The 2016 Popular Revolt: Feel The Bern

Previously, we went over the background of the 2016 Popular Revolt and its leader on the right. While a revolt on the right wing was inevitable due to decades of failure and the extremely poor representation of cowardly leaders who were more interested in rolling over to political correctness and lining their pockets with globalism, stabbing the people they were supposed to represent in the back, a revolt on the left caught more people by surprise. After all, leftists seemed to have had a string of almost unbroken successes, arguably going all the way back to World War I, which completely shattered faith in the traditional institutions among the people. Certainly since the 60’s, even when supposedly rightist conservatives held power, leftist “progressives” dominated intellectual discourse, manufacturing the politically correct straitjacket which the conservative movement dutifully constrained itself in, as well as popular culture. In the 2010’s, leftist dominance grew to new heights.

And yet, it turned out that the waters of leftist unity were not as tranquil as they seemed.

The Leftist Optimates:

As mentioned in the first part of this series, dissatisfaction with both parties has been high since the second Bush Administration. Though the natural reaction to dissatisfaction with a Republican administration was to elect the Democrat Barack Obama, this did not mean that overall satisfaction with the Democratic party among the American people at large improved – it just meant that it was the grudging alternative.

As we know both parties, have become one, the party of globalization at any cost. This means the party of endless war, neoliberal trade deals like NAFTA, and mass immigration, all of which is within the carefully constrained discourse of postmodern, politically correct thought, which, along with neoclassical economics, promotes reductionist individualistic thought, stripping all community and identity from the people.

These things are just as true of the leftist Optimates as they are of the ones in the conservative movement on the right. Recall that George H.W. Bush began negotiations for NAFTA and that Bill Clinton completed the deal. Barack Obama is the one pushing the Trans Pacific Partnership. While Barack Obama is not as eager for full scale invasions as his predecessor, he nevertheless intervened in Libya and Syria, as well as threw his support behind the rest of the Arab Spring, destabilizing the Middle East greatly. Both Bush and Obama pushed for “comprehensive immigration reform,” which would legalize illegals and expand legal immigration further.

Meanwhile, politically correct identity politics has morphed into a new monster entirely, causing a great deal of cognitive dissonance on the left that has made itself felt in the past year. We’ll get into that soon.

Under Democratic and Republican administration alike, income inequality has grown. The richest people have made out like bandits while the middle class has shrunk dramatically, college degrees, with the accompanying mountains of debt, are often worthless, and it seems that all too many, to quote a friend, “need to really be creative when it comes to making money.” This is good for a new generation of entrepreneurs, and the opportunity for entrepreneurship is limitless now, but it is difficult, and not everyone is cut out for that kind of life anyway. Some, perhaps most people, just need a good, stable job, which is increasingly difficult to find. The political center has failed to address this in any meaningful way, and while it may be more understandable in a Republican Party dominated by the conservative movement, to a good deal of the leftist grassroots of Democratic voters, it is a great betrayal. Only recently have the Optimates on the center-left begun to talk about this, but most instinctively know by now that Hillary Clinton’s squawkings are just empty words.

Bernie Sanders left wing populism
The meta-political situation in 2016.

And now, we introduce our other star of the 2016 Popular Revolt, entering from stage left.

The Gracchus From Vermont:

The first truly notable beginning of populist politics in Rome came with Tiberius Gracchus and his younger brother Gaius, who, through their respective terms as Tribune of the Plebs, attempted what could be termed a breakup of oligopolies and a redistribution of wealth, most notably by attempting to take the gigantic agrarian estates that the elite had accrued as a result of globalizing influences and redistribute some of that land among the populace. The efforts of the Gracchi ended in failure and their own deaths, but they had begun a popular tradition which eventually upended traditional politics entirely and overthrew the Roman Republic itself.

Bernie Sanders Gracchi Gracchus
Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, who innovated a new, popular way of doing politics in Rome.

The leader of the Populare on the left is Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, a self-described “Democratic-Socialist.”

The word “socialist” is loaded in America, and it takes balls for a politician to express it so openly. For this, we must give Bernie Sanders at least a degree of credit.

