Sander’s adopts FDR’s tactics in election
The presidential hopeful shares remarkable similarities to one of the US’s most decorated presidents With his win of the New Hampshire primary, Bernie Sanders has doomed the Clinton campaign. New Hampshire primary results typically determine the backdrop for the remainder of the nomination process.
His platform to break the banks, annihilate student debt and install a single-payer Health Care-for-all system have generated a successful and historic interest in the American people. Yet will Sanders’ outsider populist message be able to the defeat the Clinton firewall of minority voters in Nevada and South Carolina? It is a very real possibility and one that will be of great interest to watch on the road to Super Tuesday.
But hold on a minute. Let us talk about Sanders’ platform for a second because some have argued that we have seen this before. Last month in an interview with Al Jazeera, famed MIT professor and political philosopher Noam Chomsky called Bernie Sanders, a “New Dealer” politician. One who, as Chomsky states, is someone far left and fancies huge sweeping changes, as did Franklin Roosevelt in his time.
Noted radio talk show host and progressive Thom Hartmann has called Sanders the next FDR which, as popular as Hartmann is, gives the progressive liberal something to be excited about. Other than the socialist attack, which Sanders has embraced, especially when Marco Rubio finally acknowledged the Democrat’s existence back when he won third place in the Iowa Caucus, there has not been a real Republican attack on Sanders.
We will not be seeing Republican attack ads on Sanders for a little while. But in anticipation, and given that he has been called a “New Dealer” and “the next FDR,” will these attacks from the Republicans be the same Roosevelt faced when constructing the New Deal? Well, yes, but they will be much more brutal and vicious than ever as political polarization has never been more visible considering Sanders’ position on the political spectrum.
Roosevelt was able to keep a lid on things. Times were different; a much scarier Great Depression had over 20 percent of Americans unemployed.
Banks had ceased lending out money; Wall Street was a deregulated pigsty, and everyone was desperate for answers. So when Roosevelt announced his “New Deal” initiative, there were cheers for it, but also some considerable jeers.
Republicans had argued that his New Deal initiative to have bank holidays and these “Alphabet soup” programs like the National Recovery Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Works Progress Administration would be an invasion of property rights, cost a considerable amount of money and would not succeed in the long run.
Due to Roosevelt’s excellent politicking though, he was able to form a “New Deal” coalition of big business interests and farmers that Republicans could not override in Congress.
This, in turn, helped him not only achieve his agenda, but also allowed him to win the elections. But Sanders is only going against another progressive who thinks his policies go too far. During Roosevelt’s time, there was considerable opposition in the president’s own political ideology. Leftist critics like Father Coughlin and Francis Townsend spoke ill of the New Deal in the 1930s because it did not go far enough. One popular critic of this time was Sen. Huey Long of Louisiana.
A serious contender to Roosevelt in the 1936 election, his “Share the Wealth” plan promised to do such things as capping people’s personal fortunes at $50 million each and provided a yearly stipend for all families living below the poverty line.
Activists and politicians do not pop up in that national spotlight anymore because Sanders is as far left as mainstream politics can handle. He embodies a progressive movement that has suffered the political equivalent of sun deprivation.
To see anyone in opposition to Sanders like this will not arise again unless there is some sort of rebirth of the progressive-era after this election cycle concludes.
Republicans will be whipping out the big guns against the Democrats when the conventions are done, and we really know who will progress onto the general election. In the case of a Sanders nomination, it is going to be more like a nuclear bomb full of attacks that will most certainly echo back to Roosevelt’s opposition during the New Deal years.
That opposition was pretty anemic back then, but times change, and Sanders’ campaign managers will really need to think through how they will defend “the next FDR” against his political rivals in the months to come.