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Sanders Campaign Lacks Coherency, Compass

By Abraham Gross, Deputy Opinion Editor

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On Tuesday, the New York Daily News endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. The editorial seemed as much a rebuff of Bernie Sanders as an endorsement for Clinton, and for good reason. The Daily News’ interview with Sanders just a few days earlier rang alarm bells for many. Sanders has long been criticized for his weak foreign policy, but the interview poked holes in what has long been considered the candidate’s strong suit: his economic policy. Sanders’ platform is a populist facade, crumbling under the weight of a reality Sanders knows too little about.

It would be forgivable if Sanders did not know a simple statistic or disputed a projected outcome of a policy. But the interview exposed glaring holes in Sanders’s essential pitch to voters. When asked to describe exactly how he would break up the “big banks,” a prominent component of Sanders’s anti-Wall Street posture, the candidate caved. Sanders revealed that he was unsure which agencies even had the proper authority to regulate the banks, and in what capacity. The candidate said he suspected that Wall Street executives could be prosecuted for the 2008 recession, but pled ignorance on what laws they violated. The nucleus of Sanders’ campaign is a fury against an unjust system and a fundamental rebalancing of the economy — Sanders cannot justify his ignorance and lack of clear policy for core platform issues by saying he hasn’t “thought about it a whole lot.”

Sanders’s dithering performance, compared to Clinton’s detail-laden responses in an interview on Monday, reveals an essential truth: Sanders is in the business of peddling fantasy, not policy. An effective policy maker accompanies goals with the means to achieve them. Sanders promises free education, universal healthcare and minimum wage increases, but shirks at explaining how he’ll muster the bipartisan support to achieve even a fragment of his proposals. His record, or lack thereof, does not help his cause: in 2015, Sanders wrote exactly zero bipartisan bills and has a poor record of gaining cosponsors. Perhaps this is why Sanders has only mustered humble legislative victories in the past. These small achievements are achievements all the same, but they hardly cast a shadow on the grandiose reforms he now peddles.

Sanders has amplified his stump speech into a rallying cry for a more equitable society. His call to break up the “big banks” and fight the influence of “Wall Street” and the “billionaire class” harkens back to the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. And like the Occupy movement, Sanders has shown to be just as aimless. Much has been said about Donald Trump’s demagoguery, but Sanders is also guilty of plucking the discordant chords of rage rather than tuning his instrument and putting it to use. He has no melody, no harmony, no coherence at all — only the unlistenable din of a man with passion but without technique.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

Email Abraham Gross at [email protected]

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5 Comments

5 Responses to “Sanders Campaign Lacks Coherency, Compass”

  1. David on April 14th, 2016 1:14 am

    LOL

  2. Martial Dosda on April 14th, 2016 7:14 am

    American persons are highly dangerous.
    They have no discipline at all.I suggest to make them work 20 p.cent more and pay them 50 p.ceny less.Confiscation of their C.C is necessary.I see them departing for 50 years of Mao or Staline regime.
    …175 KCALORIES a day.Perhaps then their little children will be abble to incresase to 225 KC. It is little to think that they are nauseus.
    Reality is they belive no that it,s them who make me and mine suffer.
    Enough said, time of diet is here.Bouhhhh.

  3. Jessica Saab on April 14th, 2016 12:10 pm

    Referring to the NY Daily News’ interview with Sanders is already a mistake because that interview was riddled with mistakes on the part of the interviewers. Under the power of the Treasury Department through Dodd-Frank, the government CAN break up big banks if they are determined to pose a threat. Hillary Clinton herself said she would exercise this power TOO if the banks turned out to be a systemic problem. Now I don’t know if someone with the private interests like Clinton would ever determine them to be a “systemic problem” since big banks are some of her biggest financial supporters, but she said she would use that power too. It is something the U.S. Govt is capable of.

    The NY Daily News is also known to not be a reputable source and it is known to be biased towards Hillary Clinton, and in the transcript it is clear that the interviewers keep trying to render all of Sanders’ plans and answers as useless. They keep asking him objective opinion questions, which he says he doesn’t have the answers to because those aren’t his decisions to make, like in the case of the questions concerning Israel.

    I do agree that he needs to get more specific and detail the finer points to where everyone can understand them and visualize them and thus no longer be in such a confusion on how he’ll achieve anything he plans on achieving.

    Also, the US spends millions of dollars in so many other sectors that taking some of that to make US public universities free would be LESS of a radical plan than most people think. We collectively pay for thousands of military members living abroad across the world in our military’s thousand foreign bases and we don’t even bat an eye. Maybe if we reduced their rent allowance by just 25% even we’d save enough money to allot it towards public education which by now is a necessary prerequisite to participate in the job market in this country today.

    Give this article a read to see where the NY Daily News got their facts wrong and why that interview came out so botched:

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/bernie-sanders-daily-news_us_5704779ce4b0a506064d8df5

  4. Marlin Kisselstein on April 15th, 2016 7:55 am

    As we approach New York’s presidential primary it may be wise to revisit the direction establishment politics has taken this country
    http://www.slideshare.net/onesyrup23/moralbankruptcy

  5. Andy Zhang on April 16th, 2016 12:44 am

    Very much true. Although the NY Daily News fumbled on some facts, the fact is that Senator Sanders doesn’t have a plan. In terms of having a plan to “break up banks”, he truly doesn’t. He stumbled in explaining the basics of using Dodd-Frank’s Section 121 and the power it grants to the executive branch and the Secretary of Treasury. Additionally, to downsize banks requires the majority vote of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, as well as 2/3 of the votes of the 10 members of the FSOC, of which the Secretary of Treasury is only ONE single member. Given the staggered, 14-year terms, he wouldn’t be able to change this situation until 2022…and that’s assuming every single situation works out perfectly.

    And that’s not to mention that setting arbitrary limits for how big a bank should be is quite…arbitrary.

    His primary opponent, Clinton, focuses on closing the Volcker Rule loophole of Dodd-Frank, as well as imposing a risk fee on high-frequency trades and corporate risk-taking. The size of the bank wasn’t what caused the 2008 recession; it was excessive risk-taking that did. It doesn’t sound as flashy as “breaking up the big banks”, but it goes something like this:

    1. New fee for financial firms with more that $50 billion in assets
    2. Tighten Volcker rule designed to prevent banks from betting with their own money
    3. High frequency trade tax
    4. Penalize executives and employees and fine banks
    5. Penalizing banks includes whole financial sector
    6. Reinstate rules governing risky credit swaps and derivatives at banks
    7. Use the rules to downsize, reorganize and break up any financial institution that is too large and risky to be managed effectively. They may even FORCE THEMSELVES to downsize if they are unable to meet the harsh and strict regulations, as did GE Capital in the recent two years.

    The MUCH more detailed and intricate approach to a delicate situation that ultimately forces these financial institutions to downsize themselves in order to meet the new harsh regulations instead of having some people on a board and committee arbitrarily decide, “this bank is too big”…amazing, right?

    The sad thing is, Clinton’s plan doesn’t generate the excitement and hype that “BREAK UP THE BIG BANKS!!” does. Guess that is the sad life of a policy wonk like she is: thorough understanding of the law and how to implement it, but no catchy slogan to insert into her stump speeches. Sadly, passion these days trumps “I have a plan” when it comes to rallying. At least her voters still vote for her.

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