|We need to make up for lost time folks|
Yep. Two. Count them again. It’s a depressing number. I wish there was someone younger, someone of color, and someone more radical who could run, but alas, AOC is too damn young and Ilhan Omar was born abroad. I guess there’s something of a blessing here. The radical vote won’t be split and the it won’t be lost amid a cacophony clamoring for Medicare for All on the debate stage. If Warren or Sanders win, it’ll bring up a whole generation of progressives hopefully into office, and it will drag those in the middle to the Left. Victory leaves a garden in its wake.
Of these two candidates, I rank Sanders higher than Warren. In my dream world, Sanders runs, wins, gets a term, then decided not to run again. Instead, it’s his Vice President Warren who follows him into office. Maybe AOC will come after her. Then again, it might be Subcommandante Lee Carter. I understand the desire for a female president and I don’t believe Warren would have that much harder of a time getting elected than Sanders. She’d be just as electable
So why pick Sanders over her? I think Warren has great ideas and solid proposals. It’s good that she leaves other candidates clamoring behind in her wake, looking for policies of their own. Just as Sanders moved the party left in 2016, Warren is crystallizing the commitments of others. They can no longer wear a label like “progressive.” They have to explain their stances. However, I think there are differences between Sanders and Warren, which make me back him over Warren. Needless to say, I would be fine supporting either of them in the general (Tankies, feel free to call me a dirty, dirty lib in the comments)
The first difference is foreign policy. Sanders is much more anti-imperialist in his orientation. He doesn’t just want a “green” army like Warren. He wants to shrink it and bring it home. His whole life he’s opposed intervention and wars abroad and that’s crucial. People forget that the President’s greatest power is as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Congress and the Courts give the Executive the widest latitude here. Warren is nowhere near as bad as Biden, or the rest of the field. I don’t think she’ll get us into a war with Iran. But will she radically change our approach to the country? Or Cuba, North Korea, or Venezuela? Or on the other hand end our blank cheque of support to Egypt, Israel, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia?
The second different is the relationship to the Democratic Party. Warren wants to take the party as it is and lead it to a more progressive direction. It’s an admirable goal, but without changing the fundamental structure of the Democratic Party, she’ll be constantly blocked by the DNC. The donor class will try and put the kibosh on whatever she proposes. Due to his background running more grassroots campaigns and insurgent candidacies, Sanders has more experience building the mass movements necessary to change the party from within. The Democrats have to become a party devoted and made up of the working class first and foremost. Otherwise, it’ll never be able to fight directly for the proposals of Sanders, Warren, AOC, or anyone on the Left. The Party needs to speak with one voice and fight as one instead of arguing and fighting amongst itself. Since the rich already have a party, the GOP, they can all go there instead. A Sanders victory will help accelerate that trend. He’ll push the rich out of the party like St. Patrick and the snakes in Ireland.
Lastly, Sanders and Warren have different visions of the economy and what needs to happen with American Capitalism. Warren is a reformist. To be fair, she’s a far greater reformist than anyone since FDR and that should be noted. However, she’ll leave in place the parts of the economy that have brought us back to levels of inequality not seen since the 1920s. What good is to merely reform things so that we may one day have to deal with finance wrecking everything all over again? A stronger approach has to be taken. Warren hints that she might be able to get there eventually. She has proposed putting workers on corporate boards. But Sanders sees the system as fundamentally unequal and unsound. He knows that attempts to regulate it while leaving capital in the hands of an unelected elite is no long-term solution. He understands that the democratic control of the economy is the only way forward. In Sanders’ American it will be for the many, not the few at all levels of society. So as in the ballot box, so as in the boardroom.
I know Warren has more concrete proposals than Sanders, or at least ideas for specific legislation that have managed to percolate to the top of the political discussion. Sanders’ campaign is more about emphasis and stressing values. Both of them have a vision, however it is filtered in different ways that reflect the different personalities running. Remember my old extended metaphor of the Plain and the Mountain? Sanders and Warren are both candidates from the Mountain who are uniquely situates to leave the rafters and seize the Dais. Each of them will do so with their own approach. Warren is coming down from Mount Sinai, with commandments and laws. Meanwhile, Bernie is coming down from Mount Olivet. Either way, they’re coming for your graven images, false idols, golden calves, and fig trees.