Like the Gracchi, the first real champions of the Populare in Rome, Bernie Sanders is responding to the disparities of wealth that the latest period of globalization has produced. Unlike Donald Trump, who attacks this indirectly by lambasting the trade deals America negotiates, mass immigration, and the resultant loss of jobs, Bernie Sanders talks about income inequality directly. Consequently, he has spoken of answering this in almost Gracchian terms – breaking up the big banks, a new regime of taxation on the wealthiest, taxing financial speculation to create college opportunities for everyone, and ending the health insurance industry through a single payer system, which, he claims, would be a net gain of $5,000 for the average person, even if his taxes went up.

In more nationalistic terms, he has talked down the TPP and NAFTA, which he strenuously opposed in the early 90’s.

Bernie Sanders and the Populare behind him oppose globalism. They don’t always do so for the same reason as the Populare behind Trump, and they have different views on certain things, but they have common, popular, underlying tenets and are now, in an odd way, in revolt together in 2016.

Bernie Sanders 2016 popular revolt
Bernie Sanders, popular leader

A Leftist Realignment?

In the first part, we saw that the 2016 Popular Revolt would be a turning point toward the realignment of rightist politics away from the conservative movement and its globalism to a more nationalistic direction. The question to ask now is, will the 2016 Popular Revolt serve as an indicator of realignment among leftists?

The answer is a bit more tenuous. As mentioned previously, while the rightist base has suffered defeat after defeat with only brief interludes and frequent betrayal, the left wing has been far more successful…at least on the surface. The power that modern “progressive” SJW’s wield in 2016 is known to all, so I won’t repeat it here. Despite a string of recent setbacks and cracks showing in their armor, they are still a dominant force, sponsored by the globalist Optimates who either use them as useful idiots or genuinely sympathize with their ideas. Let us not forget that the Optimates went through the same educational regimen that the SJW’s have and are now going through.

Yet there has been a rising tide among the left of those voices, such as Bill Maher and Dave Rubin, who lambaste the SJW’s, whom they term the “regressive left.”

Then there are the Populare on the left who know they are being sold out by the globalist Optimates that profess to lead them. While not as vocal against the Optimates as their rightist counterparts, they have been annoyed nevertheless, obviously enough to now break out in revolt.

So with this in mind, here is what I believe is an accurate census of current left wing politics:

Old School Liberals: These are the intellectual descendants of the New Deal Coalition which fell apart in the 60’s, and in my opinion, the real Populare on the left. Their major concerns are questions of economic fairness and opportunities for the poor and middle class. They are very suspicious of corporations and plutocrats. They typically oppose trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP. They are currently opposed to foreign adventurism. Opinions vary on immigration. They are concerned about civil rights issues, but are increasingly suspicious of identity politics, and have begun to speak out against the “social justice” warriors. While the word “nationalist” may not describe them in totality, they do have undercurrents of nationalistic thought, as they tend to believe economic and certainly military questions should strictly be in the national interest and in the interest of the people that live here. Jim Webb was one of these, but this is the group that Bernie Sanders has emerged as the leader of, and the spearhead of the 2016 Popular Revolt on the left.

Globalists: The current Optimates. While they don’t have an axiomatic belief in tax cuts like the Optimates on the right, and may differ in a few things like the degree of foreign adventurism, they are essentially no different from their supposed opponents in the conservative movement. They favor mass immigration, neoliberal trade deals, and are keen to intervene in foreign entanglements. Hillary Clinton is obviously the current leader of this faction.

“Social Justice” Warriors: The peddlers of postmodern identity politics who have a particular dominance in academia. These people are, in their own way, the counterparts to the Christian moralists on the right wing. They have a religious belief in their precepts and act as any zealot would act. While some might consider these people as the Populare given their grassroots nature and occasional tensions with the globalist Optimates, they are in fact the junior governing partner in leftist politics (just as the Christian right occasionally has tensions with the globalist Optimates in the conservative movement but still gets its issues heard). Hillary Clinton has been attempting to pander hard to these people, and Barack Obama has come on board in his own way. Bernie Sanders also at least plays in to their narrative. The success of the SJW’s is a big reason why Donald Trump has risen to prominence. While the Christian, moralist right is declining in influence, the SJW moralist left had been in the ascendant until the second half of 2014, when GamerGate, itself a popular revolt staged largely by old school liberals, started the trend of checking its influence.

