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I’m For Bernie

| March 13, 2016

bernie sanders gainesville

Bernie Sanders in Kissimmee Thursday. (c Marjorie Casey)

I should note right off that even though I’m for Bernie Sanders–he had me at Jewish–I’m saying so without a voice at the polls March 15, as Florida is one of those closed-primary states that thinks nothing of shutting out a third of the electorate. I shouldn’t have to play games with my independence to exercise my rights. But American democracy rightly understood has always been a jigger of exclusion.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive I’m also noting my Sanders allegiance mostly as I would to a priest in the confessional, to seek absolution for having once been a Clinton man. Also, to save time and seek advance absolution for again becoming a Clinton man later this year, because there’s unfortunately no question that Hillary Clinton will beat Sanders.

And absent some mass shift in the psyche of the American people that only Fox Mulder could explain, she will trounce whichever exhibit makes it out of the Republican burlesque we’ve been witnessing. The Republicans have already self-destructed. The next eight months are about managing the salvage yard and trying to keep the Senate Republican, assuming there’ll be such a thing as a Republican Party as we’ve known it. So the question isn’t whether Clinton will win, but by what margin. If she wins by less than double digits, Canada or Mexico (or Greenland, assuming its ice doesn’t melt before the mortgage is paid off) will still look more attractive than America’s increasingly nazified electorate.

I don’t consider Clinton a crook, as the pulp narrators have it, or the murderer of Benghazi–anymore than Reagan was the mass-murderer of Beirut or Bush the mass-murderer of Lower Manhattan and Arlington, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and so on. But she is a Clinton, and Clintons are sleazy. For a while I thought she’d escape it. She was the first First Lady since Eleanor to be more than a flower pot in her husband’s frames (the death of Nancy Reagan reminded us what a fashion show she was in comparison), and her liberalism at one time seemed more Bernie than Bill. But when she couldn’t fight her husband anymore, she joined him. She’s always had a thing for secrecy. Her stint as Secretary of State was unremarkable. That she would boast of her friendship with Henry Kissinger suggests her moral compass is disturbingly similar to a plunger. And she’s been little short of Monica Lewinsky to Goldman Sachs while trading on her blue dresses for the Clinton Foundation. Nothing criminal, but sheer sleaze. And poor Chelsea, she’s not only the daughter of sleaze, she upped and married the son of a sleaze.

Sanders has issues. For starters, his age is a problem. He’ll be 75 by Election Day, five years older than Reagan when he was elected. Sanders doesn’t seem like the nodding-off type, but four years is a long time on the lee side of life. Of course, Clinton is not far behind, and better age than the sort of juvenilia we’ve had from the GOP’s younger (and older) set. Methuselean streak aside, Sanders is basically a straight-shooting Donald Trump minus the narcissism, the vulgarity, the bigotry, the vigilantism, the bad hair. Sanders also has 35 years of government experience (mayor, House member, U.S. Senator), to Trump’s zero, Cruz’s three and Rubio’s no-shows. A socialist? Please. Every Floridian gorging on Medicare, Social Security, the mortgage-interest deduction and every tax credit under the sun is more of a socialist than Sanders has yet to be.

What scares his detractors are his tax plan, which would restore more responsible rates on the rich after three decades of borrowing our wealth (though his 52 percent top marginal rate on the wealthiest 0.01 percent is puny compared to the 90 percent rate under Eisenhower, or the 70 percent rate that prevailed on incomes as “low” as $107,000 through 1980. Sanders’s leaving the rate unchanged for anyone earning less than $250,000 seems awfully generous). Also scary to the insurance oligarchs is his Medicare-for-all health care plan. I don’t dispute that the plan is “puppies and rainbows,” as Ezra Klein put it. It’s unspecific, it’s unrealistic and it’s more costly than he says. But it’s also how tax cuts and wars and selling off the nation to business have been handled for the past 35 years. At least Sanders’s puppies and rainbows have the right priorities. If we can spend $2 trillion on losing wars, we can certainly spend $1 trillion on curing a private-insurance scheme that amounts to the single-costliest fraud on the American public. I’d rather pay my health costs in fair taxes than in tubercular premiums and punishing deductibles.

