It is just possible that people had respect for his candor and honesty even if they did not agree with every single position he took?
Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent, Vermont) surprised almost everybody a year ago when he made a significant attempt to wrest the Democrat Party Presidential nomination from Hillary Clinton. What was initially thought of by mainstream pundits as a token opposition meant merely to get some more liberal points on the Democrat platform, quickly became a tour de force that required Ms. Clinton to focus attention and finances on meeting Senator Sanders’ run for nomination. Senator Sanders was condemned by the establishment of that party and its leadership uniformly campaigned against him and actively sought to further the nomination of Ms. Clinton. Now we find that same Senator Sanders touring the country with the Democratic National Committee’s chairman Tom Perez (whom Senator Sanders vigorously opposed for the Chairmanship) in what has been billed as “unity tour” to unite and revitalize the Democrat party.
Laying aside that the person selected by the Democrats to headline this “unity tour” is not a Democrat, Senator Sanders would, on the surface, seem to be an odd choice to be the focal point for rebuilding the party in preparation for off year elections in 2018 and another run at the Presidency in 2020. Senator Sanders has been lukewarm at best when mentioning a Democrat candidate for the House of Representatives in Georgia; has endorsed a candidate that has committed liberal and Democrat heresy by stating that has voted against abortion rights. Such a stance was quickly attacked by Mr. Perez. He clearly makes establishment Democrats uncomfortable, at best.
Still Senator Sanders’ presence and stands during this tour have been the only positive highlights of the tour. Considering that Perez has been booed; prochoice groups have attacked Sanders; and even the liberal New Republic described the tour as “failed” Sanders has been a hit. He draws big crowds, eager to listen to him wherever he appears.
How do we explain the phenomenon of a failed candidate, an ultra-liberal, non-party member being the only person who can generate excitement in the Democrat party and even the country as a whole? Recent polls have found that Senator Sanders is the most popular politician in the entire country-how are we to account for that?
Is it possible that Sanders has hit upon something so unique, so new and refreshing in American politics that he is making a difference in spite of his sometimes radial policy suggestions? Dare we be so bold to propose that people listen to him because he is unashamedly honest about himself and where he stands? I realize that having a politician be open and vulnerable goes against all that politicians stand for and most, if not all, would rather have a root canal without anesthetic than use such a foreign tactic on the campaign trail or in their personal lives, but Sanders may be teaching a lesson that others could profit from.
How else does one explain the enthusiasm and sellout crowds that attended this recent tour? Certainly Mr. Perez was not the draw and his performance received tepid responses and even hostility at times. Meanwhile Senator Sanders was granted unbridled enthusiasm each time he spoke. It is just possible that people had respect for his candor and honesty even if they did not agree with every single position he took? Here is a radical concept that might be worth a try – maybe our elected politicians should take a page from Senator Sanders’ book and respect the electorate’s ability to forgive mistakes and then maybe politicians would find out that their constituents could tolerate and even support someone who is not pandering to entitled groups at the expense of our country’s long term good or a politician’s integrity.