Monday, July 27, 2015


My aunt sent me a link to I Side With, and its survey that asks me about my views on a variety of topics in the current presidential campaign. It then compares my answers with the positions of many of the candidates. Some of the candidates and the percent my positions match theirs:

Bernie Sanders, 99%
Hillary Clinton, 84%
Martin O'Malley, 72%
Chris Christie, 41%
and on down to
Ted Cruz, 1%

I looked at how my answers compared to Bernie's positions. It seems the big difference was the question "Should the federal government increase funding for health care for low income individuals (Medicaid)?" My answer: yes. Bernie's answer: "Yes, but I prefer switching to a singer payer healthcare system." I like his answer better! Alas, I was about 3/4 of the way through before I paid much attention to the third choice in the survey which revealed more nuanced options.

So I should root for Bernie! Well...

Aphra Behn writes for the blog Shakesville, which looks at feminism, racism, and related issues. She wrote four long essays on the political career of Sanders, from his start in 1972 to today. Her intention is to see Sanders clearly, not to convince readers to vote for or against him. Here is a link to the 4th one which has links to the other three. My brief reaction on all that:

* Sanders is a much better politician today than when he started (I certainly hope so!), many times going for the pragmatic compromise.

* His votes, once he got to Congress, are much to the right of his stated rhetoric. It may be his willingness to get what he can. It may be his words are one thing and his actions another.

* The comments and claims of Bernie's fans don't always match what their candidate has said and done. They see him as a progressive savior. His record doesn't back those claims. That's a big reason why this series got written.

* Sanders appears to have a bad case of white male privilege. He seems clueless when dealing with oppressed groups, such as women, blacks, and gays. He also gets cantankerous when called out on his privilege.

* Is that cantankerousness an asset or a liability? Lots of people like when he uses it against his GOP rivals. But he also uses it against the oppressed (see above). Do we want someone who is cantankerous when a major part of being a president is diplomacy with constituents, members of Congress, and foreign heads of state (many of whom are tyrants)?

No, Sanders isn't the perfect candidate. But even with these flaws, is he a better choice than Hillary? I have several months to ponder that question.

As for those 16 GOP candidates, Christie is a bully and he and all the rest work against what I value.

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