The news reporter asked the man to play a game and name the person she was talking about, “The candidate is considered a political outsider by all the pundits. He’s tapping into the anger of the voters, delivers a populist message. He believes everyone in the country should have healthcare, he advocates for hedge fund managers to pay higher taxes, he’s drawing thousands of people at his rallies, and bringing in a lot of new voters to the political process. And he’s not beholden to any super PAC. Who am I describing?” Indeed, if you, dear listener, were asked this question, what would you answer? Jeb Bush? Marco Rubio? Ted Cruz? Maybe Hillary Clinton? The man, sat and thought for a moment with a curious look on his face and suddenly answered — "Donald Trump!” The woman, with a smile, shot back — “Wrong! The person I was describing was Bernie Sanders”.
Now, if you are like many across the country, you might be wondering what is going on. Who are these new candidates? These relative unknowns? Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump? An avowed socialist and an ultra-capitalist that are seemingly content on breaking many of the establishment’s rules. For instance, as long as many can remember, the top presidential candidates have been beholden to one special interest group or another. In fact, in order to rise to the highest of highs, many are forced to back a plethora of the same special interest groups that they would later be forced to pass judgement on.
In a recent article, the New York Times described Hillary Clinton’s rise from millionaire to megamillionaire, simply for talking. Now, if politics is a game of horse trading, of giving promises to potential donors in the future in exchange for cash today, you might have to ask yourself, what did Hillary promise? What was she selling? From the NYT article — "Mrs. Clinton’s own speechmaking was a veritable tour through high finance. She gave paid speeches at GTCR, the Chicago private equity firm that the Republican governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, helped found; Deutsche Bank, the German financial services conglomerate; and the investment bank Morgan Stanley, among other companies. Goldman Sachs alone paid Mrs. Clinton $675,000 for three speeches in three different states”. In fact, the article notes that — “ Together, Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have earned in excess of $125 million in speech income since leaving the White House in 2001, one-fifth of it in the last two years.”
Now, let’s compare that to Bernie Sanders, as the Independent did, and we can see that — “Hammering home his message that Hillary Clinton has sold her soul to Wall Street and America’s wealthy elite, Senator Bernie Sanders highlighted that he had a mere $1,867.42 in fees from three speaking engagements last year. And he gave it all to charity.” That’s right. The little money that he did earn was given away to help those less fortunate. Going one step further, Senator Bernie Sanders uses commercial airlines and flies coach. You know, the cheap seats. In fact, a massively popular internet meme shows Bernie, knowingly and unknowingly posing for pics while flying. To check it out, simply type in #SandersOnAPlane on Twitter or Facebook.
Going back to Hillary Clinton, Bloomberg wrote — “Hillary Clinton took more than 200 privately chartered flights at taxpayer expense during her eight years in the U.S. Senate, sometimes using the jets of corporations and major campaign donors as she racked up around $225,000 in flight costs. Clinton reported the travel in official filings with the Senate…. some of the companies whose planes she used included Coca-Cola Co., Citigroup Inc. and Saban Capital Group Inc.” Bloomberg does note that — “…the flights fell within congressional rules and were not out of the ordinary for senators at the time.”
Although Bloomberg did cite a possible “Republican line of attack….suggesting that she is out of touch with voters,” many have to stop and ask themselves — “Is is really that normal for the usual average joe to fly corporate jets?” How does that even work? You just call up the company president and ask to borrow the G7? Is there a special phone number to request company jet time? And speaking of being out of touch, the NYT noted in an article that, “Presidential hopeful Bernie Sand-ers… suggested that Mrs. Clinton’s speaking fee — typically around $225,000, was almost five times the median American household income”. That’s right, almost 5x. The article goes on to note that — “The attacks have become one of Mr. Sanders’s biggest applause lines in Iowa….And Repub-lican strategists are testing how to turn Mrs. Clinton’s speaking fees against her in an election defined by rising economic inequality and stagnant middle class wages.” Again, the article suggests as if it were only the Republicans who care (or don’t care, as some would say) about rising income inequality and stagnant middle class wages.
Speaking of worsening conditions across America, a recent story at the Kansas City Star noted that — “the Central States Pension Fund, which covers 400,000 participants, 220,000 of them retired…. The fund is so short of money, it will go broke in 10 years.” The article notes that the pro-posed cuts mean that, “the average pension loss was more than $1,400 a month.” The article ends by saying — “Jay Perry, a longtime member of Teamsters Local 41 who worked for Yellow Freight, now called YRC Worldwide Inc, said — “What’s happening to us is a microcosm of what’s going to happen to the rest of the pensions in the United States”. So, there we have it. Another ticking time bomb.
As America moves to nominate the next presidential hopefuls, the true character of the candidates is beginning to emerge. On one hand, the American people can feel and know something is wrong with the current state of things. One candidate is a flip-flopper. One candidate is a relative unknown on the national level. One candidate has millions listings on the search engines that denote the potentially criminal scandals they may or may not have been involved with over the years. And the rest? Well, are there any other serious candidates? On the other hand, in times of trouble, voters usually stick with the known, the dependable, be it for better or worse. It was overheard the other day, “America has more than 330 million citizens, and these three are they best they can come up with?”
So, what do you think dear listeners, “America has 330 million citizens, are these 3 the best candidates?”