Richardt Stormsgaard: California Sandernistas |

Richardt Stormsgaard: California Sandernistas

Richardt Stormsgaard
Other Voices

The Union ran an op-ed by Thomas Elias (Dec. 24) in which he lamented the fact that both major parties in California are becoming increasingly extremist.

He is correct that leftist activists taking over the California Democratic Party present a danger to our state and country. Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by almost 350,000 votes in the 2016 California primary, and leftist activists began packing party caucuses last spring in order to take over the Democratic Party. They endorsed Kevin DeLeon rather than Diane Feinstein, although she had won the June 5 top-two primary with 44 percent while de León only received 12 percent.

When activists believe they know better than voters with little regard for reality or common sense serious problems arise.

And in a country with a winner-take-all political system it can be disastrous as we can see from the 2000 election in which more than 2 million voted for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader leading to the election of George Bush.

When activists believe they know better than voters with little regard for reality or common sense serious problems arise.

As a result we had the Iraq War, the 2007 financial meltdown, and now almost two decades later a right-wing Supreme Court of the United States after four appointments by Bush and Trump. Civil rights and voting rights legislation that are integral parts of any advanced modern democracy can now be dismantled because the Constitution was written about 240 years ago before such concepts even developed. Strict originalist interpretations by the conservative SCOTUS could wipe out our democracy and large portions of the administrative state if they so choose.

The national media often describes Sanders as the leader of progressives in the Democratic Party. Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected in the ultra-liberal, urban, Hispanic Bronx and is glorified as the new face of U.S. Democrats while truly progressive young women like Lauren Underwood in Illinois and Sharice Davids in Kansas that won in heavily Republican districts are mostly ignored. These young women beat entrenched conservative candidates in the U.S. heartland and show the clear and obvious way forward for the Democratic Party; not nationally unelectable socialist candidates.

The national media cooperated in the myth of Bernie Sanders being robbed of the Democratic nomination when he in fact was trounced by Democratic primary voters 56 percent to 43 percent nationwide.

Aggressive Sandernistas bullied the Democratic National Comittee into throttling the power of their superdelegates, designed to be a potential brake if their party were to be taken over by an unprincipled, irresponsible demagogue like Donald Trump or a candidate clearly unelectable, much to the dismay of black politicians, representing our most faithful voter group.

Bernie Sanders claims to be working for a U.S. society more like the Nordic countries. But Northern and Western European countries have been largely controlled for many decades by pragmatic Social Democrats working closely with major companies and industries. Because of the mix of responsible government and private enterprise incomes have risen sharply since 1980 in neo-liberal economies that socialists universally abhor.

While wages in these European countries have risen three to four times since 1980 the story has been dramatically different in the U.S. Beginning during the Reagan years previously Democratic blue-collar voter groups began voting against their own interests. Lower salaries, poorer working conditions, decimated labor unions, less infrastructure investments, huge repeated tax cuts almost entirely benefiting the very wealthy, and a gradually defunded social safety net as voters were bombarded by anti-government messaging with racist undertones from right-wing media decade after decade.

The fact that our lower income Americans now make less than they did 40 years ago unlike their colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic is not some inevitable result of our economic system as socialists would have you believe, but rather that many American blue collar voters fell for the lies of a tiny, but very wealthy group of libertarian-inspired anti-government individuals. They infiltrated colleges, established media outlets and think tanks, and engaged in successful coordinated efforts to weaken the U.S. democracy that moderates from both major parties gradually had built up through much of U.S. history.

Bernie Sanders rarely addresses this astounding fact described in detail in books like “Dark Money” by Jane Meyer and “Democracy in Chains” by Nancy MacLean, but instead rails against ”the millionaires and billionaires;” a great number of whom devote huge resources for a variety of progressive causes and are a major and absolutely necessary part of the progressive coalition.

Richardt Stormsgaard lives in Nevada City.

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