Bernie Sanders brought his quixotic campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination to Sacramento yesterday, promising “real change” he knows he can’t produce.
Sanders has attracted a young following–many of them alleged to be the millennials coveted by Nevada County boosters of economic progress–by proposing a government-run health care system, along with free undergraduate college, enhanced Social Security, family and medical leave, and other goodies.
Basically, Sanders envisions making the United States more like European countries that provide a wide range of social services. That means we could be like Sweden or Germany–or more likely, Spain or Greece.
“The corporate establishment is getting nervous,” he told a crowd at Bonney Field in Sacramento. “The political establishment is getting nervous. And they should be getting nervous, because real change is coming.”
This message seems to resonate with many young adults. Julia Pollex of Davis told The Sacramento Bee she likes Bernie’s anti-establishment stance. “He’s like a real human being,” she said. “I really wasn’t into politics until Bernie came along.”
Many of her fellow Sanders supporters believe the Establishment is trying to squelch his rebellion by ignoring his message and downplaying his popularity. As local blogger Jeff “Podunk” Pelline points out, only KVMR among our local media covered the speech, a solid example of the Establishment trying to drown the Sanders movement.
Bernie hadn’t finished packing up his tent for tonight’s gig in Stockton before the Internet lit up with claims the mainstream media was downplaying the size of the crowd. At least one site claimed 20,000 were inside the stadium with another 10,000 outside.
Well, the only estimate I heard was from Sanders, who mentioned the figure 15,000 a couple of times in his speech. Bonney Field has a seating capacity of 11,445, and all of the seats were clearly filled. If you add in the people on the infield, there were probably more than 15,000 in the stadium. Sanders underestimated his own crowd, but then he isn’t particularly good with numbers.
The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute Health Policy Center, two well-known middle-of-the-road Washington think tanks, put a pencil to Bernie’s educational, health care and other proposals, and concluded they would create a deficit of $18 trillion, essentially doubling the national debt.
Now that’s what I call heart Bern.