One of my favorite writers, Matt Taibbi, has written a wonderful article in Rolling Stone about Bernie Sanders, our “other” Democratic presidential candidate. Or as Taibbi puts it:
His entrance into the 2016 presidential race is a great thing and not a mere footnote to the inevitable coronation of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. If the press is smart enough to grasp it, his entrance into the race makes for a profound storyline that could force all of us to ask some very uncomfortable questions.
What questions? Why do we automatically measure political candidates by how much money they can raise? Although we don’t put it that bluntly. We use words like “serious” or “viable” or even “credible”. As the Wall Street Journal said about Sanders: “It is unclear how much money Mr. Sanders expects to raise, or what he thinks he needs to run a credible race.”
Is that what our politics has become? A simple race for cash? Has money really become equivalent to free speech?
But that won’t deter Sanders. Indeed, his campaign started out by raising a “serious” amount of money — more than $1.5 million in its first 24 hours. And not just from big-money donors. More than 35 thousand people donated, with an average contribution of $43.54. Regardless of who you think should be elected president, this should warm your heart.
Ironically, Sanders, who has never run a negative campaign, is likely to help Hillary Clinton. At the very least it will keep her from swinging too far to the right in an attempt to triangulate against her ultra-conservative Republican opposition and will help her run as a moderate. The GOP always tries to paint Democratic candidates as socialists, but how can they call Hillary that when Sanders is a socialist?