Sanders Surge Panics Washington Establishment

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The Hill

Sanders Surge Panics Washington Establishment

"Make no mistake," writes Budowsky, "the Washington establishment is now in full panic as the Iowa caucus approaches." (Image: via The Hill)

Virtually the entire Washington and Wall Street establishments are now in a state of panic about the possibility of a Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) victory in the Iowa Democratic caucus next Monday.

The Sanders revolution of young people, which includes a growing number of young women, independent workers in some labor unions that refuse to go along with the establishment, and liberal populists and idealists of all varieties, is now within striking distance of stunning the political world with upset victories in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.

In response, the virtual bedlam that has been behind the scenes in the Washington establishment in recent weeks is now coming into the open. It is a sight to behold!

In the last 24 hours, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been seen on television criticizing the Sanders proposal for Medicare for all, which has huge support throughout the Democratic Party and, arguably, majority support throughout the nation. Privately, I protested what she said; here my protest becomes public. In a private memo, I wrote that if she wants to endorse Hillary Clinton she should, and state why she believes Clinton would be a great president, a proposition that can be fairly argued, but an argument that has never made effectively made by Clinton herself.

In the last 24 hours, the editorial board of The Washington Post launched a major broadside against Sanders. The Post is a paper owned by a billionaire and, in the early 2000s (under different ownership), its editorial page ardently supported the Iraq War that Sanders (and I) opposed. While the Post's columnists include a heavy dose of neoconservatives alongside some traditional moderate liberals, the Post recently let go Harold Myerson, its one authentically liberal populist columnist who had the spirit of Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders campaign.

As the Iowa caucus comes close, there is panic in the air of the establishment and that includes the Washington Democratic establishment, the Wall Street financial establishment and the corporate media establishment, which today is only concerned about the Donald Trump reality show and the GOP debate.

Meanwhile in Iowa, Sanders roused Democrats with a moving television ad, one of the best in decades, based on the theme of the Simon and Garfunkel song "America." While Sanders supporters are taking their case to social media, to campus meetings, to labor union halls, to farmers and workers in Iowa, and to homes through large-scale door-to-door campaigning.

What the insider Washington Democratic establishment fails to understand is that the issues Sanders raises have great appeal to the broad nation: a free public college education paid for through a Wall Street transaction tax; an increase in Social Security payments (now frozen at least year's rate for the new year); breaking up big banks and re-instituting reforms initiated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; dramatic reforms of the criminal justice system. These are very popular ideas that are opposed by armies of lobbyists but supported by huge numbers of Democrats and large numbers of independents.

Clinton offers great possibilities of becoming a great president if she is nominated, and her campaign should be singing her praises and not letting her advocates attack long-held policies, visions and dreams of the Democratic base that in many ways embody the core of the Democratic vision for America.

Sanders has earned a great chance of winning the Iowa caucus and Washington establishment Democrats should consider why Sanders runs so far ahead of Trump in so many match-up polls, and why Sanders runs stronger than Clinton in these match-up polls against Trump.

Make no mistake, the Washington establishment is now in full panic as the Iowa caucus approaches. While it is not a pretty sight to see, Democrats should be thanking Bernie Sanders for inspiring so many people to become active in the Democratic Party, bringing the change to our democratic process that the party, and our country, certainly needs.

Brent Budowsky

Brent Budowsky is a columnist for The Hill.

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