Bernie’s Not a Single Issue Candidate: Why It is Still the Economy, Hillary!

By | February 15, 2016

Hillary Clinton wants you to believe that the Bernie Sanders campaign is a one note candidacy that focuses on only economics. This is, of course, an untrue assertion though even I will admit that Bernie is extremely passionate and willing to discuss it at all times. But, there is a reason for that: the subversion of our economic system and infection of our political system via money directly affects most if not all of the issues we deal with today. Because the rigged economy is held in place by a corrupt campaign system. And that is all underpinned by the hate perpetuated by those in media and in power.

Hillary has missed the point in how income inequality is closely related to racism and sexism in our country. While at a church where her and Sanders both spoke to the congregation, she noted the following:

“Because if we were to achieve everything about banks and money in politics, would that end racism? Would that make it automatically going to happen that people would be able to get the jobs they deserve, the housing they need, the education their children need to have?” Clinton asked.

Sanders has noted the problems are parallel, and indeed one must consider how the disproportionate power held by those who are able to pay for access to the powerful in Washington affects those unable to access a job at or above minimum wage. Let me ask you to consider whether such a disparity, which affects minorities more, would work to keep those minorities without power.

Bernie Sanders wants to confront this disparity. It is, as is becoming clearer and clearer, an issue that Hillary Clinton as well as the Republican candidates are willing to address. I personally agree with a model that Michael Reich, a Professor of Political Economy at U. C. Berkeley, proposed that makes sense in what we are seeing increasingly today. Reich wrote in 1974 that:

Through racism, poor whites come to believe that their poverty is caused by blacks who are willing to take away their jobs, and at lower wages, thus concealing the fact that a substantial amount of income inequality is inevitable in a capitalist society. Racism thus transfers the locus of whites’ resentment towards blacks and away from capitalism.

Consider today that this has continued, only now we are adding Latinos and other immigrants. We have Republican candidates currently rabble-rousing that Mexicans are coming to take their jobs and that they are to blame for many of the ills that we have to deal with daily. And Reich is not alone. Dedrick Muhammad, Director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative and Host of the Race and Wealth podcast of CFED wrote that:

Racial inequality, then, has always been defined by economic inequality. As historian Eric Williams succinctly puts it: “Slavery was not born of racism; rather, racism was the consequence of slavery.” Specifically, throughout American history, racism has always been motivated by and defined as a way for white elites to control an unequal share of property — whether African-Americans could be bought as property, were outright forbidden to own property or were racially targeted for toxic loans when trying to buy property.

The ways in which African-Americans have been economically disenfranchised are too numerous to list here — suffice it to say that generations upon generations of discriminatory hiring practices, unequal access to quality education, housing segregation, voter disenfranchisement and scores of other inequities have helped form the many disparities that still persist today.

The masters of the system in place today wants to continue to profit from the system they have designed. To do that, they cannot allow the system to change. This is done by money, which gives them access to candidates. Indeed, the elite and candidates are forming a symbiotic relationship that shuts out the ability for the regular citizen, the 99%, to have any influence over their government and, increasingly, their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Consider Flint. You continue to hear that it went on for so long. How could we not know about it? Why was nothing done? Because they had no voice in the exchange of political ideas.

Consider the decimated urban neighborhoods nationwide, or even the small local communities in rural areas that are dying. Both suffer because they have no way to have their voice heard.

Why is that? Because in a world where corporations and the elite are allowed the ability to pour money into the political process, amplifying their voice to levels no individual citizens can reach, as well as no poor neighborhoods can rival, they are the ones that have their issues heard. The candidates need the money to run increasingly more expensive campaigns. The corporations need the candidates to keep things either they way they are or to continue to improve their ability to earn higher and higher profits.

As Scalia said, when writing in support of the Citizens United ruling in the Supreme Court:

Indeed, to exclude or impede corporate speech is to muzzle the principal agents of the modern free economy. We should celebrate rather than condemn the addition of this speech to the public debate.

The issue with the addition of free speech is that it is from a source that drowns out the voices of everyday citizens. Meanwhile, the other voices that muddy the water focus everyone on other concerns.

“Immigrants want your jobs.”

“Look at what the Kardashians are doing now.”

“Blacks are killers and thugs.”

“Whites are rednecks and racists.”

“Mexicans are rapists.”

“All Arabs want to kill us.”

And while this all keeps us distracted, they keep the system chugging along and profits are at all time high. And people make less and less. And work more and more. Or, not at all. And we blame the people unable to make if for being on welfare and taking all of our money while instead a huge chunk of our money goes to corporate subsidies and grants. And none of this takes into account the taxes that many avoid paying.

But, Hillary is probably right when she says the reality is that Washington won’t allow us to change. True, in the current state we will get nowhere. But if we support a presidential candidate like Bernie Sanders who recognizes the issues we are facing it will signal that we are tired of the way things are. And if we support other candidates who also recognize this needs to change then we can start making a difference.

Or, we can support the status quo and allow it to continue. I promise you that if we vote in Hillary Clinton or the Republicans that it will also send a message to Washington:

We aren’t ready for change.

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