Bernie Sanders mainly falls into the old school liberal category. He rejects the globalist Optimates in his party. He has forced Hillary Clinton to abandon her support for the TPP and has a dovish foreign policy, opposing the invasion of Iraq in the past and currently opposing intervention in Syria to remove Bashar al-Assad, mentioning that ISIS has to be tackled first.

While Bernie Sanders does have SJW leanings, such as his support for Black Lives Matter hooligans and their race-bait narrative, as well as feminists with their phony wage gap and other arguments, he primarily concerns himself with economic fairness to the American middle and working class. Class, not other, more essentialist expressions of identity, is his primary focus. In this way, Bernie Sanders’ campaign in 2016 hearkens back to 19th century politics, where his socialist forebears first rose to prominence. He has not denounced the “regressive left,” but he is in more ways an old school liberal than he is an SJW, just as Donald Trump is more of a nationalist than he is a Christian moralist, despite paying some heed to that faction.

While Bernie Sanders may not quite take leftist politics out of the hands of politically correct identity politics, he is attempting to take it out of the hands of the globalist Optimates, hoping that the 2016 Popular Revolt will serve as a realignment of the Democratic Party back toward its old-style, New Deal liberal roots.

Tribune of the Plebs:

Bernie Sanders is also pursuing something reminiscent of a Gracchian strategy through his fundraising efforts. Like the Gracchi, he is attempting to derive his power from the people. As with Donald Trump, he has spoken against the post-Citizens United system of campaign finance, disavowing Super PACs (even though some are operating on his behalf, unlike Trump, who has publicly called for PACs operating for him to disband). Sanders’ hallmark is instead crowdfunding, and he has raised significant amounts of money through small donations across the country, enough for him to be competitive in the early battleground states, and in general. Bernie Sanders has essentially called for a popular revolt in 2016 by saying that “millions have to stand up” and assert themselves against “establishment politics,” and his system of funding is reflective of that.

By sourcing his power from the grassroots, Bernie Sanders is attempting to separate himself from big donors, giving him credibility as a leader capable of commanding a popular revolt. Though the lack of a huge personal fortune like Donald Trump’s makes this far more difficult, as seen with some Super PACs springing up for him, it also ties his fortunes more intimately to the people themselves. Trump essentially has enough “fuck you money” for both big donors and the people at large. Bernie Sanders does not have this luxury, but it may help him with the trust factor, casting aside lingering doubts some may feel in the backs of their minds.

2016 popular revolt Bernie Sanders

Demographics:

The question is – do the demographics of 2016 support a popular revolt on the left, as they currently do on the right? Where is Bernie Sanders deriving his power base from, and what blocs would realign leftist politics in a more nationalistic, old school liberal direction? I tentatively believe that, to the first question, the answer is yes, and will attempt to answer the second below.

First, Bernie Sanders has huge support among the young in 2016. We know this in the polls and I know it anecdotally. I have yet to see an under 30 person support Hillary Clinton. While we should be wary of young leftists, as they are often SJW’s, we should remember that these are often the same people that Barack Obama conned in 2008, and they are no doubt feeling the strain of globalization, to say nothing of the new voters that have come up since. The young are by their very nature, inclined toward revolt.

Then you have union workers, a group that has been hit hard by globalization. Support among this group is mixed. Some support Bernie Sanders in 2016, others support Hillary Clinton. This group of voters is in a bind because while its members are in some respects naturally aligned with the Populare, its leadership are often Optimates in entrenched power positions. Still, enough of this group might be able to be counted on to ensure a victory of the popular revolt in 2016. Bernie Sanders also has solid support among the white working class, or what remains of it in the Democratic Party.

Bernie Sanders’ biggest failing is with minority voters, the vast majority of which have supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign. While Bernie Sanders’ has come on strong in Iowa (where he is in fact now slightly ahead), Hillary Clinton’s lead has narrowed in national polls, and he leads by a comfortable margin in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton is still leading by a very large margin in South Carolina, where far more minority voters live, although the gap is narrowing.

