Roy Exum: Why I Am Mystified

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I am absolutely bewildered by the surge of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party. Make no mistake, I describe myself as a conservative moderate, in this time when each of us must have a definition in order to be attacked by those unlike us, but I personally do not think Bernie and his outlandish beliefs would be good for the American people. I’ve read reams about this guy and, if ever the Supreme Court should bar a person from running for political office based on a thorough psychiatric exam by a panel of licensed physicians, here’s your poster boy.

Please, don’t take it from me. Check any legitimate source and deduce your own conclusions. My goodness, this zany actor just won the Nevada caucus and I can’t believe there are that many stupids in any state. Bernie claims it wasn’t a fluke. “In Nevada, we have just put together a multi-generational, multi-racial coalition, which is not only going to win Nevada, it’s going to sweep this country. No campaign has a grassroots movement like we do, which is another reason we’re going to win this election. Trump and his friends think they are going to win this election by dividing people up. We are going to win because we’re doing the exact opposite," he who is on a roll boasted.

The Democratic Party is almost as terrified by Sanders as they are Trump himself. Time Magazine editor and MSNBC political analyst Anand Giridharadas explains how Senator Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic presidential primary would show "that we may be paddling through a bend in the river of history." Anand also says the same thing I do: “Why is this happening? What is going on in the lives of my fellow citizens that they may be voting for something I find it so hard to understand? What is happening? What is happening? This is a moment for curiosity in America … “

A disclaimer: I don’t portend to understand any of the Democratic people. I got a meme the other day with the face of Joe Biden and the caption: “Finished fourth in Iowa behind an old Communist, a gay guy and a fake Indian – there is nothing like getting your butt whipped by The Village People.”

Yesterday Bernie announced a new plan to give away $1.5 trillion in taxpayer cash. Sanders wants to provide universal child care and pre-K, spending $1.5 trillion over a decade for the “free” program. All Americans would be guaranteed child care through age 3 followed by free pre-kindergarten education.

Sanders says he would fund the program through his “tax on extreme wealth” over $32 million. His campaign claims that tax would bring in some $4.3 trillion over 10 years. The socialist has a slew of “free” programs that cost trillions. He supports a single-payer “Medicare for All” system, wants to cancel all student debt and make public college free, and raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. And Sanders advocates providing free breakfast, lunch and dinner to all students, regardless of income level. I’m telling you … Bernie is a yoyo minus the string.

So here’s what we are gonna’ do today. First, I am going to share an email with you and beg you to fact-check it on Facebook or whatever source you like better. Then I am going to share a guest column from Jake Novak that asserts Sander’s popularity is a result of the way we raised our kids. I am not saying Jake’s views are mine but as I wonder why Barack Obama’s life history is still under lock-and-key yet he served as president for eight years, I’m ready to listen to anything:

* * *

WHO IS BERNIE SANDERS?

(NOTE: I have received three copies of this from known friends on the Internet but have no idea of the original source. Any fact-checking you care to do is on your own.)

Bernie Sanders (age 78) is truly special. He never held a job until he was finally elected mayor at age 53.  He lived off of welfare and four different women, had a child out-of-wedlock with one, and the three marriages did not work out. In all his years in the Senate, he introduced 364 bills. 3 passed. Two of those were to name post offices. If you want to know what kind of leader Bernie is, go to Wikipedia, it’s a long report.

The following is condensed: Bernie Sanders’ father was a high school drop-out, who tormented his family with rants about their financial problems.   He blamed society and economic inequality for his plight, though as a white male in a middle class neighborhood, he was hardly among the downtrodden. This was Bernie’s inspiration to take up the cause of economic justice, though he would spend half of his life as an able-bodied college graduate living off of unemployment checks, and the women in his life, between odd jobs.

