It’s The Economy: Why Sanders’ Defeat Matters And Why Clinton Won’t Save It

One month after Bernie Sanders conceded the primary to Hillary Clinton, and still his supporters are struggling to accept it. Many have embraced Jill Stein, but still others have begrudgingly gone over to Clinton as a way to stop Donald Trump. And then there are those Bernie supporters who will either write him in as a protest in November, will vote for Gary Johnson, or are still undecided about their choice.

The 2016 election cycle has proven to be the most contentious race in recent history, with neither major party candidate popular among mainstream eligible voters. The New York Times states just 14 percent of eligible voters chose Trump or Clinton and both have historically low favorability ratings. The Washington Post reports that 56 percent of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Clinton, while 63 percent dislike Trump.

And that leaves the vast majority of Americans in a sticky situation: Vote for someone you loathe to keep the most hated candidate out, vote for a long-shot third party candidate, or abstain from voting completely?

The reason so many Bernie Sanders supporters are in a state of electoral limbo is because of what he represented. Salon writes Sanders represented the values of most voters in the United States. He also represented something that not everyone is even aware of: the soft landing.

What exactly is the “soft landing?”

A Bernie Sanders supporter wears a light-up jacket at the Democratic National Convention.
The soft landing is the policies that Bernie would have helped advance in order to make an economic crash less devastating. Sanders would have given us more of a safety net to land on when the big crash happens. And it’s going to happen. In August, TruthOut pointed out the unfeasibility of the finance industry’s dominance over the economy.

“Giving banks this kind of powerful role to play in the economy is just asking for trouble. Wall Street is literally a ticking time bomb, and when it explodes it will take the rest of the economy down with it.”

Sanders called for a modern-day Glass-Steagall Act to replace the toothless Dodd-Frank legislation. He wanted to invest in our nation’s economy by improving infrastructure, to provide more money for schools and colleges, and to make sure the billionaire class pay their fair share of taxes. He advocated for the return of manufacturing to the U.S. He wanted a modern-day New Deal.

The report goes on to note that just as in 2007, housing and stock prices are higher than they’ve been in decades, which means our economy is due for a massive, unforgiving collapse.

And as the TruthOut story notes, no substantial economic policy changes occurred under President Obama, and none may come under Clinton. Minor tweaks and feel-good legislation were put in place to appease those suffering from the fallout, but it simply wasn’t enough. And that’s why Bernie Sanders gave voice to the sense of urgency for change. After Occupy Wall Street petered out, Sanders took up the mantle of political activism during his primary race with huge success.

The finance sector has never held such sway over the economic health of an nation, much less the world, as it does today. As Business Insider notes, “the U.S. economy and financial system is a mess of contradictions,” with soaring stock market prices, high employment, low bond yields, and poor GDP growth.

This Jekyll and Hyde economy is one of the things that has Bernie Sanders worried for the future, and is why his campaign focused mainly on that. Because when you have a stable economy, everything else falls into place; social justice, racial harmony, income equality are more easily addressed when people aren’t stressed about how they’re going to feed their families.

President Obama’s economic policies did little to lift us out of a recession. Instead, he essentially kissed the boo-boo, stuck a band-aid on it and hoped for the best. He didn’t look at the cause. He didn’t examine the whys or the hows. He merely advanced short-term solutions and passed off the next collapse to his successor.

Even Hillary Clinton — who is heavily favored to win no thanks to her sagging popularity — superficially based several policies in her campaign platform on Sanders’ own issues. And experts on both sides of the aisle are criticizing it. CNBC’s Ron Insana says Clinton’s plan lacks enough potential for growth, while TruthOut’s Elizabeth Schulte calls her plans for the economy something akin to the GOP’s beloved trickle-down economics.

The New York Stock Exchange is at historic highs, but GDP is still low.
Conservative and libertarian publication The Federalist is less forgiving to Clinton, claiming that her economic policies will result in a large number of Americans losing their jobs.

“Let me repeat that: nine out of 10 income deciles, including the bottom 10 percent of earners, would be slightly worse off under Hillary’s plan than the status quo.”

The coming crash will probably be even worse than the one in 2008, and even more families will suffer from a greatly depressed economy, which is what Sanders has been warning about for decades.

We cannot continue to prop up our economy through the banks. Bloomberg notes that central banks throughout the world have essentially been printing money to prop up the economy and are allowing bond markets to issue negative yields. In other words, governments that borrow money in the form of bonds are paying back less money than they borrowed. Now, imagine buying a car for $10,000 with a bank loan, but only paying back a total of $9,000. That’s a negative yield. That’s what’s wrong with the economy right now, and Clinton’s policies aren’t feasible.

Because Clinton’s vision for the economy is focused more on how policy can help corporations and not workers, it makes Sanders’ loss all the more disheartening. Although Sanders remains in the Senate for at least two more years, it does not change the fact that our nation — and the world — will be stuck with yet another corporatist president for at least four more years.

[Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]