Would President Sanders’ Agenda Be D.O.A. in D.C.?

The idea of a President Sanders has really grown on me. So much so that a couple of weekends ago I went door to door in Woodsville, NH talking with undecided primary voters about how much we “Feel the Bern” over on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River. It was clear that the folks who were voting for Bernie were solid in their support, but the Hillary voters were open to giving Bernie a second look. Anecdotal evidence, but it sure seems to be supported by Bernie’s continued surge in the polls.

So,  if Bernie can win New Hampshire and has a shot at Iowa, then maybe this long-shot candidate could actually be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States of America. Let’s assume that happens, and President Sanders is sworn in a year from today. The question on my mind, really the only major hesitation I have about his candidacy: How could the Sanders agenda survive the grid-lock on Capitol Hill?

Let’s look at what happened to President Obama’s Hope and Change agenda. With a Democratically controlled congress he managed to just barely pass the Affordable Care Act. Then in 2010 the House was taken over by Tea Party Republicans who have spent the last five years voting to repeal the ACA over and over and blocking almost every other major piece of the Obama agenda. Immigration reform? Nope. Gun control? Bwahahaha. You get the idea.

So what would be different about a President Sanders? He wants to go to a “Medicare For All” healthcare system. He wants to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. He wants to put trillions of dollars into rebuilding roads and transforming energy infrastructure to renewables. It’s a dream agenda for so many of us, but the cynic in me keeps saying, “Use your head, it’ll take a political mind with cunning who is ten times as cut-throat as these Tea Party whackos to beat them at their own game.” You know which Democratic candidate for president that is.

There’s only one thing that could make Bernie Sanders’ political agenda reality in this crazy world: a political revolution. That’s exactly what he’s calling for and that’s exactly what we’re going to have to deliver in order to see some real hope and change.


About Mike McCarthy

I'm a guitar-playing Democrat living in Saint Albans, VT with my wife Steph and my daughter Molly. I represented Saint Albans in the VT House in 2013-2014. I care about good government, and a safe, healthier world for all of us. I work for an awesome solar company and love helping Vermonters re-power our communities.

15 thoughts on “Would President Sanders’ Agenda Be D.O.A. in D.C.?

  1. It’s a bit sad to hear a “guitar-playing Democrat” repeating the Republican Big Lie. Obama did not have a filibuster-proof Democratic congress for more than a few months. Ted Kennedy went to the hospital early in the Obama first year. After that, the Republic Party had the ability to filibuster the Senate, severely restricting Obama’ s ability to pass an effective single-payer healthcare reform package and many more pieces of his agenda. Still, would Bernie do better – I think not.

    1. Ken, which Big Lie? I think you I actually are equally skeptical of Sanders being more successful than Obama. I think that Bernie is right that it will take a political revolution (i.e. radically changing how congressional campaigns are financed) to get his agenda passed. He’s made it pretty clear that electing a President won’t fix Washington. Obama promised to bridge partisan divide and couldn’t. Sanders isn’t promising that at all.

  2. Well said, Mike! You might stroll on over to Vermont Digger and give Margolis an earful!
    His snotty post today sounds like it was written by the Clinton campaign.

  3. Sanders would have two advantages over Obama.

    First, he has an agenda that at least in major part would be supported by large numbers of people. $15 an hour? That would directly benefit every hourly worker in the country, whether or not they are presently below the $15 threshold. Likewise all the other kitchen table issues and his crosshairs on Wall Street.

    Second, he wouldn’t pre-capitulate like Obama. If Obama had been an actual progressive he would have pushed for single payer and compromised back to the public option. (The public option would have been Medicare for whoever wants it, and given the lower cost it would have evolved into de facto single payer.) He threw the public option overboard immediately and went for HeritageFoundationCare. And so on. Sanders would push for the utmost and get something.

    People will ultimately, sluggishly, but inevitably respond to someone who is actually fighting for them.

  4. “With a Democratically controlled congress he managed to just barely pass the Affordable Care Act. ”

    The process was, you may remember, hijacked by fellow Democrats, notably a network of ex-aides to Max Baucus (D-MT) who had migrated to work for HMO’s and Big Pharma before their thoughtful help in drafting important parts of the legislation.

    A Public Option was kicked around during summer 2010, with Howard Dean as point man, until it was summarily strangled in the fall by Rahm Emmanuel and other ex-Clinton operatives.

    And so we ended with Health Care insurance Reform. Which, in hindsight, may have been the intention all along.