By his own admission, Bernie was not a great student, starting at Brooklyn College and transferring to Univ. of Chicago, but this enrollment kept him protected from the draft.  He joined socialist organizations and dabbled in far-left communist politics, gaining national notoriety by petitioning the school to let students have sex in the dormitories. This was before birth control and abortion were legal, when there were still very serious repercussions for women if the condom broke, but that didn’t stop him from crusading against those silly rules that were an obstacle to his own satisfaction.   He participated in the 1963 March on Washington, a few demonstrations, and was arrested once, but his activism for civil rights ended when he became obsessed with socialism.  NOT “democratic socialism”, but oppressive far-left Marxism.

Bernie married his college sweetheart, Deborah Shilling, and spent his small inheritance on a summer home in Vermont on 85 acres.  The shack had a dirt floor and no electricity, maintaining his proletariat credibility, but not impressing his new bride.   He refused to get a steady job, so his wife didn’t stick around long, divorced after 18 months.

The Viet Nam war was escalating, and when the next draft was announced, Bernie applied for a conscientious objector deferment.  His deferment was denied, so he dodged the draft by having a kid out of wedlock in 1969 with his new girlfriend, Susan Mott, even though he still wasn’t working, and had no way to support the child.  By the time his draft number came up, he was too old to be drafted anyway.

He continued to subsist on odd carpentry jobs and unemployment checks, and occasionally selling $15 articles, including the one about how women fantasize about gang rape. He still refused to get a steady job to support his child.  His girlfriend left him. In 1988 he married Jane Driscoll, and took a cold-war era honeymoon in communist USSR.  His new wife supported Bernie financially through his many attempts to win a public office, and shared his radical leftist political views.  They visited the pro-Soviet Sandinista Government in Nicaragua known for their human rights violations, support for anti-American terrorists, and the imprisonment and exile of opponents.  Bernie blindly overlooked the carnage to stand with fellow socialists.

They traveled to Cuba in hopes of meeting Bernie’s hero Fidel Castro, but access to him was denied.  Bernie Sanders managed not to hold a full-time job his entire life or vote in a single election, until he finally ran for Mayor of Burlington at the age of 40.   After several failed elections, he finally won the office of Mayor of Burlington, VT, and eventually a Senate seat, which he has managed to keep off and on. For all of his years representing Vermont, Bernie Sanders passed a total of three bills, and two of them were for naming post offices. He’s a draft-dodging deadbeat dad, a globe-trotting communist dilettante, and a petulant detractor of hard-working honorable Democrats. His one skill is yelling about how unfair the world is, and how everything SHOULD be.

But he has no plans for how to make it happen, and no idea what goes on in the rest of the world or how to deal with problems overseas.   His excuse for not having a foreign policy or national security plank on his platform: “I’ve only been campaigning for three months.”

His socialist friends are bitter about what they see as a betrayal of their values by Bernie’s pursuit of the Democratic nomination.   His former wife and girlfriend run when they see reporters and will not speak to the press. Bernie’s past, including a brief stint living in a kibbutz in Israel is cloaked in secrecy.

Former employees and coworkers describe him as hostile and belligerent.  All of the Democrats in Vermont’s government endorsed Hillary Clinton.

The people who know Bernie best cannot stand him.  His supporters cannot explain how he is qualified to be president.

* * *

BERNIE IS A FRONT-RUNNER BECAUSE OF HOW WE RAISED OUR KIDS

(NOTE: This Op-ed appeared on MSNBC on Feb 23, 2020, and was written by Jake Novak -- @jakejakeny --

How did an avowed socialist get to the top of the Democratic Party? He is supported by millions of younger voters who have been raised to support Bernie Sanders, even if their parents don’t realize it, writes Jake Novak.

- - -

With his convincing victory in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, Sen. Bernie Sanders is solidifying his status as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination more than ever before. So how did a life-long avowed socialist and someone who’s never actually won an election as a Democrat get to the top of the party’s mountain?

The simple answer is that he’s being supported by millions of younger Democratic voters, and those voters have been raised to be Sanders voters, even if their parents don’t realize it.