As whites have continued to flee the Democratic Party in droves, Bernie Sanders will need to increase his minority support to win the nomination in 2016. Perhaps two victories in Iowa and New Hampshire will dramatically turn the tide, and give the popular revolt further momentum, perhaps not.

Ultimately, the odds of the Democratic Party Optimates being overrun by the popular revolt in 2016 are not as good as they are in the Republican Party, but Bernie Sanders is making an extremely potent attempt. Perhaps it’s just not the right time yet for a leftist realignment, as it wasn’t in rightist circles before. Perhaps Bernie Sanders is not the right man for the job, as Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Ron Paul weren’t.

We will have to see. One thing Bernie Sanders has going for him is that he is manifestly more favorable to minority interests than Hillary Clinton, who has support solely because of her name recognition and her association with Bill Clinton, a popular figure among minorities. Hillary Clinton’s own weaknesses as a candidate only help Bernie Sanders and the popular revolt behind him.

If 2016 is not quite the right time for a popular revolt and Bernie Sanders not the right man for the job, he is laying the foundations for other figures on the left opposed to the globalist Optimates to follow.

Bernie Sanders 2016 popular revolt
Though it may not be successful, the popular revolt on the left is real.

The Future?

So what happens if the Populare win in both spheres in 2016, and Donald Trump runs against Bernie Sanders in a general election?

In such a scenario, the 2016 Popular Revolt will have essentially already succeeded. The entrenched globalist Optimates will be removed from the levers of power in presidential politics and one or the other of their opposition will be guaranteed a victory. To quote the Roosh V Forum’s Fisto, “it will be nice to finally force them (the globalist Optimates) to choose between the lesser of two evils for once.”

As for who wins it all in 2016? Who is most popular in the overall revolt?

In a Trump-Sanders contest, I honestly cannot see Sanders winning. Keep in mind: this has nothing to do with my obvious desire for Trump to win. It doesn’t even have anything to do with logic. If you’ve really been paying attention to the 2016 campaign, you’d know by now that logic, is at best, a distant voice in human decision-making.

I see Donald Trump beating Bernie Sanders simply because The Donald is boatloads more persuasive and charismatic, and has far more energy and media savvy. In an era of uncertainty, Donald Trump also projects strength. Bernie Sanders does not – recall that humiliating moment when Black Lives Matter hooligans took over his mic and he stood with his head down and his hands inward – a very submissive posture.

Bernie Sanders Black Lives Matter hooligans

Perceptions matter. They matter far more to people than the merits of Policy X vs Policy Y. Perception-wise, you would not know that Donald Trump is almost 70. He projects a youthful virility. Bernie Sanders very much looks and acts his age.

Will these things matter to everyone? No, but I believe they will matter enough to tip the balance.

Also, if you want more “logic,” Obama fatigue has clearly set in in 2016, and in the modern era (post-World War II), a political party has only won three consecutive presidential terms once, when George H.W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan in 1989. So there.

But things might not be so smooth as that. Already we are seeing the Optimates mobilizing to prevent this scenario. In the past few days, there have been stirrings that should the popular revolt overrun both parties, my city’s former mayor Michael Bloomberg will run as an independent. Far richer than even Donald Trump, money is absolutely no issue should he decide to make the leap in 2016.

The American electoral system is decisively weighed against third party or independent runs, but Michael Bloomberg has enough money and influence to convincingly make the attempt. It’s an odd choice though, because if he does run, he will likely act as a spoiler in favor of Donald Trump, rather than Bernie Sanders. There’s no way he will win.

If this is the best the globalist Optimates can do, they are in trouble, and the 2016 Popular Revolt is, so far, winning. Perhaps the Optimates actually fear Bernie Sanders more than Donald Trump, despite the loud distress calls of the plutocrats at the World Economic Forum in Davos recently.

If that is truly the case, I respectfully tip my hat to Bernie Sanders and give him the credit he is due. Anything bad for the globalist Optimates is usually good for everyone else, in one degree or another.

The popular revolt of 2016 will have an impact on the political landscape for decades to come. Bernie Sanders is currently realigning the Democratic Party in ways that the Clinton stooges can’t stomach. To find out more about his part in this overall revolution, and what direction the Democratic realignment may well take, check out Stumped: How Trump Triumphed. It will change the way you see politics…and the world.