I’m not going to get support of the governors and the senators, with a few exceptions, or many of the major organizations. But the reason we are doing so well . . . is not from the establishment. It’s from the grass roots of America.
The current political leaders of the Democratic Establishment are Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and DNC head Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Add to them, influential, center-right Democratic congressmen and senators. Then you have your high-powered donors, Wall Street executives, corporate CEOs, entertainment moguls and hedge fund managers, along with Wall Street funded think tanks like Citibank/Robert Rubin’s Hamilton Project. Next, there are various progressive organizations, whose leadership cultivates Democratic Establishment money and approval, often at the expense of its membership.
Case in point, the leadership of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which has been fighting for a $15 minimum wage, endorsed Hillary Clinton, who is calling for a $12 minimum wage, This enraged many of the union’s 2 million members who feel Bernie Sanders best represents their interests. Many local chapters are breaking with leadership to support Bernie Sanders.
Being creatures of the Democratic Establishment, the Clinton and Obama administrations have faithfully served the needs and agendas of big money in its various forms. If it were not for a stain on a blue dress, Bill Clinton would have pursued his “bipartisan” plan, in partnership with Newt Gingrich, to partially privatize Social Security.
If it were not for Senator Bernie Sanders and other progressives mobilizing organizations and individuals outside the beltway, Barack Obama would have cut Social Security in a “bipartisan” deal to enact the “chained CPI.” Thanks to an overwhelming grass roots backlash, he backed down.
Although her role is to be neutral, DNC head Wasserman-Schultz is openly supporting Democratic Establishment candidate Hillary Clinton. Toward that end, she has limited Democratic debates and scheduled them when they would have the least viewership, on weekends and opposite NFL football games. Her intention has been to limit the public’s exposure to Bernie Sanders’ truly progressive ideas. Here we have the head of the Democratic National Committee actively undermining the democratic process by stifling debate. Clearly, the Democratic Establishment’s interests are no longer aligned with the peoples interests, and haven’t been for a long time.
Working in tandem with the Democratic Establishment, corporate media has severely limited and/or distorted coverage of Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
Robert Reich on the Democratic Establishment
In his January 22 Facebook post, Robert Reich explained why the insular, elitist, Democratic Establishment is incapable of addressing the pressing needs of the majority of Americans.
Last night on Chris Hayes MSNBC show, Chris asked me if there’s a “Democratic establishment.” Of course there is. It’s comprised of current and former Wall Street executives who make massive campaign donations to Democrats (some of whom have served in the Clinton and Obama administrations and then returned to the Street); hedge-fund partners who make even larger contributions; moguls from large high-tech corporations and entertainment companies who both contribute directly and also “bundle” contributions from their friends; and major Washington lobbyists and lawyers who focus their bundling and their political activities on Democrats (half of all retired Democratic members of Congress in recent years have become Washington lobbyists).
The Democratic establishment is slightly more liberal than the Republican establishment, but their world-views are not wildly dissimilar. After all, they have similar large homes in Westchester or Bethesda; they frequent the same vacation spots in the Hamptons or the Vineyard; attend many of the same charitable balls and dinners; serve on many of the same corporate and nonprofit boards; go to the same conclaves, such as Davos; travel in similar private jets; and are invited by presidents (Republican or Democratic, depending on who they’ve supported) to attend similar White House parties and receptions, and to serve on similar presidential commissions and advisory boards.
So the Democratic establishment sees the world much as the Republican establishment sees it: a system of privilege and power, to which they’re entitled because of their superior intelligence and ambition. And they view the vast and widening inequities of income, wealth, and power in America as natural and inevitable and, ultimately, just
On January 25, Reich followed up with a blog post: “The Volcanic Core Fueling the 2016 Election.” He writes that on a recent book tour, he was shocked to encounter people who were trying to decide between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Although not true, he realized the general public considers both to be “anti-establishment.” Clearly, there’s anger building against the out-of-touch elite in both parties. Reich is correct—there’s is a volcanic core fueling the 2016 election.
The other day Bill Clinton attacked Bernie Sanders’s proposal for a single-payer health plan as unfeasible and a “recipe for gridlock.”
Yet these days, nothing of any significance is feasible and every bold idea is a recipe for gridlock.
This election is about changing the parameters of what’s feasible and ending the chokehold of big money on our political system.
I’ve known Hillary Clinton since she was 19 years old, and have nothing but respect for her. In my view, she’s the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have.
But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change.
The upcoming election isn’t about detailed policy proposals. It’s about power—whether those who have it will keep it, or whether average Americans will get some as well.