Written By: - Date published: 10:03 pm, February 6th, 2016 - 69 comments
Categories: democratic participation, International, Politics, us politics - Tags: bernie sanders, democrats, hillary clinton, pundits
After Bernie Sanders’ dead-heat with Hillary Clinton in Iowa, the race to the Democrat nomination at the upcoming convention just got much more interesting. A Quinnipiac poll now has him trail her nationally by two points. Just as with Corbyn in Britain, the pundits are tying themselves in knots trying to make sense of it.
He’s unelectable, some say. He can’t handle foreign policy, say others. Or he’s too old, even though his appeal is to youth. Or the art of government is the need to compromise. None of it is working – in fact, the longer this goes on it is increasingly Clinton who appears unelectable.
The similarities with the totally unexpected but overwhelming victory of Jeremy Corbyn in Labour’s leadership election in Britain are considerable. Both men have spent a lifetime in parliamentary politics fighting for justice from a principled base without any perceptible success to date. However given the nationwide platform of a leadership contest, they don’t have to ask themselves what the polls might tell them. They know what they think and they know what to say.
Sanders is a much more accomplished communicator than Corbyn, and as a very recent Democrat he doesn’t have the albatross of an anchorless and rudderless Parliamentary party around his neck. But their messages are the same – democracy is in danger because politics has become the preserve of the very rich, and ordinary people are denied the access to good education and health that is their right.
That the army of media pundits and political advisers who feast off the millions, indeed billions, spent in elections in America find Sanders’ unrelenting attack on America’s bought democracy unpalatable should come as no surprise.
But the fact that that message is resonating so powerfully for those who are brave enough to declare it is the single most important feature of these elections. The genie is out of the bottle, and available to help others who choose to follow the path that Sanders and Corbyn have opened up.