Opinion: Helter skelter Bernie

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

In 1969 the Charles Manson cult family committed acts of atrocities going on a seemingly senseless killing spree hoping that it would foment a race war in the United States leading to some kind of warped revolution. Manson referred to that strategy as “helter skelter” which became the name of the best-selling book by Vincent Bugliosi who alas successfully prosecuted those crimes in California.

Can it possibly be that Bernie Sanders is adopting a similar political strategy as he faces the end game in his fight for the Democratic nomination and his self-styled political “revolution”? Does Bernie Sanders really hope that Donald Trump will become President (if he cannot) so as to hasten an uprising by the masses? Farfetched? Well in this zaniest of political years it seems that no story line, no plot is implausible.

Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed Socialist turned Democrat, has proclaimed that he is not just running in a political campaign, but he is leading a revolution in American politics to revamp economic balance and the distribution of national wealth. Bernie is not an incrementalist. He wants change to happen now, immediately. Fair enough. He has raised some very important questions during his longshot campaign. And he has won millions of votes and a number of primaries and caucuses along the way. His message is resonating.

But as we near the very end of the nominating process, he remains behind Hillary Clinton in every metric. Fewer total votes, fewer States won and fewer pledged delegates. It is now mathematically impossible for Sanders to overtake Clinton’s lead before the Democratic Convention this summer in Philadelphia.

In spite of this reality Bernie has sharpened his attacks and made them more personal against Hillary. The New York Times ran a front page story a week ago indicating that the Sanders campaign was intent on doing much harm to Hillary Clinton. The big question is, what is the motivation to further damage a candidate who is in every way closer to Bernie on all the issues than the presumptive Republican nominee?

Well, one answer is that the Sanders campaign remains in denial about their chances of actually capturing the Democratic nomination. But numbers don’t lie, nor do they deceive. We deceive ourselves. Another answer is that the Bernie Sanders campaign doesn’t care what happens after the nomination is lost to them. That they are in it for one purpose, and if they cannot get the nomination they care little about what happens later. All or nothing at all.

The other darker explanation is that the Bernie campaign really is intent on a revolution in the politics and policies of this nation and anything short of radical and immediate change is unacceptable. So if Bernie Sanders cannot be the standard bearer of this revolution as the candidate for President then what better way to instigate a political insurrection than to help put Donald Trump in the White House and then let the reality of a demagogue in office rile up the populace big time. The result? Helter skelter! Admittedly this analysis may be a bit outlandish. But would that not be in keeping with most everything we have seen during this most improbable election season? Are you feeling the Bern?

6 thoughts on “Opinion: Helter skelter Bernie

  1. If Trump becomes President, blame Hillary not Bernie, actions have consequences.

    On Tue, May 31, 2016 at 2:01 PM, Town & Village Blog wrote:

    > Town & Village Blog posted: “By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders In 1969 > the Charles Manson cult family committed acts of atrocities going on a > seemingly senseless killing spree hoping that it would foment a race war in > the United States leading to some kind of warped revolution. M” >

  2. This essay is based on one major misstatement of fact: this Primary is far from over.
    Bernie is still campaigning because he doesn’t need to overtake Hillary on pledged delegates before the Convention. Under DNC rules, a candidate needs 59% of the pledged delegates on the first ballot to be the nominee or it becomes a contested convention and other rules are used as tie breakers. There are 10 more Primaries to go, but even the most optimistic estimates don’t give Hillary a realistic chance of gaining the 59% needed to be the actual nominee. Which means it is an open convention.

    So why should Bernie stop campaigning against Hillary no matter how the NY Times characterized it? The answer to the questions (Steve) Sanders posed is that Bernie (Sanders) is in it to win it. Is that so bad?

    The article points out that Hillary is in every way closer to Bernie on all the issues than the presumptive Republican nominee. It does not point out that Hilary is in every way closer to the presumptive Republican nominee on all the issues than she is to Bernie:
    * Hillary and Trump both oppose the bank re-regulation that Bernie supports
    * Neither Hillary nor Trump support increasing the minimum wage so that every full-time worker earns enough to exceed the Federal Poverty guideline. Bernie does.
    * Hillary and Trump both oppose regulating fracking at the National level, Bernie supports it
    * Hillary supports trade agreements that allow American jobs to be shipped overseas while tax sheltering the profits. Trump uses those laws to profit tax free from the sale of his campaign’s signature red hats that are made in China. Bernie oppose those Trade Agreements.

    There is one significant difference between Hillary and Bernie that has become clearer as the Primary campaign continues. Hillary will be going into the Convention with the highest dislike rating ever for a Democratic candidate. It is a reflection of the revolution that is going on within the Democratic Party. For the past 24+ years, it has been led by the right-leaning Clintons and their followers. It is time for the Democratic to stop accepting the status quo with window trimmings that we the people have gotten in that time. Those of us who lean left – both old-timers like myself and those who are just coming of voting age – want a return of the Democratic Party that said Change is Possible.

    • I’ve avoided Democratic Primary discussions online and on the street this time around. They been just as toxic as the ones in 2008, but your points are too problematic to let slide, Mr Huebsch.

