Could Bernie Sanders be for real?

by Rob Tiller

At Crabtree Swamp, July 11, 2015

At Crabtree Swamp, July 11, 2015

I’m starting to like Bernie Sanders. If you haven’t heard, he’s running for president, and the pundits agree that he has no chance. He’s a Senator from Vermont, a self-described socialist, 73 years old, and not faintly glamorous. When I first heard his story, I thought he must be crazy, or at least quixotic. But he’s been rising in the polls and in the early primary states he’s drawing enthusiastic crowds. I like his issues: fighting global warming, reducing income inequality, halting ill-conceived foreign military adventures, improving our health care system, reining in mass surveillance, reforming campaign finance, and others. This interview gives a sample.

This week I sent him a modest contribution. The pundits are probably right about his chances, but I’m supporting him because he’s already doing something important: broadening the dialog about our social problems and the possible solutions. Societal change is really difficult, but if it happens, it begins with a conversation to reset the agenda and take a fresh look at the possibilities.

There is certainly a diversity of views on offer this election cycle. Like everyone I know, I’m still shaking my head over Donald Trump’s astonishing pronouncement that Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists. And I’m shaking my head harder that this buffoonish blowhard has vaulted to the front of the Republican pack. I don’t really believe there’s any way a majority goes for his know-nothingism. But this would be an interesting matchup: Trump v. Sanders. I say Sanders wins.