Here’s how it happened:

We convinced everyone college was 100% necessary, and then we made college unaffordable. Since the end of World War II, the chorus of educators, politicians, and journalists making it sound like college was essential for career success only became louder and drowned out any counterargument.

At the same time, college tuition costs have exploded thanks greatly to government programs that produced unintended, but predictable consequences. It mostly started in 1978 when more loans and subsidies became available to a greatly expanded number of students. The cost of college tuition has risen by six times more than the rate of inflation since the 1970s.

Now, millions of American young people are straddled with college loans that look impossible to repay. The total student loan debt in the U.S. now stands at more than $1.6 trillion.

Is it any wonder so many of them are attracted to a candidate who not only promises to forgive their student debts, but presents their predicament as the result of corporate greed and misplaced government priorities?

Luckily for Sanders, young voters supporting him for his college tuition forgiveness promises don’t seem to be too interested in his own family history. His wife Jane Sanders was president of the now defunct Burlington College and she and other administrators were reportedly the subjects of a long-running FBI probe that they misled bank loan officers about the real number of donations pledged to the college.

The FBI probe of the matter ended in 2018, and Jane Sanders was not charged. But the policies she oversaw, which included pushing for major campus expansions, were indicative of some of the root causes of increased college costs in America.

The establishment in both parties ignored young voters. As sacred as our politicians make college education sound, it’s nothing compared to the way leaders from both parties talk about programs for older Americans like Social Security and Medicare.

None of that is a mystery, as older Americans have always been more likely to vote. Even though voters aged 18-29 have been showing increased turnout numbers in recent elections, senior citizens still stand atop the heap. In 2016, 71% of Americans 65 and older voted compared to just 46% of 18-29-year-olds. In the 2018 midterms, that gap narrowed to 66% to 36%, but it’s still a wide gap.

All of this focus on older voters and their retirement funds is a nice sentiment but it’s misplaced. Older Americans aren’t just doing okay. A 2017 study of age-based wealth in the U.S. shows that a typical household headed by an adult 65 and older has 47 times the net worth of a household headed by younger Americans. Yep, Papa and Granny are loaded.

Now, helping older people who happen to be poor or on the margins of poverty is something different. But the cultural assumption many of us have about elderly folks needing more financial help in America is pretty much the opposite of the truth.

Throw in the Affordable Care Act, which literally and foolishly leaned on younger and healthier Americans to foot the bill for covering older and sicker people, and you see a pattern here.

Sanders talks plenty about Social Security, and he’s obviously a senior citizen himself. But he usually expands his campaign promises to include younger people, as he did when he took the lead on the Medicare for All promise in 2017.

We told them America’s house was on fire. For all the policy differences and political minutiae Democrats delve into when criticizing President Trump, the most enduring attacks on Trump from the Democratic establishment remain accusations that Trump is supporting white supremacy and is controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

These are over-the-top accusations, and it’s hard to accept that even most elected Democrats actually believe them. But pushing that message on America for the last three-plus years comes at a price for both sides.

For the Democrats, the price is becoming clear: it’s made moderate presidential candidates look less viable than ever.

Think about it: if you really believe the president is a traitor and supporting violent plots against non-white Americans, is this really the time to support mainstream Democrat or Republican candidates?

Sanders may be a career politician, but he’s never been a mainstream politician. His persona and political brand fits much better into the current Democratic narrative that we’re living in desperate times.

ESTABLISHMENT DEMOCRATS ARE REAPING WHAT THEY SOWED

As a result, it’s looking more and more like Sanders has unstoppable momentum going into the Super Tuesday primaries and beyond. The big question now is whether that Democratic establishment will try to derail Sanders before or during the Democratic National Convention.

But either way, the party would be playing with fire and risking alienating those younger voters forever.

- - -

Jake Novak is a political and economic analyst at Jake Novak News and former CNBC TV producer. You can follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.

royexum@aol.com


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