If you had been around for eighty years like I have, you would have seen this coming. How often have you heard someone say, "If things keep getting worse, there's going to be a revolution"?
Guess what? It's here. Not what you expected? It always catches everyone off guard—especially the revolutionaries. And you may be one--and not even know it!
I taught American History for many years. Boring, right?
No wonder. It's based on the myth that leaders make history. Wrong! If you're actively supporting Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders you're making history.
I marched with the Tea Party after Wall Street crashed the economy in 2008. Obama bailed out the banks. Millions of American families lost their homes. Then the Republican Party insulted its members in 2012. It ran Mitt Romney for President. He made a fortune buying American factories, stripping them, and sending our jobs to China.
Republican voters are finally waking up! They overwhelmingly rejected the establishment candidates. Fat cats spent hundreds of millions pushing Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio. Every one crashed and burned. Trump, the rebel, downed them all.
In 2011 I marched with youngsters in the Occupy Wall Street movement. I met kids with their lives ahead of them. They're stuck in low wage jobs and still have to live with their parents. When they go to college to try to get ahead they wind up deeply in debt thanks to the Wall Street friendly Clinton/Obama Democratic Party.
Young people are voting for Bernie over Clinton 80% to 20%. No wonder.
Is it any surprise that Trump and Sanders oppose many of the same two-party policies that have proven disastrous for 99% of us and beneficial only for the 1%?
Trump won a plurality of votes from Republicans because they agree with him. He opposes thirty years of Democratic and Republican rule. The unpredictable billionaire entertainer received enormous TV exposure. However for months the inspiring socialist filled stadiums with cheering fans but faced a virtual news blackout. Now the media can no longer ignore his message. Bernie won the last seven out of eight primaries with landslide victories. Sanders and Trump agree on five points:
First, they oppose corporate trade deals that reduced America to a third world country.
Second, they oppose policies that let the rich amass huge fortunes by evading taxes while honest, hardworking Americans get poorer.
Third, they oppose billionaires corrupting elections by buying politicians.
Fourth, they support a universal health system to end monopoly price-fixing under Obamacare and save us money.
Finally, they oppose the Clinton/Bush/Obama foreign policy of overthrowing governments so terrorists can take over. Instead of demonizing the leaders of nuclear China and Russia, they want to deal with them.
Working class voters of both parties agree with these positions. Republican and Democratic billionaires do not. After all, what hurts our families makes them rich. They are working behind the scenes to block both Trump and Sanders.
Hmmmm. Are we witnessing a bipartisan political revolution with ballots not guns?
Do you remember when they told us the election would be between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton?
One down. One to go. Clinton is the last establishment candidate standing.
She is receiving millions of dollars in donations because she supported the unpopular policies that are destroying our country. Oops! She supported them before Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders showed up. Hillary flip flopped, and her rich donors are giving big bucks to defeat both Trump and Sanders.
Trump is a billionaire. He doesn't need money from the 1%. Bernie refuses to take it. He's broken all fund-raising records. Millions of ordinary Americans send him 25 dollars.
Of course there are differences between Trump and Sanders supporters. Important ones. That's why the most informative national debate after the June conventions would be between Trump and Sanders. They agree on problems but differ on solutions. That's why I urge New York Democrats to vote for Bernie Sanders.
The 2016 election has exposed the corruption of the the two party system. The largest bloc of voters in many states is "independents". They are excluded from many primaries. Republican operatives are plotting to defeat Trump at the convention. The Democratic convention is already rigged. Months ago the Hillary Victory Fund bought the votes of hundreds of so-called "super-delegates" with cash bribes from hedge funds.
These delegates had to pledge to support a woman who received $675,000 for three speeches to Goldman Sachs. Clinton supported every disastrous trade deal, starting with NAFTA under her husband. She's received more money from weapons manufacturers than any other candidate. She voted for the Iraq war. As Secretary of State, she initiated the destruction of Syria and Libya. Those actions created chaos, spawned ISIS, and are destabilizing Europe with masses of refugees.
Secretary of State Clinton vigorously pushed the Panama treaty she criticizes today. Sanders warned on the Senate floor it would provide a safe haven for tax cheats and criminals. Both Trump and Sanders condemn Clinton's hypocrisy and recklessness. As President she will continue the dangerous policies of her husband, George W. Bush and Obama.
The biggest difference among the three candidates is how they see their role as President. Both Clinton and Trump promise voters "Elect me and I'll take care of everything." By contrast Bernie says he can't fulfill any of his promises without the active participation of millions of Americans. He's already motivated the younger generation. Don't let them down. Join them. That's what he means by a "political revolution". Given dysfunctional Washington, his realism makes the most sense. No President can rescue America now. All of us have to pitch in.
Bernie has stuck by his political principles for a lifetime. He has a skeleton-free closet. Hillary's closet is a Halloween nightmare. Independents like him. The polls show Bernie is much more likely than Clinton to beat Trump or any Republican. Trump's supporters find more common ground with him than Clinton. She has a 53% disapproval rating among all voters. Trump's is 68%.
New York's Democratic Primary could very well determine the next President of the United States. For the sake of the country and our party I urge fellow Democrats to vote for Bernie Sanders on Tuesday April 19th. Join the peaceful political revolution before it's too late.
Irving Wesley Hall is a retired teacher of government and history living in Oxford, NY. Email him for documentation supporting this column at firstname.lastname@example.org.