On January 20, 2017, President Bernie Sanders was sworn into office. The elderly Vermont politician, who had always made waves, refused to use a bible, instead taking his oath on a smudged copy of his own economic five-year plan. He also unilaterally modified the presidential oath from “preserve, protect and defend” to “enhance, enrich and humanize the Constitution of the United States”.
The unlikely candidacy of Bernie Sanders had shocked and divided a party and then a nation.
President Sanders won the Democratic Party nomination by going far to the left and then, defying conventional wisdom, he moved even further to the left in the general election. Unable to retain the minority portion of the Obama coalition, many of whose leaders had been allied with Hillary Clinton and were still bitter over her loss and did little to help him, his victory relied heavily on youth voter turnout.
Voter turnout in America had been falling since the sixties. But in 2016, it fell below the 50% mark for the first time in history. When Bernie Sanders won a three-way election, only 43% of a weary nation came out to vote. And barely a fifth of the country voted for the first Socialist president.
The Sanders campaign had eschewed a slogan; instead it listed all the things that would be given away for free. Free health care, free college, free homes, free phones, free internet, free cars and free money for everyone. In the last week of the campaign, President Sanders had unveiled a guaranteed minimum income that would be paid to every individual in this country making Welfare-for-All into a reality.
The disappointment did not take long to arrive.
It never does. Anybody think that this time, at long last and after who even knows how many object examples all over the world, they’ll learn a damned thing from it?
Daniel’s Bernie campaign posters are pretty good, too.