Submission to convention means liberals should vote Clinton and be done with it. But I’m tired of political realism. It’s another form of sleaze. Sanders can’t win. But it’s not just about the win. There’s meaning in margins. Sanders voters remind us that having a conscience in government isn’t yet a lost cause. Clinton’s conscience could use the memo.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.

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36 Responses for “I’m For Bernie”

  1. Linda Sparda says:

    Im not participating in presidential election. I give up. This isnt my country anymore.

  2. Fredrick says:

    “But I’m tired of political realism.” . So is the republican party and those non republicans supporting a lunatic like Trump. Thus his continued popularity. If it takes putting him in office to keep the people motivated to get rid of the do nothing people that represent us on both sides in Washington then let’s do it.

  3. Mark says:

    You’ll be voting for sleaze before it’s over.

  4. YankeeExPat says:

    From the Florida Chamber of Commerce website:


    August 24, 2015 | Important Updates

    Nearly 27 percent of Florida’s voters are registered as No Party Affiliation (NPA) or with minor parties like the Green, Libertarian or Tea Party. The combined total of NPAs and minor party voters outnumber Democrats or Republicans in 11 Florida counties including Broward, Miami-Dade and Orange.

    If voter trends continue and the diversity of Florida’s population keeps growing, the NPA and minor-party electorate could become as influential as Republicans and Democrats.

    What will that mean for Florida’s closed primary system?

    I can tell you in the here and now, as an NPA the closed primary system leaves me with Diddly- Squat to fully engage in the political process in “The Sunshine State”. As it stands now as an NPA I’m represented as essentially Three-Fifths of a Citizen!

  5. confidential says:

    NPA’s mostly vote Democrat in Florida in the General Elections. So probably Clinton will be nominated because I think my favorite Bernie is in shaky grounds now, as the old hard core south Democrats see him as an Independent turned Democrat to have a better chance. Only a miracle I believe could give us Bernie nominated.
    Why I don’t favor Hillary, first of all because she was already a first lady, a senator and secretary of state, she should have gone home to care for granddaughter as her closeness with Wall Street concerns me and as I perceive her crusade to become POTUS, a bit too much ambition bordering the greedy. I would have asked her, please give a chance to someone new specially like Bernie that has been fighting for justice since the times to be handcuffed during our civil rights past demonstrations. Hillary would have made a great Vice and save herself for the next time around in 2024. That would have been a double take for the DEMS. I may be wrong as nothing is 100% sure in anything, but I firmly believe that the madness created by Trump in his rallies based in aggressive rhetoric may have concerned quiet few of his original supporters and for sure with all the minorities: Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, other legal immigrants and all of us compassionate about the children of the good illegals born in USA , women, elderly, health cared uninsured without all those votes, and just only the white and hard racist votes he can’t win. But also maybe, you and me can err too. Time will tell. Meanwhile I ask everyone no matter the affiliation, please register and VOTE!

  6. sid swartz says:


  7. Veteran says:

    You are assuming the FBI won’t recommend she being indicted. Of course if they do it will go no further than that. I have listened to testimony from Joanna Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey, two of the women sexually abused by Bill. Hillary personally threatened both of them and proceeded to destroy their lives. Both said Hillarys treatment of them was worse than the sexual abuse. Now that is one evil woman. Bernie is a whack job who will try to make the US into Europe. Maybe the top 1% will pay their fair share, but you and I will be paying at least double. It’s the only way his programs will work. I am a republican, so I will vote for whoever gets the nomination. If I were independent my vote would not go for Hillary or Bernie!

