Tuesday, April 26, 2016
The Democratic Party presidential primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, in the social media world anyway, has largely centered on the differing views of the two candidates on US domestic economic policy. Clinton represents the "New Democrat" wing of the Democratic Party and Neoliberalism (Reaganomics) while Sanders represents traditional Keynesian "New Deal" Democrats. As such it has sometimes included debates between Capitalism and Socialism, and Capitalism and Democratic Socialism.
But the campaign has also, to a lesser extent, become a debate about US imperial foreign policy. Clinton has always promoted a very aggressive, militaristic, imperialist, in some ways "Neocon" foreign policy. Sanders doesn't actually differ substantially, but enough to provide space for those with various non militaristic world views to enter the debate, as evidenced by the two social media memes I've reproduced above.
Among Sanders supporters there's also a debate about whether, if Clinton wins the nomination, they should vote for her, abstain, or register a protest vote for a third party such as the Green Party. Many Sanders supporters are talking about changing their voter registration to "Independent" after the primaries.
Given the stranglehold the two major parties hold on ballot access and the election process in general it's probably a better idea to try to reform the Democratic Party. I also think a major political party is the best way to unite the largest number of people and thereby amass the amount of power needed to counter the power of Capital. I, personally, stopped voting for New Democrats after the 2008 election, but there are still some Democrats worthy of the name I can vote for. Meanwhile, calling myself a lifelong Democrat, and repeatedly pointing out what the term "Democrat" is supposed to signify -- liberal economic and social views, and the party that represents the interest of the working class -- seems a better way to influence Democratic elected officials who don't seem to understand that.