      First, Clinton is almost on pace to win 59% of pledged delegates which would, as you point out, be enough to clinch the nomination without needing support from any superdelegates. At this point, Clinton needs 34% of the remaining delegates for that to happen, a number she’ll probably win. Sanders needs 69%. What if Clinton comes up shy of that 59% ? What kind off a case can Sanders make to superdelegates for them to switch sides, ignoring the will of the majority of Dem primary voters?

      About your policy notes.

      • Clinton supports Dodd-Frank +, she’s not at all opposed to regulating banks. She doesn’t support re-instating Glass-Steagel. I wish she’s change that position, but it’s not a sticking point for me: it can’t be achieved via executive order and reinstatement won’t happen without a massive shift of power in Congress. Getting a bill passed in either House or Senate that dramatically that curtails the power of big banks is a non-starter.

      • Sanders supports a $15 federal minimum wage. Clinton supports a $12 federal minimum wage and wants to go further than that via state/ local efforts and recent efforts in LA and NY to raise the minimum wage to $15.

      • On fracking. Clinton supported the practice as sec of state as “part of a broader push to fight climate change, boost global energy supply, and undercut the power of adversaries such as Russia that use their energy resources as a cudgel.” As candidate, she supports fracking as long as there’s environmental oversight and no local opposition.

      • What trade deals — the Trans Pacific Partnership? As a loyal sec of State she ‘supported” it. Candidate Clinton opposes it. As for NAFTA, in real time her aides told the WaPo that she differed with Bill, that she did not support it so much.

      Her high unfavorables probably have more to do with a concerted hit job that the right wing has waged on the Clintons since the dirty tricks operation inside the first George HW Bush campaign launched the Arkansas Project. Sanders’ unfavorables would rise dramatically should he be the nominee too, once the RNC and the press got through with him.

      • In response to J Sicoransa commented on Opinion: Helter skelter Bernie

        Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my comment. I appreciate that you avoided making this a “toxic discussion” as you correctly note that too many become. I would, however, like to respond to your question about why the Superdelegates should consider Senator Sanders.

        (By the time either of our response are printed in T&V Newspaper, the Primaries will be over and there will be no need to speculate on pledged delegate counts. The “magic number” – 59% – is 2,811. Of the 1,495 pledged delegates to be elected between now and next Thursday. As of this morning (6/3), Senator Sanders needs 1,310 or 47% of them. Secretary Clinton needs 1,042 or 37%. This is not the same as popular vote which is why it is questionable who, if either candidate, will capture 59% of the pledged delegate.)

        You provided an accurate and concise summary of Secretary Clinton’s position on the four issues where I had indicated that I preferred her opponents solution. As background to why the SuperDs should consider Senator Sanders, let me first contrast those four.

        Dodd Frank + dose not separate banking activity and investment activity. That lack of separation was at the heart of the 2008 Financial meltdown. While it does make some small adjustments in the banking products that would be offered, it does not restore those banking products (personal loans, higher interest savings, etc.) that are vital to the financial needs of the middle class. Restoring Glass-Steagall would address both of those issues.

        The Federal Poverty Guideline is $30,000 per year. If the minimum wage is only $12 per hour ($25,000 per year) then people who work a 40-hour week will still be below the poverty level. That actually hurts single Mothers, a group that Secretary Clinton says she wants to help. It takes $15 per hour, the amount that Senator Sanders would phase-in, to exceed the Federal Poverty level.

        Yes, Secretary Cllnton does say she is opposed to fracking. Just not sufficiently opposed to change the current patchwork system of leaving it up to each State. Her website does not even indicate that she would change the existing weak environmental rules. Senator Sanders would ban fracking to protect the environment and provide incentive to end our dependence on non-renewable energy source.

        Secretary Clinton’s website is equally vague on Trade Treaties. it only Amy’s that she would support “aggressively combating trade violations.” The problem, however, is that the objectionable trade activity is allowed, if not encouraged, under existing trade treaties and TPP. We don’t need enforcement of existing trade treaties, we need trade treaties that are worth enforcing! Senator Sanders would actively seek to revise those treaties to restrict objectionable practices.

        In short, Secretary Clinton Is proposing changes with small or no real changes. This is the “Small Government” philosophy that took over Washington during the Reagan era and has been moving right ever since. The philosophy itself, also known as neoliberalism, originated in the 1930s as an alternative to FDR’s New Deal. When viewed in that historical context, Senator Sanders is proposing changes to bring the country back to almost the time of Kennedy

        The job of the SuperDs is to select the best candidate for the Party. That are specifically charged with overriding both the pledged delegates if they don’t have the required 59% and the popular primary vote. (Political parties are organizations. The top echelon takes advice and suggestions, but has the right to make it’ sown decision.)

        So that’s the question for the SuperDs to answer: what is the Democratic Party and which candidate best represents it? I think the best answer came from Robert Reich, a member of President Clinton’s Cabinet. Secretary Clinton is the best candidate for what we have. Senator Sanders is the best candidate for what we need.

        • Hi William

          In short, I’m with Elizabeth Warren when it comes to superdelegates: “I’m a superdelegate and I don’t believe in superdelegates. I don’t think superdelegates ought to sway the election.”

  3. Agreed, but those are the rules we have to live with now. Hopefully, they can be changed by 2020.

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