Bernie Sanders And The Hunger For A New Type Of Politics

New ads for the Bernie Sanders campaign released today show the Democratic nominee discussing income inequality, the signature Sanders talking point that has caught the attention of American voters. Sanders even plans to use the issue to woo Donald Trump supporters, according to Gawker.

The 15 richest people acquired more wealth in the last two years than the bottom 100 million people. The middle class will continue to disappear unless we level the playing field.

Sanders declares in another newly-released ad that he plans to overhaul the economy in favor of working families.

The Sanders campaign has come a long way since a humble start in Vermont. Sanders’ rhetoric appears to have hit the mark, allowing the democratic socialist senator to ride an unprecedented wave of grassroots support. Today, Sanders is a serious contender for not just the Democratic candidacy but the presidency, according to the Huffington Post.

While many political commentators seem to have concluded that Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee, polls taken as recently as the third week of December show Sanders to be ahead by more than ten points in New Hampshire and within single-figure striking distance of her in Iowa, the other early primary state

Many have tried to understand why Bernie Sanders appears to be succeeding where similar movements pushing for income equality and social justice, while tapping into mass populist sentiments, have fizzled. In other words: why now? Why six years after the global financial crisis first struck fear into the hearts of workers worldwide? Why now and not in the wake of Occupy Wall Street, with its headline grabbing slogans, mass protests and viral social media memes?

The New York Review of Booksreports that the reason may lie in the “cumulative effect” of years of disappointment that followed the collapse of 2008 — it takes a while for the reality and consequences of an economic collapse to hit home, and Americans have now had six years to watch their savings plummet, their careers stall, and their job searches yield more frustration and failure than fulfillment. The work of writers Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez may also have helped, sparking debate around economic management and revealing the true extent to which wealth has become concentrated in the hands of a privileged and immovable minority (Occupy Wall Street’s maligned “1%”).

It’s not only working families, millennials and secular, liberal, anti-war leftists who support the Vermont senator. The Washington Post is reporting that “capitalists should listen to Bernie Sanders,” because dysfunctions in the present system need to be corrected if American-style democratic capitalism is to survive.

A huge number of vets also support Bernie Sanders, and Republican John McCain has just come forward saying Sanders’ stance on veteran’s affairs is preferable to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s stance, according to the Observer. McCain observed that of the two Democrats, it is Sanders who has a “record of advocacy” for vets.

Bernie Sanders’ brother, Larry Sanders, recently spoke to the press about his sibling’s success and about the embrace of figures like Jeremy Corbyn, according to the Huffington Post. Larry Sanders observes that there seems to be “a hunger” for a new type of politics that diverges from the tired, center-left template set by people like Bill Clinton, which belongs to a different era and an older economic, social, and military landscape.

According to the NY Review of Books,

Sanders is unusual because he brings together three kinds of radicalism, each with very different roots. First is Sanders’s commitment to bringing the progressive ideas of Scandinavian social democracy to the United States, including free and universal health care…The second strand of Sanders’s radicalism is his excoriating account of contemporary American capitalism…the third and perhaps least understood strand of Sanders’s radicalism [is] his ability to organize a previously unrecognized constituency—one that embraces the shrinking middle class, both white- and blue-collar, the working and non-working poor, as well as young, first-time voters with large student-loan debts.

Will Bernie Sanders be president?

[Bernie Sanders by Ethan Miller / Getty Images]