When the Democratic results on Super Tuesday came in, I felt relieved. I wasn’t expecting that reaction. I thought I was undecided, but I guess I’m undecided no longer. I was a little nervous that Bernie Sanders would upset Clinton and I felt better about things when it became clear that Clinton would take the day.
The funny thing is, going from undecided to pulling for Clinton had absolutely nothing to do with Clinton. As Sanders’ campaign gets more and more serious and I learn more and more about him, the less I like him as a presidential candidate. This has been coming for a little bit, but I was resisting. I find the Sanders’ supporters to be generally pretty off-putting. I was afraid that I was holding Sanders’ supporters against Sanders himself. Now, though, I’m pretty sure it is Sanders himself that I object to.
One thing that has bothered me from the beginning about Sanders’ campaign is his blatant populism. In life, it is usually best to avoid making decisions out of anger and resentment. But, the main source of Sanders’ appeal is anger and resentment. It is just tapping into the anger people feel towards the establishment, towards banks, towards the military and towards debt. This isn’t to say that I like any of these things, but I don’t want to choose a president based on negative feelings. I want to choose someone based on reason and what I think they will do while in office.
The more important thing, though, that tipped me from undecided is that Sanders is running a backwards looking campaign. For all the talk about progressive politics and revolution, I just don’t see anything forward looking. Sanders is simply an old school Democrat. He believes in the New Deal and the Great Society. Two of the biggest issues that he campaigns on are restoring Glass-Steagall and the Voters’ Rights Act, at least that’s what it sounds like to me when he talks about breaking up the banks and marching with Dr. King. I disagree with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but I don’t think re-instituting a law from the 1930s is the right way to deal with it. What we need is new legislation that regulates modern financial markets and securities. Likewise, I strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision to void a good chunk of the Voters’ Rights Act. But, simply restoring the Act won’t do much. I want us to address all of the ways of denying people the vote that have popped up since 1965.
I guess what it comes down to is he is campaigning on idealism, but his ideals don’t do much for me. They seem like the same old thing that Democrats have been saying for 80 years. If I were going to back a revolution, it would have to have some proposals that are actually revolutionary. I don’t think we peaked in the 1960’s and I don’t want to go back to that time. So, Sanders isn’t my guy. At least Clinton is up front about being evolutionary rather than revolutionary. And, if nothing else, electing a woman would be ground breaking.