That Hillary's first official Democratic challenger is not a Democrat says something about the farcical nature of this Democratic presidential primary season, but at least it is, finally, something said. On the downside for Sanders, he is a trifle behind Clinton in polling, lagging by 57 points. On the upside, he's a staggering 250% ahead of both O'Malley and Webb. (I'm practicing my statistical flimflammery. 'Tis the season, as noted.)
Another upside for Sanders is that he can demagogue the proposed Asian-Pacific trade agreement with the furious abandon of a Have-you-stopped-beating-your-husband? argument, and indeed he's wasting no time. At an anti-TPP rally last week, the Vermont senator howled that "[Hillary is] going to have to be clear…. Are you on the side of working people who would suffer as a result of this disastrous trade agreement, and seeing their jobs go to China or Mexico, or are you on the side of corporate America?"
In my opinion, Sanders diluted his argumentum ad populum by needlessly adding that Hillary's choice is "not a very difficult" one. I myself would let the sonorous question hang, so that the rallying throng could ponder the exquisite nuance of it all and thus arrive at the virtuous answer on their own. Adventures in demagogic discovery, that sort of thing. But I confess I'm terribly old school about these things; woe to the pol who succumbs to Obama's affliction of giving the electorate credit and the freedom to think for itself.
Cynicism and sarcasm aside, how would I as a democratic socialist approach a Democratic presidential campaign? I'd start by putting immediate issues such as the TPP on my very own Obamian "Fucket It" list, openly conceding that today there is a global abundance of change that cannot be stopped. But tomorrow, at home, is another matter. I'd fold the race issue into a class issue, where, as every good socialist knows, it properly belongs; I'd argue wealth redistribution through an aggressively progressive tax structure; I'd hustle single-payer as the evolutionary successor to the ACA; and I'd pound, emphasize and stress that a first-rate education for all our children — paid for by equitable redistribution — is the only possible road to actual equal opportunity in this global life, and thus America's keenest salvation.
I mean, what the hell. I know I'd lose anyway, so why not tell some larger truths?