By Tim Baldwin
Bernie Sanders is an open socialist running for president and has notable success in this election. His followers are very motivated about his message. What does this mean for America’s constitutional future?
Socialist states have a similar foundation to democratic republics: i.e. political power derives from the people, not the chosen few. But the constitutions of them are very different. Socialism emphasizes placing power in government to meet people’s needs (i.e. receiving certain benefits is deemed a right), while classic democracies emphasize leaving power in the individual to meet those needs (i.e. pursuing happiness is deemed a right).
Bernie’s message does include changing our constitution to a socialist constitution. This means that any legislation he proposes must first convince Congress, meet constitutional challenges in courts and stand the test of time. Considering the turmoil that Obamacare has created, it’s unlikely that Bernie can convince most Americans to accept other less-needful forms of social benefits.
Bernie’s followers may see the need in political revolution to combat established corruption in D.C., but experience should teach them that socialism is not a matter for Congress; it’s a matter for the people to determine at a constitutional convention. Our democratic republic is not for sale by any president who promises to give the people socialism. A president hoping to be successful should remember that.
By Joe Carbonari
Bernie Sanders fights under the flag of decency. Irascible though he may be, Bernie Sanders makes me smile. He is more about hope than hate. He has been at it for years and has improved with age. His elevation to rock star is due to the unhappy state of our middle class as a whole and especially of the more educated and youthful who aren’t moving onward as expected in life.
The world economy is in the doldrums and there is widespread underemployment, insecurity, and unhappiness. Opportunities are limited and unfairly distributed. Hard work alone no longer gets one ahead. Some unhappy folks turn to Donald Trump, some to Bernie.
I like Bernie’s group better. They make me think of milk, honey, and high times. Trump’s seem somehow threatening. There is a nasty undertone and a chip-on-the-shoulder attitude that is more than the norm.
Many of our young adults find it tough to get started, to keep up, to get ahead. They would like to see a greater sharing and a fairer game. Fewer wars of choice, a healthier environment, a growing economy. An active role for a transparent, accountable government. All said, plainly and simply. Hello, Bernie Sanders. Not hard to like.
Hillary Clinton is much safer, a known quantity, but Bernie is where the heart is. He has struck a receptive chord. We should embrace and absorb it. Hillary should, too.
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