My generation is full of Sanders supporters who are all too eager to tell you what’s what. Ask one and you will hear how Bernie will revive the American middle class. He will, if you didn’t know, make tuition at public colleges free. And he will take on Wall Street to boot.
Of course, assuming Sanders did somehow manage to win the country’s top job, it doesn’t make the policies he’s espousing any more a reality. As was pointed out on this website back in late August:
“..sorry Bernie but you aren’t going to be dealing with a progressive Congress. Political experts agree that because of the way congressional district are drawn, the next 3 election cycles (’16, ’18, ’20) are almost a lock for House Republicans. In other words, they will maintain their majority for the first six years of his 8 year limit. Second, even if the GOP loses the Senate in 2016, which is about a 50-50 proposition now, they will win it back no question in 2018. That Senate map is a repeat of the 2012 Obama victory, and it is strikingly similar to the situation the Democrats faced in 2014. The Party of Jackson is defending seats in Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana and West Virginia – all red states, and they are also defending seats in the swing states of Ohio, Virginia, and Florida, as well as Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, all of which are also possible pick ups given the fact it will be a midterm election which has a baked in GOP turnout advantage. Conversely, every seat the GOP is defending, which is only 8, is in a red state with the one exception of Nevada. Does anyone honestly think two years of a Bernie Presidency wouldn’t give the Republicans plenty to play off of, and drive out their base and frustrated moderates?”
Bernie won’t have a progressive congress under any circumstance. The Democrats have a 0% shot at getting 60 votes in the Senate and a very very low chance at winning back a House majority. These facts haven’t changed from a few months ago.
Any changes that can’t be done by executive order – such as altering tax rates, creating new entitlement programs, campaign finance laws, and so forth, will need the express approval of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and many of the other hundreds of congressional Republicans. Hell, it would be hard enough getting all the Democrats on board with some of Bernie’s more extreme proposals, let alone a single Republican.
So my question to Sanders supporters is – what’s next after he wins? Are you prepared to have Bernie slowly make marginal, mostly symbolic changes with his pen and phone like President Obama, all while this disappearing middle class keeps disappearing because those actions just won’t cut it? Or are you prepared to not get angry at Bernie when he strikes deals with the GOP to get things done? Maybe border security, a 20-week abortion ban, updated military technology, Social Security/Medicare retirement age increases, and corporate tax repatriations are examples of things Bernie could give Republicans in exchange for approving some of his policies. If Bernie offers nothing though, nothing will get done.
I only ask this question because it seems to rarely get answered, and I’m legitimately curious what they have to say. If Bernie Sanders becomes President, then what?