The pragmatic case for Bernie Sanders

Christopher D Cook writes: As Bernie Sanders defies expectations with a resounding New Hampshire victory and a virtual tie in Iowa, Democratic Party leaders still insist Hillary Clinton is the pragmatic choice to beat Republicans and bring effective leadership and change — if incremental — to Washington. Clinton and her supporters frame the race, and her appeal, as a matter of “ready on day one” leadership and “get things done” practicality. But what does the record show, and what do leadership and pragmatism really mean?

On the pragmatics of electability, nearly every major national poll consistently shows Sanders equaling or bettering Clinton against all Republicans. Polls show Sanders nearly tied with Clinton nationally and rising. On electability, if anything, Sanders has the edge right now. There is nothing empirical to suggest Clinton’s superior electability — quite the contrary given her loss to Barack Obama in 2008 and her flagging campaign this year. While Clinton might gain more moderate Independents (particularly against a polarizing Republican nominee), Sanders can inspire massive Democratic and liberal Independent turnout and likely win over many white working-class swing voters.

Clinton’s most persistent attack—parroted by mainstream media — claims that Sanders’s agenda is perhaps laudable but unrealistic. Moderation is more effective, she claims. However, this is a misreading of American politics and factual comparisons of the candidates’ track records. [Continue reading…]

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