt, that was the best political decision I ever made, as it provided me the independence to represent my constituents first and foremost, to the best of my ability.
In the realm of money in politics, Sanders and I are fellow travelers. The fact that Sanders operates with the highest scruples in how he finances his campaign assures us that he hasn’t been and won’t be swayed by Wall Street or big money.
And the fact that his average donation is just over $30 from over 2 1/2 million everyday Americans says volumes about who he represents.
If you are inclined to believe Sanders can’t win in November, think again. Poll after poll show Sanders beating Trump, Cruz and other Republicans by a greater margin than Clinton.
“But that doesn’t make sense,” the New Democrat moans. “You have to be a ‘centrist’ to win.”
Ah, sorry friend. Those days are over. The polls also speak to this, as the issues of most importance to young voters are a veritable mirror image of the issues Sanders has championed all his life.
Sanders’ record-breaking crowds speak to this.
Sanders winning 69% of the vote in Friday’s Climate Emergency Caucus speaks to this.
Folks, a new political age is upon us. Embrace it. Be part of it. Help usher it in by caucusing for Bernie Sanders.
Thank you! – Ed Fallon