  8. confidential says:

    @ Linda. Too bad that our USA seems not to be your country anymore because believe me, is the best still you can get allover this world, please reconsider. Just imagine yourself in reality anywhere else right now. Though I was not born in America, as a legal immigrant of a life time ago, I dearly love our USA “my home sweet home”
    Let me tell you why… today as many of daily happenings and only in this land that I love an elderly man next to me in homedepot about 3 hours hours ago, came running to the register and gave the cashier a thick wallet telling her I found it outside probably the owner will be looking for it..hopefully, he said!! He just didn’t even got enough far walking hurried away when a young fellow and his wife and kids showed up concerned about if someone turned in a wallet…all while I am trying to pay for my digging shovel…I waved my head on a yes to the smiling employee kind excuses for the interruptions, while she looked at the photo ID on the wallet that matched the young family fellow, happy and appreciating all for his wallet found. I felt like running inside and reach again myself to the unnamed elderly American gentleman and appreciated him his honesty and kindness as that wallet as the owner showed us in an thank you mood, was thick with currency. This is the America and its people that we all want to preserve no matter what we see in the news day in and day out in these sad political campaigns and the only way to do it is… by getting out and Vote.

  9. Tired of it says:

    The only way our country will get straightened out is by getting rid of the Obama mentality. That means anyone but a Democrat!

  10. Lin says:

    If one of us non libs said “you had me at Jewish,” we’d be branded racist. And I think Larry David does a better Bernie than Bernie — but there is something earnest about him that’s attracting followers. It’s funny that when he talks revolution it’s wonderful but coming from the other side it’s dredge up every murdering politician from history. Speaking of murderers, Hillary isn’t just unremarkable as Secretary of State, she was the architect of that failed Libyan policy which, along with the ignoring of pleas for help from the Ambassador and staff and then the lies about the cause to the family and American people — video? Right. But I digress.

    So, a few months ago I opened up the Teamsters Union magazine and there’s a nice picture of Bernie and a story about his support of the KOPP, — Keep Our Pension Promises Act. Thank you Bernie. He got a little more cuddly to me. The unions are permitted to cut pensions by huge amounts (40% in the case of our own) with no accountability to those who contributed through their salaries thanks to the omnibus budget 2014. This reminds me of the Social security and Medicare comments above — no, they are not entitlements. We paid for them — forced payroll deductions for many decades. And no cost of living increases because there is no inflation. By the way, Trump is for no social security cuts. I don’t understand why Bernie and Trump don’t just take off the cap on the income that is subject to SS taxes — seems like it would help the insolvency caused by mismanagement of both parties in the SS pyramid scheme.

    But I can’t be for Bernie until he tells me how he plans to pay for all his gimmies like free education for all
    And explains how his socialism will work better than the Soviet Union, Greece, Italy etc.
    None of his numbers work.
    And as long as our growth is at 0%, so many Americans are poor and out of work, our deficit is multiplying out of control, our border is unsecured, our immigration laws aren’t going to be enforced, I can’t vote for him.
    And call me whatever you want, I’m nobody’s man or woman.
    Our government is a mess because it doesn’t solve problems.
    Just divide and conquer and pick up the spoils (money and votes).
    I look at Europe’s problems with open borders and socialism and say we are behind them maybe 10 years.

    I wish I could put some of Bernie and mix it with the money expertise of Trump and make myself a candidate.

  11. mw says:

    I got a news flash for you Pierre. Trump voters will show up at the polls and vote. He is not a stiff shirt like Romney or Hillery.

  12. Joey says:

    Like I’ve been saying for years when it comes to elections. Who gives a shit.

  13. Joe says:

    Nice to know democrats will win the presidency.

  14. Liberal Love says:

    anyone who looks up bernies tax proposals show that he would lower the tax rates for working folks. and I

  15. Sherry says:

    Here’s why nothing is getting done in Washington and why we need to clean our Congress and the state houses! Take a moment to really comprehend the depth of Congressional obstruction in the past 7 years by reading this excellent article:

    Leonard Pitts Jr.: The Republican Party is an incoherent mess
    LEONARD PITTS JR. | Miami Herald Mar 6, 2016

    “If he was for it, we had to be against it.”
    — Former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, quoted in “The New New Deal” by Michael Grunwald
    The “he” is President Obama. The “we” is the Republican Party. And it is not coincidental that as the former pushes toward the end of his second term, the latter is coming apart.

