The 2016 Presidential Election cycle has been anything but boring.
On the Democratic Party side, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has watched her “Presidential nomination coronation” ceremony temporarily delayed by the stubborn and persistent campaign tenacity of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Senator Sanders is a self-described “Democratic-Socialist.” The term “democratic-socialist” makes for interesting political theater.
Socialism properly understood is a means of economic management in which the goods, services, manufacturing, and material output are held or possessed in common. The key concept to remember when describing what socialism entails is to remember that it deals with “community ownership.”
Nations such as the former Soviet Union, modern Mainland China, and even Cuba would describe themselves as socialist economies.
In most socialist economic systems key businesses such as Electrical utilities, Oil refineries and Oil Distribution, and Healthcare are all nationalized (the Central Governments in these countries own and control the distribution of these resources).
Conversely, in nations such as Great Britain, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United States economic activity is handled by the free market pricing system. A market is simply a place where goods are bought and sold.
By a free market system, we are simply stating that the Central Governments of these nations take a minimalist approach (at least in theory) with regards to regulating, managing, and directing how goods and commodities are bought and sold.
In short, a free market economy places a higher emphasis on economic growth, wealth creation and overall efficiency.
A socialist economy places its chief concerns on the nature of fairness, equity, and egalitarianism.
Senator Bernie Sanders is running a “populist campaign” in which he states that he is championing the little guy and the forgotten middle class which is being trampled underfoot by unprincipled big banks, corrupt Walls Street financiers and by what he feels is an unjust and unresponsive campaign system which favors the “monied interests” over the poor and middle classes.
One of the primary planks in Mr. Sanders’ campaign platform is that he advocates a top marginal tax rate of 91%!
As an aside, it is interesting to note that our nation has not seen a marginal tax rate this high since 1963 (this was right before President Kennedy made a bold move to propose lowering the top marginal tax rate from 91% to 70%; Senator Sanders would take us back to the days of Camelot).
There was a time in America that if a politician even mentioned the fact that he or she had “socialist leanings” that he or she would almost never be considered seriously for the office of the Presidency.
Gosh, how times have changed.
What has been happening with Senator Sanders’ insurgent campaign is nothing less than fascinating.
Senator Sanders has been drawing unbelievably large crowds in the 10s of thousands. By contrast, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has only drawn a fraction of the size of the crowds that usually attend Mr. Sanders’ passionate rallies.
In our day of polarizing politics, Senator Sanders has found a way to ignite the progressive base of the Democratic Party and bring a true excitement into the democratic primaries.
Not to be undone in Republican Party circles is the flamboyant, unorthodox, and slick marketing campaign of billionaire mogul Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump is the antithesis of Bernie Sanders.
- Senator Sanders is an unabashed Democratic-Socialist; the Donald (as he is often called) took his father’s construction company and turned a thriving business worth several hundred million dollars into a billionaire enterprise.
- Mr. Sanders would seek to nationalize key industries in the United States; Mr. Trump proposes to shake up the business status quo by the sheer will of his personality and by his ability to negotiate shrewdly.
- Senator Sanders is liberal – progressive in today’s political parlance – across the board. On social issues, Bernie Sanders is Pro-Choice on abortion, he supports redefinition of marriage to include Gay and Lesbian unions, and he has publicly stated that much of went forth in the name of Christianity in America was at times both racist and exclusive with its treatment of Native-Americans (Indians) and Negroes (Blacks).
- The Donald use to be socially liberal, but today he embraces Social-Conservatism (this was not always the case with the Donald who through a good portion of his adult life has been socially liberal).
- Finally, Senator Sanders would seek to take a hiatus from United States superpower involvement on the world scene – especially in the volatile “Middle East.”
- Trump would revitalize and reinvent the Big Stick diplomacy of former President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and hit America’s enemies with overwhelming brute force.
(Teddy Roosevelt believed that a nation should walk softly and carry a big stick; the Donald would “boast boldly and carry a big stick.”)
The existential question of the moment is this: Could either man conceivably upset both the Democratic and Republican establishments and actually win their party’s respective Presidential nominations?
The answer is that only time will tell.
However, Misters Sanders and Trump have done us all a great service by running straight in the face against “political correctness”; they have forced other politicians within their parties to clarify their policy positions and say what they mean and mean what they say. This alone may be the most endearing legacy of the two campaigns.
We, the American populace, need to understand the key choices that lay before us as the next President of the United States will inherit an abundance of national and foreign affairs problems that will require the Wisdom of Solomon to successfully navigate through and ultimately solve in a satisfactory manner.
GOD Bless You!
Update (DTG): Instalanche Thanks Sarah, A reminder Pastor George Kelly whose protestant parish is in the Atlanta area writes regularly as one of my magnificent seven on Friday evenings. He has almost no other web presence so if you like what you read you’ll just have to hit the archives. I’m sure you will I’ve known him since I was 12 & he’s one of the smartest fellows I’ve ever met.