I forget how I normally headline these. But here me out for a minute about this. I know we’ve got parties settled in the US. Enough people either vote democratic or republican that nothing ever changes. It’s like switching between coke and pepsi and wondering why, no matter which you drink, your blood sugar is still being ravaged. There is some logic to this I suppose, people think that no matter who they vote for that nothing will change.
I’ve talked about how voting for presidents doesn’t actually matter. This might be an oversimplification, likely is, but I still stand by it at least in theory. Presidents change every 4 or (more commonly) 8 years. The argument most people my parent’s age make is “politics never changes”. So we look at those two statements, politics never changes, presidents do change. From that you can extrapolate one of two likely explanations. The first is that the problem is not with the president. The second is that anyone who would be considered for president is likely carrying the same traits that made former leaders unpalatable.
We have not yet had strong evidence for one or the other. The biggest problem is that even among the best presidents the US has had, each has had a very topsy turvy political career. There are a handful (sometimes bucket full) of decisions they made that can generally be looked at as pretty awful. Bills that hurt education, racially motivated nastiness, sexism, sacrificing thousands of American lives for profits or egotism, etc. I think Obama is a nice fella but at the end of the day he does appear to be a politician. It is very unlikely that he would get on camera during his presidency and just bluntly say “Look at these fuckers changing the entire contents of a bill before passing it!” For whatever reason putting an eye on congress seems to be outside of the wheel well of Presidents. That particular omission is why I find them largely useless.
Bernie Sanders does appear to be a human being first and a politician second. If ever there has been a person running for President that seems like a consistently swell fella, Sanders is that person. So what I’m proposing is that we finally figure out which of those two statements above is the case. If Sanders is elected and he falls into the same bullshit that Obama (and all presidents before him that I’m aware of) did, then we know. That job position just creates a thrall out of people. After that folks can just vote for whoever. Slap a random name in there. If Craig from Staples wants to be President it is probably fine.
If Sanders keeps being who he is then that’s great news. We now know that the President is not a doomed position. Sanders would very likely point an eye to congress and perhaps folks would then start notice who is at fault for a lot of their ills. I would argue that a mirror would also help, but it is difficult to keep up with people whose jobs and lives are political puppetry. What is most fortuitous about this experiment is that all possible outcomes are educational. We either find out that the position is corrupt and stop wasting our time on Presidential races. Perhaps then focusing on congressional races (as they are the lawmakers and most people are upset about what is law). Or, we find out the position is not corrupt, and we start looking for the actual source of the corruption. Focusing then on the congressional races (yada yada).
You might note that I have not mentioned the Judicial Branch. Short of some major change, that I think would require a constitutional amendment, that particular problem is likely not to be resolved. If anything I’d say the general trend of people towards education and peacefulness over generations means that eventually the Supreme Court will not have any members that say surprisingly hateful things publicly (or ideally privately, but I’m less concerned about that). That branch will always like a pet store display cage. Watching justices try and relate to the passing generations is a thing of marvel. When they talk about modern technology as if it is made from arcane dust and the dreams of kittens.
When we all know that those are both inert without crystallized unicorn tears for power.