Tuesday night, I watched the Democratic presidential candidates’ debate—the last debate before the South Carolina primary on Saturday (February 29) and the Super Tuesday vote March 3, when about one-third of Democrats cast their ballots in 15 American states and territories for whom they want their presidential candidate to be.
For a large part of the debate, the front runner so far, Bernie Sanders, was the target of all the other six candidates.
If you’re a big Bernie fan, like I am, this is good news! It was convincing evidence that he really is the one to beat. So far, he’s won the popular vote in Iowa, the most delegates in New Hampshire, and a landslide victory in the Nevada caucus.
Bernie Sanders is a Democratic presidential candidate like no other who’s ever come before. He stands for fundamental change in the status quo.
In the case of health care, President Barack Obama was never prepared to leave a single-payer option on the table, even if it was just for consideration. But Bernie, with his Medicare For All plan, is a strong proponent of a single-payer system that means no premiums, no deductibles, no surprise bills and no “co-pays”.
Bottom line: his health-care plan would mean Americans, including the 30 million people who still don’t have health insurance, could enjoy affordable medical coverage, much like we do in Canada.
Bernie is also a strong proponent of free postsecondary education. Can you imagine how that would strengthen the U.S. economy and society if young people no longer had to pay for their college or university education?
And he also wants to ensure that corporate America pays its share of taxes. It’s kind of unbelievable, but in just one example, last year one of America's most profitable companies, Amazon, paid exactly “zero” income tax in the U.S. How’s that for a free ride?
For a number of months now, the reliable U.S. poll aggregator, FiveThirtyEight, has had Bernie Saunders beating Donald Trump.
The influential best-selling French economist, Thomas Piketty, has concluded that Bernie Sanders's approach is just what America needs right now to be stronger than ever. As a recent CBC article about him states, “sharing wealth more broadly will make the U.S. economy stronger, not weaker, and richer overall.”
Still, the Democratic “establishment” remains very concerned about Bernie’s support, and the possibility that he’ll win the nomination. The party’s power brokers have always been opposed to fundamental change in their party’s principles that would see a more egalitarian society, one like Bernie is proposing.
It’s obvious that we have a case here of the tail wagging the dog.
Bernie Sanders is shaping up to be the people’s choice as America’s Democratic presidential candidate. The big question is, will the party elite have the courage to recognize this and allow Bernie’s name on the ballot?