It looks like the uncertainty, and dare I say excitement, that has surrounded much of the 2016 American presidential election cycle has already been coming to an end. Despite losing Wisconsin to Ted Cruz, Donald Trump still seems to be the leading Republican candidate. With both Ted Cruz and John Kasich giving up on the presidential race entirely, it’s become clear that Donald Trump’s nomination is a foregone conclusion. And apparently, so is the nomination of Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders lost big time in New York about two weeks ago, and many people saw winning New York as key victory for Sanders’ campaign, with 247 delegates available. The people of New York were evidently not that enthusiastic of Bernie Sanders. The Bernie Sanders revolution, if it could be called a revolution, has petered out, and from what I’ve read about Bernie Sanders meeting with the New York Daily News editorial board I honestly don’t seem surprised, and for reasons that I’ve also lost faith in Sanders as a candidate.
His platform has been directed at breaking up big banks and instituting a so-called “moral economy”. Well, so much for the small government libertarian socialist I read about, because it seems like this campaign adds up to nothing more than good old fashioned moral imperialism, the kind championed by Jeremy Corbyn in the wake of the Panama papers when he called for everyone, including those faraway British territories, to publicly release their tax returns to prove your not a greedy bastard – as if whether or not you paid taxes actually determined your moral character in that significant a way. Greed is a terrible sin, just like the Christians would have you believe, and for that sin a moralistic penance is in order, just as the Christians would prescribe. Seriously, doesn’t all this talk of imposing a “moral” economy just read like any other moral panic concerning sex and violent media? And is Sanders really citing Pope Francis as an example to follow? A man who, for all his reformist talk, didn’t change the Catholic Church in any significant way? A man who for all his largely misquoted ultra-liberalism has still refused to stand behind gay marriage, abortion, and euthanasia? Just another redeemer we need to come and save us? Fuck that. If all that doesn’t sound suspicious to you, then I don’t know what to tell you. It seems like Sanders talked a lot about breaking up the banks, which is starting to sound odd considering I thought he was going to be pretty small government for a socialist (breaking up banks seems like a very big government thing to do, at least in my view anyway). He still loves to expound his platform of Corporate America and Wall Street being the problem, the system being corrupt, and his only solution, if any, is to give more power to the government to correct it. As I said, so much for small government. Honestly, Sanders sounds less like the hopeful radical candidate with the power to overturn the political establishment, and more like that Irish guy who went on about “wankin’ fuckin’ bankers” back in 2010. He’s a progressive populist, plain and simple, – a progressive populist with a good history, to his credit, but still a progressive populist -and unfortunately it won’t be long before he falls barring some kind of miracle. In addition, even in spite of his populist agenda it seems Sanders has failed to capture the support of the working class, and his current supporters have been described by at least one progressive as “the check out line at Whole Foods” – not great for a political revolution when consider the seemingly privileged and lofty demographic that entails (seriously, can you imagine a political revolution happening here?). Of course, there’s the entirely undemocratic element of the super-delegates to consider as well – after all, they seem to be the main thing securing Hillary Clinton’s victory, with 522 super-delegates getting behind Clinton and only 39 getting behind Sanders. But complaining about the super-delegates, though I can sympathize, won’t change much for Sanders’ campaign, and I don’t even think it’ll mean the super-delegates will be going away any time soon (not least so long as Sanders’ supporters resort to personal attacks on them). The fact remains that not only did Sanders lose a crucial victory in New York, but there’s a real chance that, again, barring some sort of miracle he may not get another victory like it. And no amount of talk about the system being rigged and democracy being a sham is ever going to change that.
At this point, I don’t feel I can support any of the Democrats any more than I can support any of the Republicans. I already explained how much I hate Hillary Clinton, so you can bet your soul I’d never support her, but I don’t think Sanders is all that great either, what with his populist ultra-moralist platform. The best possible outcome is still that the Democratic nominee wins and becomes president, even if it is Clinton, just so that America can escape the horror that awaits America under Donald Trump, but to me that’s still a very pessimistic outlook to have, one that doesn’t hold any real hope for this election cycle to turn up any meaningful positive change. You can’t entirely hold it against me for having it, but still. The only thing I’m still hoping for at least one of the candidates will bring about some immigration reform after defeating Trump.
One thing’s for sure though: whichever candidate wins this election cycle, the biggest victor will undoubtedly be the power of big government. and in a way, it almost feels like this would have been the case even if Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders had a chance of winning. And for the third time, barring some kind of miracle, the status quo looks set to remain largely unchanged unless Trump winds up winning the Presidency, and if he does you might not like America under his rule.