Friday, May 29, 2015

Outlier candidate Walker and mainstream candidate Sanders

Gov. Walker, photoCourtesy of
Photo of Sanders courtesy of
I had the disconcerting experience this afternoon of first reading yet another offensive quote by the not so mainstream Wisc. Gov. Scott Walker and then renewing my faith in humanity by reading  Juan Cole’s Informed Comment advising us on How Mainstream is Bernie Sanders. Turns out Walker is the outlier and Sanders is mainstream. And gosh, it would seem that the American people know the difference.

Back to Gov. Walker's quote: yes, Wisconsin's pride and joy outdid himself once again:

In an interview with conservative talk show host Dana Loesch, when asked about legislation he signed in Wisconsin in 2013 requiring women to submit to a mandatory ultrasound -- in some cases, meaning an invasive transvaginal ultrasound -- before getting an abortion, Walker said women should be forced to have ultrasounds because he thinks they are "just a cool thing."

After reading Walker's quote, I returned to Cole’s How Mainstream is Bernie Sanders with a huge sense of relief. Now you may have been under the impression, as the media would have it, that Sanders is kind of an odd ball, one of those kinky politicians who got elected by a weird twist of fate or whatever. Cole has news for you:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination, has trouble being taken seriously by the corporate media, what with him being a democratic socialist and all.

If you go to Google News and put in his name, you get headlines about him being nothing more than a protest candidate, or having “odd views,” or promoting “dark age economics.”

But Sanders’s positions are quite mainstream from the point of view of the stances of the American public in general. Of course, the 1%, for whom and by whom most mainstream media report, are appalled and would like to depict him as an outlier.

Sanders is scathing on the increasing wealth gap, whereby the rich have scooped up most of the increase in our national wealth in the past twenty years. The average wage of the average worker in real terms is only a little better than in 1970; the poor are actually poorer; but the wealth of the top earners has increased several times over.

Some 63% of Americans agree that the current distribution of wealth is unfair. And in a Gallup poll done earlier this month, a majority, 52%, think that government taxation on the rich should be used to reduce the wealth gap. This percentage is historically high, having been only 45% in 1998. But there seems to be a shift going on, because Gallup got the 52% proportion in answer to the question on taxing the rich both in April and again in May of this year.

Bernie Sanders’ position is that of a majority of Americans in the most recent polling!

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