to read Ethan Earle's article "Bernie Sanders' Socialist America" published on January 21, 2016 in The Indypendent, click on
Bernie Sanders is doing this without taking money from corporations or receiving backing from virtually any establishment group, all the while trumpeting the virtues of democratic socialism and telling anybody who will listen that this country needs a political revolution.
Having spent decades working on policy, it should come as no surprise that Bernie's campaign platform is broad and detailed—wonkish, one might say. Perhaps wonkish but not muddled: he leaves no doubt that his greatest preoccupation is the inequality that increasingly defines the U.S. economy. He proposes to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2020. He promises to create millions of jobs through federal infrastructure and youth programs. He says he will expand Social Security, provide free education at all public universities, and extend universal healthcare to all people in the U.S. through a single-payer system. His plan to pay for these programs is simple: raise taxes on wealthy individuals and large corporations, and tax speculative financial transactions.
In the stories Bernie tells of how America became one of the most unequal major countries in the world, he reserves special wrath for the large financial institutions he considers responsible for the 2007-08 financial crisis. He laments that not a single bank executive went to prison for their role in the crash, contrasting this to a criminal justice system that has imprisoned millions of people for low-level, non-violent offenses. He calls for the implementation of a 21st century Glass-Steagall Act, which prevented commercial banks from engaging with investment banks from 1933 until it was effectively repealed under the watch of President Bill Clinton in 1999. More recently he announced that, if elected, he would break up all "too big to fail" financial institutions during the first year of his administration.
However, his fiery brand of economic populism does not alone explain why millions of people have come to "Feel the Bern," the viral hashtag that has become a slogan for the campaign. Rather it is that he speaks so directly to a broader moment in our country's history. Personal debt and economic inequality are at record highs, and the generation now coming of age has been socialized by the Iraq War and Great Recession; raised on myths about the American Dream while being fed the realities of downward mobility for all but the elite and lucky few. In this context, it is his indictment of the system as not just broken but fixed—designed to perpetuate control by a small elite comprised of politically entrenched capital interests—that has made his campaign catch fire in such a startling way.