In 2016, Bernie was my guy. I loved his in-your-face pride in being a democratic socialist, his integrity on sticking to his principles and calling bullshit on our socio-politico-economic establishment. I still like that about him.
But what I didn’t do was examine his economic program very closely. I was too excited by his social-political stands and discounted almost all of what establishment critics were saying because naturally I didn’t trust them. (Free college, for example, is no pipe dream. Trump just proposed raising the national security budget by more than enough money to pay for it.) I assumed they must be demonizing him because he was pulling their files for all of us to see. I’m certain that is still true today, however never did I think their charges might hold any water.
Full disclosure and apologies to those who might feel unfairly maligned but in my experience my brothers and sisters on the left tend to make very poor economic analyses of our economy and its institutions, especially when it comes to jobs and wages. And I expected not much different from Bernie. I did expect a bit of flexibility and realpolitik from his long years in office. On that score, I was wrong. He is an ideologue which is a strength when you’re leading the charge of some very angry people but it is a liability for governance. Recent events have given me serious pause on this point. Cringeworthy moral equivocations of Castro. Writing bills in an election year that tax startup employees on options they haven’t even sold yet. (WHY???!?!?) Making the rather dubious claim he wants to follow the Scandanavian or Nordic Model which has more billionaires per capita than here in the U.S. Billionaires that he says “shouldn’t exist.” People defending him with the kind of excuses we heard from morally sane but incredibly naive voters that were used for Trump in 2016. (Anyone remember “He’ll mature once he’s in office?”) When folks are telling me “Relax, he can’t actually do that. Congress will stop him.” It’s a red flag on the candidate.
Of course, none of this rises to the level that I would stay home on Election Day. It will be a cold day in hell before I abstain from casting a vote against Agent Orange and the GOP. But I have to say that I’m not rooting for Bernie anymore which is a very sad and disappointing realization. I really did believe in him.