    The GOP is an incoherent mess. Republican-on-Republican rhetorical violence has become common. Party members find themselves mulling whether to break away and form a third party or unite behind a coarse, blustering bigot whose scapegoating and strongman rhetoric has Holocaust survivors comparing him to Hitler.

    The situation is so objectively and transparently grim that many on the right no longer even bother to spin it. “I’m a lifelong Republican,” tweeted historian Max Boot last week, “but (the) Trump surge proves that every bad thing Democrats have ever said about GOP is basically true.”

    “It would be terrible,” wrote Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens last week, “to think that the left was right about the right all these years.”

    But it can be argued Trump is less the cause than an inevitable effect of the party’s looming disintegration. It can be argued that what’s really destroying the Republican Party is the Republican Party.

    The popular storyline goes that voters are seeking political outsiders this year in their frustration over a government where the legislative gears are frozen and nothing gets done.

    What that storyline forgets is that this gridlock was by design, that GOP leaders held a meeting on the very evening of the president’s first inauguration and explicitly decided on a policy of non-cooperation to deny him anything approaching a bipartisan triumph.

    The party followed this tactic with such lockstep discipline and cynical disregard for the national welfare that in 2010, seven Republican co-sponsors of a resolution to create a deficit reduction task force voted against their own bill because Obama came out for it. They feared its passage might make him look good.
    In the book quoted above, Michael Grunwald distilled the GOP’s thinking as follows: “As long as Republicans refused to follow his lead, Americans would see partisan food fights and conclude that Obama had failed to produce change.”

    Republicans and their media accomplices buttressed that strategy with a campaign of insult and disrespect designed to delegitimize Obama. With their endless birther stupidity, their death panels idiocy, their constant budget brinksmanship and their cries of, “I want my country back!” they stoked in the public nothing less than hatred for the interloper in the White House who’d had the nerve to be elected president.

    And the strategy worked, hobbling and frustrating Obama.
    But as a bullet doesn’t care who it hits and a fire doesn’t care who it burns, the forces of ignorance and unreason, grievance and fear the Republicans calculatedly unleashed have not only wounded the president. No, it becomes more apparent every day that those forces have gravely wounded politics itself, meaning the idea that we can — or even should — reason together, compromise, form consensus.
    There is a sense of just deserts in watching panicked Republicans try to stop Trump as he goose-steps toward coronation, but it is tempered by the realization that there’s far more at stake here than the GOP’s comeuppance.

    This is our country we’re talking about. This is its future we choose in November. And any future presided over by “President Trump” is too apocalyptic to contemplate. Yet, the possibility is there, and that’s sobering.

    It is bad enough the Republicans may have destroyed themselves. One wonders whether they will take America with them.

  16. Ron says:

    Not surprise. Liberals are what is wrong with this country. If it’s free it’s for me attitude. Trump for President!

  17. Geezer says:

    I’m not counting Bernie out just yet. Hopefully he’ll pull this out in a squeaker.
    I’m going to keep sending my modest contibution$ until the end.

    Is Bernie too old? He’s sharper than people half his age. He just needs a good
    running mate who will carry out his policies if he can’t finish his term. (this can
    happen to anyone, any age)
    He’s not too old in my humble opinion. He’s got experience!
    His net worth is about $700,000. I like that he’s not an out-of-touch millionaire.
    Hillary Clinton is a big phoney rich arrogant snot,. Donald Trump is genuine in comparison.
    (he’s a genuine ass****) No surprises here. He’s WYSIWYG.

    If Hillary gets the nod, Election Day is going to suck for me.
    But staying home isn’t an option, as an American.
    It’s a privilege to vote, folks.
    I’m going to have to do a lot of soul-searching and research in the days leading
    to voting day if Pompadour Head and MIss Unlikable run against each other.
    Maybe I’ll stock up on Emetrol during this terrible time.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Bernie, even if my fingers won’t snap back into
    their normal place. I am however, reserving ONE finger for Donald Trump and a
    clothespin for my nose if Hillary (Miss Unlikable) gets the nomination.


