Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Robert Reich: Bernie's 7 Legacies to Us

Robert Reich says it perfectly. Thank you, Bernie, for the legacy you are leaving us to continue.  Nobody knows the Clintons better than Robert Reich.  See what he wrote in his blog about this election, first when he declared support for Sanders and second, with his tribute today to Bernie and the 7 legacies he leaves us.

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor for the Clinton administration, has come out in support of Bernie Sanders in a searing blog post that gets to the "volcanic core" of what this election is truly about.

"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," Reich said. "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."

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton.

Reich referenced a Princeton survey that included analysis of 1,799 policy issues from 1981 to 2002, and which ultimately concluded that "The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically insignificant impact upon public policy." Reich added that since 2002, the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions have only "opened the floodgates to big money" even more.

Laughing off Bill Clinton's assertion that Bernie Sanders's health plan was a "recipe for gridlock," Reich wrote that "these days, nothing of any significance is feasible and every bold idea is a recipe for gridlock."

"Detailed policy proposals are as relevant to the election of 2016 as is that gaseous planet beyond Pluto," Reich said. "They don't have a chance of making it, as things are now."

Therefore: "This election is about changing the parameters of what's feasible and ending the choke hold of big money on our political system… 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."

In his post, Reich referred to Bernie as a "political activist who tells it like it is, who has lived by his convictions for fifty years, who won't take a dime of money from big corporations or Wall Street or the very rich, and who is leading a grass-roots 'political revolution' to regain control over our democracy and economy."

Robert Reich was ranked by Time Magazine as one of the Top 10 Best Cabinet Members of the 20th Century for his work in raising the minimum wage, cracking down on sweatshops, and implementing the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Bernie's 7 Legacies
by Robert Reich | July 13, 2016 - 8:42am

— from Robert Reich's Blog

Bernie Sanders's campaign is now officially over, but the movement he began is still just beginning. He's provided it seven big legacies:

First, Bernie has helped open America's eyes to the power of big money corrupting our democracy and thereby rigging our economy to its advantage and everyone else's disadvantage.

Polls now show huge majorities of Americans think moneyed interests have too much sway in Washington. And thanks, in large part, to Bernie's campaign, progressives on Capitol Hill are readying a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and bills requiring full disclosure of donors, ending gerrymandering, and providing automatic voter registration.

None of these will get anywhere in a Republican-controlled Congress, but they will give progressives a powerful theme for the upcoming election. It's called democracy.

Second, Bernie has shown that it's possible to win elections without depending on big money from corporations, Wall Street, and billionaires. He came close to winning the Democratic nomination on the basis of millions of small donations from average working people. No longer can a candidate pretend to believe in campaign finance reform but say they have to take big money because their opponent does.

Third, Bernie has educated millions of Americans about why we must have a single-payer health-care system and free tuition at public universities, and why we must resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act and bust up the biggest banks. These issues will be front and center in every progressive campaign from here out, at all levels of American politics.

Fourth,the Sanders campaign has brought millions of young people into politics, ignited their energy and enthusiasm and idealism.

Fifth, the movement Bernie ignited has pushed Hillary Clinton to take more progressive positions on issues ranging from the minimum wage to the Trans Pacific Partnership, the XL Pipeline, Wall Street, and Social Security.

Sixth, he's taught Americans how undemocratic the Democratic Party's system for picking candidates really is. Before Bernie's candidacy, not many people were paying attention to so-called "super-delegates" or whether independents could vote, or how primary elections and caucuses were run. From now on, people will pay attention. And the Democratic National Committee will be under pressure to make fundamental changes.

Seventh is the real possibility Bernie has inspired of a third party – if the Democratic Party doesn't respond to the necessity of getting big money out of politics and reversing widening inequality, if it doesn't begin to advocate for a single-payer healthcare system, or push hard for higher taxes on the wealthy - including a wealth tax - to pay for better education and better opportunities for everyone else, if it doesn't expand Social Security and lift the cap on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax, if it doesn't bust up the biggest banks and strengthen antitrust laws, and expand voting rights.

If it doesn't act on these critical issues. the Democratic Party will become irrelevant to the future of America, and a third party will emerge to address them.

Bernie, we thank you for your courage, your inspiration, your tireless dedication, and your vision. And we will continue the fight.