Bernie Sanders vs. the DNC and the bubbling of new American political parties

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Sanders’s refusal to attack his fellow candidates lead to an iconic moment in the first debate, seen as a win for Clinton, when Sanders said the country was tired of hearing about her “damn emails.”

If you aren’t following the 2016 presidential election closely, you could be forgiven for thinking there’s only one party in the race. With dozens of candidates and at least half a dozen potential frontrunners – including Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina – Republicans have dominated mainstream media headlines and defined the national political conversation.

Not that anyone would notice, but there are still three Democrats vying for their party’s nomination. Unfortunately, the Democratic National Committee has opted for a policy of hiding them from public view. Not every Democratic candidate agrees with this policy – least of all Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has repeatedly called for more debates and whose insurgent candidacy desperately needs mainstream exposure to pose a serious challenge to Hillary Clinton.

If the country winds up with President Trump or President Cruz in 2017, much of the blame can be put on the shoulders of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the DNC. Continue reading

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Election season highlights the shallowness of American democracy

Charles and David Koch are interviewed by MSNBC anchors "Morning" Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

Charles and David Koch are interviewed by MSNBC anchors “Morning” Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

No serious scholar of history or political science considers the United States a democracy. Nor is the country a Constitutional Republic, which is sometimes given as the technical term. We like to think of ourselves as democratic, but America is, more or less officially, an oligarchy. This means the people have very little influence over policy, which is instead implemented by and in favor of private concentrations of wealth.

With election season in full swing, this simple fact gets overlooked and the platitudes about democracy are pushed harder than ever by pundits and politicians. Ironically, no time in America reveals more about our democracy deficit than the presidential election cycle. Between campaigns that are bought wholesale by billionaires and a news media that frames the election in the perspective of big business, Americans really aren’t invited to participate in the process much at all. Continue reading

How the Sanders campaign can increase its momentum

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders sits down with the host of Real Time, Bill Maher.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders sits down with the host of Real Time, Bill Maher.

With over a million small contributions from 700,000 ordinary Americans, the Bernie Sanders campaign has remarkable popular support. He’s accomplished this despite some notable handicaps: he self-applies the label democratic socialist; he refuses to take money from Super PACs; and he’s up against Hillary Clinton, a member of one of America’s royal families whose nomination in the Democratic primaries is often treated as inevitable. As inspiring as it is to see him doing well, there are some things his campaign could do even better. Continue reading