    “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings…”
    –Some really smart sportscaster

  18. Brian says:

    So Pierre comes out for the Communist Bernie – what a shock!

  19. TBG says:

    “he had me at Jewish”

    As a Christian can I be allowed to NOT VOTE for him for the very same reason?

    I suspect not Pierre, because you as a Jew, think you have by right of being among the self pronounced chosen ones inherit the right to be an unapologetic religious bigot and condemner . Radical Islam much?

    Everybody is listening.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      TBG, daaahlin’, like you I am alas a Christian, born and bred (or bread as the case may be), and what’s worse, a Catholic, an original sin with which I had nothing to do (what free will did I have as an infant dunked by the scrawny hands of the priest In baptismal waters that November, just as LBJ was celebrating his landslide over Goldwater?) but for which I have been trying to atone since gaining my liberty from the nuns and priests who raised me. Anyway dear, I love Sanders for his Jewishness because I wish I were Jewish, but also for the same reason that I love him for what he stands for. His Jewishness is an added bonus in a way that, looking back on 225 years of Christians in the White House (I exclude Jefferson, our last atheist president and, naturally, among the greatest), Christian pieties haven’t always translated into the kind of politics the guy from the Sermon on the Mount could have stomached voting for. Obama has been quite good (I’d vote for him a third time given the chance) but as we all know he’s a Muslim.

  20. Geezer says:


    I read your comment and immediately thought of these words:

    “As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs
    wisdom and honor. The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the
    heart of the fool to the left. Even as fools walk along the road, they lack
    sense and show everyone how stupid they are.”
    –Ecclesiastes 10:1-3

    “We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least
    instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary
    is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish,
    and perhaps above all, more stupid.”
    ― Christopher Hitchens

    Pick one.

  21. Valerie says:

    Hillary has too many conflicts of interest with her foundation and the huge contributions and favors she, Bill, and Chelsea have received. She cannot be truly impartial nor a fighter for the majority because she is too far removed.

  22. YankeeExPat says:

    Mazel tov Pierre! More than a decade ago I wore a Saint Peter’s College football jersey… (Jesuits no less) on casual Friday at my Jacksonville employers office. Sticky out like the prodigal son in a heavily Southern Baptist workplace, I was very matter of fact questioned by a district manager if as a Catholic was I actually an American citizen or was my loyalty to the Vatican. I would go on to vote for G.W Bush and then Obama, while he went on to embezzle from the firm and relocate to Texas.

  23. r&r says:

    To vote for anybody other than Trump in insane.

  24. jasonb says:

    This atheist will be voting for Bernie.

  25. Robert says:

    To PT: I enjoy reading your columns…it shows me just how narrow minded you are. You were scarred for life because you had your forehead wet at 1-3 months old? And you remember this? Incredible! I find it laughable the way people like you always want to blame Christians/Catholics for all your troubles in life. Truly laughable. Also, you mentioned how you “wish you were Jewish.” In this Country, people are allowed to convert their forced youth religion to any other religion they want…what’s stopping you? At fifty-two years old, you should be able to make adult decisions, like a real man.

  26. confidential says:

    Have to agree with Pierre this time!! Seven years of our good POTUS dealing with the greatest shameful obstructionism in the history of our country!! In spite that a head GOP old obstructionist ridiculously
    promesing to make Obama one term POTUS!! Ha,ha do not tinker with the People’s choice old decrepit dude!

  27. Obama 2016 says:

    I am so tried of hearing about Free stuff . I am still waiting on my Obama check. Check the mail box each day and still nothing..

    Sanders wants to change the dynamic. Why is it ok to spend billions on tax breaks for companies that don’t create american jobs and unjust wars but when it comes to making our country healthy, educated and infrastructure strong it’s socialism?

