Bernie Sanders for President 2016 (thus far, anyway)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, joined by Congressional Democrats, and others, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, calling for an amendment to the Constitution aimed at curbing special interests' financial clout in elections. From left are, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, Margery F. Baker, executive vice president for policy and program at People for the American Way, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Sanders, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives return to Capitol Hill today after a five-week vacation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Associated Press photo

Progressive U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, probable 2016 presidential candidate, speaks at a news conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month geared toward overturning the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision, which declared that corporations are people and as such have the “First-Amendment” right to spend lavishly on political candidates who will do their bidding.

Independent/democratic socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is the sole individual on the planet who thus far has raised the prospect of running as an actually progressive presidential candidate against pseudo-progressive/Democrat in name only Billary Clinton. (It’s not about Billary, he has claimed, but oh, methinks, ’tis.)

“A, I don’t know if Hillary Clinton is running, and B, I don’t know what she is running on,” Sanders said on “Meet the Press” yesterday. “But this is what I do know: I know the middle class in this country is collapsing. I know the gap between the very, very rich and everybody else is growing wider. I know there is profound anger at the greed on Wall Street, anger at corporate America, anger at the political establishment — and anger, by the way, at the media establishment. The American people want real change, and I’ve been taking on the big-money interests and special interests all of my political life.

“The issue,” Sanders added, “is not Hillary Clinton.” But since Sanders’ actually progressive agenda is antithetical to Billary’s actual agenda – whether she’ll cop to possessing her actual center-right, pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate, pro-Wall-Street-weasel, pro-military-industrial-complex agenda or not – it is about Billary.

I’m fine with having our first female president, but I don’t want just any female president, just so that we can say that we finally have had our first female president. We’ve been there, done that with our first black president, haven’t we?

I want a progressive president. The other demographics – skin tone, the possession of ovaries or testes, age, religion, etc. – I don’t much give a flying fuck about. I’m a gay man, and sure, from a purely selfish, tribalistic standpoint I suppose that it would be great to have our first openly gay male president (and if he is married, perhaps our first First Husband in the White House, too), but if he were a wingnut or even a so-called “centrist” or “moderate” (translation: sellout), no thanks; give me the actually progressive heterosexual president instead, hands down.

I’d be fine with Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Masschusetts as our first female president, but although she put a book out not long ago, she seems unlikely, to me, to run against Billary in 2016.

That’s because the unspoken but very understood rule within the Democratic Party establishment is that you don’t run against Billary, even though she has zero charisma, zero accomplishments, and her unlikeability (under which falls her apparent inability to generate an iota of actual human warmth) means that she’d be a risky candidate to put up against the Repugnican Tea Party not only in 2016, but in any presidential election year. (Besides, as I have noted, Billary acts like a Repugnican Lite, and why would the voters choose Repugnican Lite when they can vote for an actual, full-bodied Repugnican?)

After seeing Barack Obama’s ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change” crash and burn, my bet is that the voters are hungry, starving, for an actually progressive Democratic — that is, real Democratic — presidential candidate right about now.

For millions of actual progressives like me, if we’re going to just coronate Queen Billary already, there is no reason whatsoever for me to pay attention or to become involved in the 2016 presidential race in any way (except, of course, to blog about how awful Billary is). That “At least Billary isn’t a Repugnican!” isn’t an effective talking point for the Democrats anymore, because she essentially is a Repugnican. She ran to the right of Obama in 2008 and she’s running to the right of him again — and he’s already right of center.

And I truly want a truly progressive candidate to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. No, I don’t just want Billary to be forced by a progressive/actually Democratic challenger, during the upcoming presidential primary season, to pretend to be the populist that she never has been and never will be, only to go on to the White House to govern like her husband did or like Obama has: as a Democrat in name only, driving yet another nail in the coffin of the Democratic Party. I want Billary “Crown Me Already!” Clinton to be denied the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2016 just as she was in 2008. I want her pathetic, sorry, right-wing, self-serving, pro-plutocratic ass to be defeated once again. (Again, though, should she emerge as the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, I can see the Repugnican candidate beating her.)

Bernie Sanders stated yesterday that he’s still considering which course of action would be better for him, should he decide to run for president for 2016 (and it sounds to me like he already has decided that he will): to run on the Democratic Party ticket (although he isn’t a Democrat, as an independent/democratic socialist he always has caucused with the Democrats in D.C. [what other choice has he really had?]) or to run on an independent ticket, a la Ralph Nader.

Given the uphill battle of running as an independent presidential candidate in all 50 states, it seems to me that Sanders would run as a Democrat.

Either way, if it comes down to Bernie or Billary, I’m going with Bernie.

No way in hell am I going to hold my nose and suppress my gag reflex while I cast a vote for Billary Clinton. I want to feel good (not guilty and dirty) about my vote, and I would feel great voting for Bernie Sanders — hell, if for no other reason than that for a long time now, it has looked as though no one else left of center would have the cajones to challenge Queen Billary in 2016, with the conventional thinking being that because she came in at second place in 2008, 2016 automatically is rightfully all hers.

A run for the White House by Sanders — especially as a Democrat, but again, I would support him as an independent — would represent to me a glimmer of hope, the possibility that the teeny-tiny ember that is all that is left of what the Democratic Party used to be still, even at this late hour, even after what Bill Clinton (with Billary) and what Barack Obama have done to the party, can be stoked to its once-flaming glory.

P.S. A Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren or Warren-Sanders ticket would, I think, be my dream ticket for 2016. And I’d still entertain a return to the presidential arena by Howard Dean, although that seems unlikely.

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