    1. If Sanders should happen to be the nominee (he won’t), his pie in the sky ideas have zero chance in Congress. Republicans will hold an even larger majority in both the House and Senate in 2017. Much of it is due to the gerrymandering , which made sure Republicans will hold Congress for many years.
      Who in the right mind wants to pay MORE TAXES? The poor, the middle class and the high income residents will pay thru the teeth for his “ideas”. Nothing in the world is free. It all comes with a price, and his ideas are very very expensive. Get your resumes ready, apply for a 2nd or 3rd job, because you will need it. 57% taxes on the middle class? Are you kidding me? 90% for the high income? Do you think they are going to vote for him? The young want everything for free. They are the ones he buses into his rallies. Where are the seniors? Where are the blacks? Where are the Hispanics? He is the choice of low paid white workers. They alone cannot elect him. The young want him – free college, free healthcare. That way they can sit on the street corner and collect the food stamps, welfare, rent subsidized housing, and heat. It all comes from you – the working Mom and Dad.
      Think hard before you vote. It is your dollar. If you want to give up more than half of what you earn, vote Sanders.

      1. Irene, if you would listen closely to Sanders response to the loaded question about taxes, all but the filthy rich would save money under Sanders’ plan…because the insurance premiums we all currently pay to a parasitic industry (health insurance) would be replaced by the much more modest Medicare payment. With all the efficiencies available from universal coverage under Medicare, our overall cost should be cut in half.

        It is up to you whether you find it more attractive to pay into the for-profit
        interests of private health insurance companies, or into a much larger public
        pool with all the opportunities such a pool has for obtaining services, goods and even prescriptions at the discounts available for huge volume procurements.

        The only thing standing between American health service consumers and the savings and better outcomes already enjoyed by folks in other countries is voter apathy. Even with gerrymandering, we can change the makeup of the Congress, if we all turn out to do it.

        If we can’t do that much, we deserve the perpetual dysfunction that we continue to get.

        1. I am a senior on Medicare. My premium is taken out of Social Security – about $105. a month for each of us, and then we pay for secondary insurance to take care of co-pays and deductibles. That payment is about $400.00 per month for the two of us. So, about $600.00 per month.
          The $1.4 trillion dollars Sanders says he needs to start Medicare for all, is the bare minimum. Economists have written it will be more like $1.8 trillion. People will not save any money. It is going to cost them. This is for Primary Care. Who pays their dental? Who pays long term care? He says it will be coverage from birth to grave. Medicare recipients do not have dental or long term care. Terrible lies to the public. And the other point, no, it will not pass Congress. Do you think there will be a majority of socialists in the house and in the senate? Think again. Republicans and Democrats have the seats, and since Sanders is not a Democrat, he will not get this passed or free college, or any thing else. Nothing is free…the rich have worked hard for their money and allowed to keep it. 401K’s are going down the tubes, and now, in the major newspapers, Sanders is being blamed for wanting to break up banks and closing other financial institutions. Good luck. You will not have a retirement in the future should this continue.

          1. It’s your privilege to think nothing can be done to improve the efficiency of Medicare or to move the obstructions in Congress.

            I choose instead to embrace the possibility that we, like people in Canada, France, the U.K. etc. can have universal public healthcare
            at a lower cost and with better outcomes; and I choose to try and make that happen by casting my vote for a visionary with a long track record of finding ways to serve all the people of Vermont, not just those with whom he agrees.

  5. I do not agree with you at all. I am not a Socialist, as you obviously are…take from those that work, and give to those that sit around waiting for a handout. I am a Democrat and proud of it. Bernie is not a Democrat. Now, a rumor floating around…will he change his “Democrat Socialist” label to just “Socialist” if he gets to the White House? Leading economists say his figures are very wrong, and that the cost of universal healthcare will be much higher. Is that what you want? Doctors are fleeing Vermont and if this ever came to be, you will be without medical care, like the children of Franklin County are facing as pediatricians leave. Why does Sanders believe doctors should not be paid well for their services? He and Jane Sanders have certainly have been paid well by Burlington College, (oh, yes, there is the bank fraud US Attorney investigation, isn’t there), and the taxpayers of the United States, but doctors should serve their patients for peanuts. You are dreaming if you think you will have universal healthcare.

    1. If you support Social Security, Medicare and public education…you are a socialist, too. Bernie is just honestly identifying his belief in the social safety net created almost a hundred years ago in the U.S.

      You may agree with one set of economists. I agree with another, including former Labor Secretary, Robert Reich. I’ve listened to both sides of the argument and continue to agree with Bernie.

  6. Just read on Politico, that Bernie Sanders staffers took union pins and posed as UNION members in Las Vegas to gain access to union dining rooms in FOUR Las Vegas Hotels.
    Dirty, dirty, and Sanders says he plays clean? Tunnel vision Sanders is not the squeaky clean candidate for President you think he is…tunnel vision is not good.

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