Bernie Sanders; the Possibilities
Bernie Sanders may win Iowa, New Hampshire and run Hilary Clinton all the way to June while Nate Silver is already calling it for Clinton, big style. Let’s imagine Silver is wrong (he is human after all but made his reputation by calling 2012 straight down the line). What are the pluses and minuses of a Sanders nomination?
Sanders can win in a run off against Trump or Cruz. HRC supporters will vote for him; the zero-sum game of US Presidential politics mean they have no choice. He would be vulnerable to a centrist Republican Presidential pick but that species hasn’t been seen since Eisenhower. His could, conceivably, go all the way to the White House. If he selects Elizabeth Warren for VP, the Democrats will have a Team that means business. But he could lose to Rubio or Bush. The fact that neither of these candidates looks like getting the GOP seal of approval means that Sanders can appeal to the better nature of the American Electorate not to elect a raving lunatic. However, Senator Sanders would be the most Left Wing candidate since George McGovern and things didn’t end well for him.
The downside to a Sanders nomination is that fear will win out over hope. Polls are just that; polls. They were wrong during the 2015 British Election and could be under-estimating (scary thought) Trump’s popularity among Blue Collar voters. In a straight vote, Sanders would surely beat Trump (sweet revenge for Woodie Guthrie who was saw first-hand what an bully Trump’s father was) but an Electoral College means nothing can be taken for granted against Cruz. Sanders is well to the Left of most House Democrats. His nomination would see him leading a party removed from a lot of his core beliefs. He may not get much done in any Presidential term. President Sanders might face a death of a thousand cuts.
The Truthers are Out There
‘The X Files’ makes (for what is this writer) a welcome return to the small screen this week. Hopefully the writing will live up to the quality of the 1990s. While it is Sci-Fi or cross-genre fiction, its use of conspiracy theories and government surveillance has never been more topical. Whenever a large scale disaster, plane crash or an absolutely cataclysmic event like 9-11 occurs, the ‘Truthers’ can’t wait to head on-line ‘first’. The investigations of Mulder and Scully seem like a documentary to a sub-culture of web-heads. Their theology holds that the September 11th attacks were an inside job, that mass shootings are – and this is where you have to reach for the sick bucket – ‘false flag’ operations directed by Obama in person. Jon Ronson and others have covered much of this territory to comic effect; a lot of the time, these people aren’t funny – see the rise of the Trump battalions. Edward Snowden and the revelations about Big Data meant that many (who wanted it) had their ‘we told you so’ moment. This coincided with the ‘why vote, they’re all the same’ movement, which just lets the wrong guys win. This viewer is looking forward to the ‘X Files’ for good story telling that seems plausible, where he can willingly suspend his disbelief. He won’t be tuning in to vindicate his know-nothing conspiracism where the official explanation is never the right one. Of course ‘they’ want you to think it is…’Trust No One’.
Corporate Tax is one of the few touchstone issues left determining where someone stands on the political spectrum. It should be an easy determinant of Left/Right political opinion. In smaller nation states, unfortunately, there’s a consensus that the ‘beggar thy neighbour ‘ approach is one of the few strategies a small, open economy has in a competitive world. It is usually the far Left or those dismissed as ‘cranks’ who campaign for higher corporation tax or, at the very least, a shared common rate. Tax undercutting is a short-term measure that bodes no guarantee of long term success. There’s no merit in continually gearing tax policy to suit corporations rather than the long-term funding of social services; this is an enormous international issue that’s not going to go away. As more jobs become automated, governments are scrambling or kow-towing to the demands of international corporations. Campaigning on this is no mere populism; there needs to be a consensus on the issue before more institutions, municipalities and states fail due to lack of a sustainable tax base. It’s commonsense and politicians who ignore the issue or abet big business should be held accountable by the electorate at every election. Public Service sustainability may not sound as ‘sexy’ as saving the planet but for humankind, it is as important. Multinational Companies and Corporations should pay their fair-share of tax; urgent changes to company and accounting regulations should be undertaken. Life is much too brief to keep kicking the can down the road on this one; we need action, now.