By Dr. Kevin Barrett
On April 8, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race, effectively conceding the Democratic nomination to billionaire-backed machine politician Joe Biden. Sanders capitulated three months earlier than in the previous election cycle. His surrender to Hillary Clinton came on July 12, 2016, 10 days before WikiLeaked emails showed Hillary had conspired with Democratic Party officials to steal the nomination. Seth Rich, the young man suspected of leaking those emails, may have paid with his life. Sanders never protested.
Sanders called for a “revolution” against the billionaires and their political hacks. He tried to radically change the Democratic Party, which has been a party of, by, and for bankers and CEOs, not ordinary working people, at least since the Bill Clinton era. Sanders wanted to return the party to its working-class roots. He proposed raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, ending tax deductions for rich people and corporations, raising taxes on the rich, breaking up the “too big to fail” banks, massively investing in rebuilding American infrastructure, ending so-called free trade agreements, enforcing antitrust legislation, joining the rest of the world in establishing universal healthcare and free or near-free college education, and much more.
Tragically, Bernie’s attempt to radically change the nature and direction of the Democratic Party has failed miserably. Why? To begin to formulate an answer to that question, we need look no further than across the political aisle. Donald Trump’s 2016 populist assault on the Republican Party succeeded beyond Trump’s wildest dreams. The Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement triumphed because Trump channeled righteous anger that has been growing among ordinary Americans, who correctly recognize that they are being systematically disenfranchised by an unspeakably corrupt elite.
Unlike Sanders, Trump never pulled punches against political opponents and the party establishment behind them. Trump humiliated Jeb Bush by blaming his war criminal brother, George W., for 9/11. He suggested Ted Cruz’s father may have participated in the JFK assassination. With those two roundhouse punches, Trump harnessed the simmering unconscious fury of the American people, who know, consciously or unconsciously, that top members of their nation’s leadership were complicit in the JFK and 9/11 coups.
With his street-fighting style, Trump utterly annihilated the Republican Party establishment. Had that establishment tried harder to cheat him out of the nomination, Trump wouldn’t have rolled over the way Bernie has. He would have encouraged his supporters to vent their wrath, and the nation might have been brought to a standstill.
Once Trump was elected, he stocked the swamp with even nastier creatures than Obama had. Trump put John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, both psychotic warmongers, in charge of foreign policy. At Treasury he empowered “rob the poor and give to the rich” Zionist mobster Steve Mnuchin. He made his Kosher Nostra son-in-law Jared Kushner “Everything Czar.”
All of Trump’s economic policies have favored the super-rich at the expense of the middle class. Now Trump has handed the keys to the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and much of the world economy to the biggest, most corrupt Wall Street firm ever, BlackRock, whose capo Larry Fink was responsible for the 2008 subprime lending debacle. Fink is now merrily printing trillions of dollars for himself and his friends—while ordinary Americans may get a couple of thousand-dollar checks to compensate them for their lost jobs and livelihoods.
Trump harnessed populist anger, rode it to victory, then betrayed his supporters. But despite that betrayal, he did succeed in remaking the Republican Party. It will never again be a party of genteel country club notables.
Sanders, had he chosen to be a street fighter like Trump, could have channeled the same populist rage all the way to the White House. He could have annihilated the pro-billionaire globalist Democratic establishment, returning the party to its roots, and very likely changing America for the better. Instead, Sanders repeatedly allowed himself to be cheated by the Democratic leadership, with barely a whimper of protest.
In 2016, Sanders polled almost 10 points better against Trump than Hillary did. In 2020, he polled better against Trump than Biden did. Had Sanders gone on the offensive, exposing the many Clinton and Biden scandals, including serial sexual predation, he could have annihilated both corrupt hacks and the party plutocrats behind them. Had Sanders excoriated Biden’s segregationist history, he could have eliminated Biden’s African-American support and won—possibly resoundingly—on Super Tuesday.
What Sanders apparently doesn’t understand is that Americans are understandably furious at their national leadership and nearly ready to start building guillotines. Playing nice with the bankster-owned Democratic Party hacks, even when they systematically cheated him, was never going to work.
So, thanks to Bernie’s spinelessness, the 2020 election will feature the fake populist Republicans vs. the pro-establishment Democrats in a race Sanders might just have won.
Kevin Barrett, Ph.D., is an Arabist-Islamologist scholar and one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. From 1991 through 2006, Dr. Barrett taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin. In 2006, however, he was attacked by Republican state legislators who called for him to be fired from his job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison due to his political opinions. Since 2007, Dr. Barrett has been informally blacklisted from teaching in American colleges and universities. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, public speaker, author, and talk radio host. He lives in rural western Wisconsin.