    What is it going to take for the supporters of the Republican party to realize that in the past 40 years the things that made America Great has been eroded by law after law, “trade” agreements and has cost them their pensions, access to healthcare and social security, their children’s future and most importantly their jobs?

    Obama has been in the White House for 7 1/3 years and we have a better healthcare system, cheaper gas with American Made Energy that is now heading toward leading the world, dead terrorist and dictators, a strong auto industry , a high deportation rate and an economy that is creating good jobs (not great but they are starting) . When was the last time a Republican President did that? If Trump or Cruz had that record would they run on it?

    I am supporting Bernie Sanders because he is the real deal. He is the American dream. Poor like me, fights for the little person like me and now a candidate for President for me.

    Just remember.

    Bernie Sanders isn’t a millionaire with 3 divorces and million’s of dollars in bankruptcies and lawsuits. (Remember in bankruptcies, most small business never get paid because they aren’t usually the biggest collector). He also doesn’t support companies using his name and image and product made in China and Mexican apparel.

    Bernie Sanders isn’t under an FBI investigation, he doesn’t lie or “delete emails” and distort the facts about his record. He also doesn’t get paid for “speeches” and get paid thousands by Wall Street and big business.

    Bernie Sanders doesn’t accept money from SuperPacs or big donors he just asks me for $10 bucks a week.

    Bernie Sanders was arrested for fighting for Civil rights.

    Bernie Sanders was right about Iraq and the deregulation of wall street.

    Bernie Sanders is right about how to protect the 2nd Amendment and making sure lawful gun store owners and manufactures are protected. NRA gave him a D-.

    Bernie Sanders was right about NAFTA and other trade deals .

    Bernie Sanders has defendedAmerican troops and the American Worker and has called out Greenspan and men like Henry Kissinger to their face and in public.

    Bernie Sanders doesn’t want to be my president to be famous or to feed his ego, he wants to make things right and give people that work 40+ hours a week a chance again.

    Integrity is an important trait so I proud to vote for him. I hope you all do too.

  28. confidential says:

    Well said O 2016. I agree!
    All this BS of Free Stuff invented by GOP and racist KKK type!

  29. Makeitso1701 says:

    I find it amazing how many poorly educated,racist,low information people live in Palm Coast. I am talking about the Trump supporters, as I call them, Chumpsters. Trump is a con man, and he is appealing to these people because of the fact that they are low information voters.
    I am hoping Trump is the “republican”nominee, because either Hillary or Bernie will win by a landslide in November!!!

  30. Obama 2016 says:

    Oh yea.. Another point..

    I don’t know where he was when I was trying to get health care in ’93 and ’94,” a fired up HillaryClinton says of Sanders.

  31. Anonymous says:

    A Bernie Sanders presidency would be a repeat of the Jimmy Carter presidency–All the best of intentions from a decent and caring human being with no prayer of anything positive getting done while four years worth of negative events take their toll.

  32. Veteran says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  33. Anonymous says:

    What I like about Bernie is that unlike most all Ds he is honest about his dislike of this republic and what made it the great nation it became.

  34. just me says:

    FL says~~Florida is one of those closed-primary states that thinks nothing of shutting out a third of the electorate~~ it is NOT the state of Florida that is ‘shutting” out any voters but those voters who CHOOSE not to be part of a party. If you don’t want to be in a party fine BUT you should not get a vote in a party you want nothing to do with. kinda simple no??

  35. Optimist prime says:

    I’m scared, all I wanted was a family and a good job that I could provide for my family. Past years have yielded nothing toward that goal. I just wanna be free, love my neighbor, not eat ramen noodles for dinner. I want my kids to enjoy school , not fight with my wife about money and how to pay the bills. One single instance of comfort is what people in Americans are begging for. Just a chance to know that the money toward government isn’t being outwardly stolen. By corporate thieves. We’ve survived so many attacks against middle class. It doesn’t have to be this way. Please. Please, vote in consideration of fellow man, before the profits of few, become the loss of true, decent families.

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