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Bernie Sanders’ official Senate photo is in the public domain

In the 2016 Democratic Party primaries, I was a supporter of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’s bid for the nomination. I contributed more to the Sanders cause than I have ever donated to a political candidate and I was outraged by the party’s shameless sabotage of his campaign.

In the election itself, I didn’t vote for either of the main candidates. I thought then, and still think, that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump was suitable for the job and that neither one would work for Americans’ best interests.

As I look at the currently popular Democrat memes, I see Sanders’ influence on the major talking points. Sadly some of those talking points have been twisted Sanders’ ideas into something poorer.

A prime example is the “punish the wealthy” taxes promoted by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kamala Harris.

Apparently neither one of them is familiar with the tax-avoidance capabilities of the wealthy who have a legion of accountants and attorneys eager to help them avoid every possible penny of taxes.

Worse, the potential increase in revenues is relatively paltry. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez claims her tax will bring in $870 billion over a ten-year period, assuming everybody plays nice.

Yes, that’s a lot of money, but what if the additional revenue was $2.2 trillion over a ten-year period?

That’s enough to cover the cost of repairing and rehabilitating the nation’s transportation infrastructure with a trillion dollars in change. That money could be devoted to things like free college tuition for every student with a STEM* major at a public university in their home state — every year.

How is this possible? Analysts estimate the financial transaction tax proposed by Bernie Sanders in 2012 would generate an additional $220 billion per year. Think of it as a sales tax on sales of stocks and bonds. The percentage Sanders proposed was very small; less than 1% on most transactions and as low as a half-percent on others.

In addition, a financial transaction tax would be a lot harder to dodge.

Bernie’s idea from seven years ago is still better than either punitive idea presented today.

Medicaid for all? Hillary Clinton had to be persuaded to make it an issue, yet it actually does make sense, not only because of the financial savings to the economy but the health benefits of people being able to seek health care when they need it instead of when they can afford it. There’s no reason Medicare couldn’t be configured to prevent abuses or to structure wellness and disease prevention programs through a separate channel that would free up doctors and nurses to treat the patients that actually need them. In addition, the program could be set up to ensure that nurses are actually compensated appropriately.

Yes, Medicare for all would mean that everyone would have to pay for it. But we all have to pay for it, anyway, in terms of high medical costs, lost productivity, the unnecessary spread of infectious disease such as colds and flu because sick people have to come to work to get paid, and so on.

Like a financial transaction tax, Medicare for all is a good idea and Bernie Sanders has been a champion of good ideas.

Until now.

Sadly, Bernie Sanders is toeing the Democratic Party line on gun control.

Bernie Sanders has never been what anyone might consider to be pro-gun. But he has been willing to consider issues. He voted in favor of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and I assume he believed it was the right thing to do.

In 2019, though, he has adopted the ill-advised agenda and is pushing for the same, tired “solutions” gun control fans have promoted for decades.

Worse, those representing him aren’t interested in opposing views. I can’t say for sure that Senator Sanders would refuse debate, but I can positively say that his staff and volunteers don’t seem to be interested.

After the 2016 elections, I left the Democratic Party after decades as a Democrat. I left party because of Bernie Sanders, but also because of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, superdelegates and the general attitude toward critics of how the party operates. I also left because the party had abandoned its core constituency and focused more on popular causes than bread-and-butter issues. In my view, the Republicans didn’t win in 2016. The Democrats lost and they deserved to lose. Not only did they lose the White House, they failed to get control of the Senate, which they were widely expected to win. In 2018, despite gaining control of the House, they lost more seats in the Senate, as fairly moderate Democrats were replaced by hard-line Republicans.

With the exception of Rick Scott, every new GOP Senator is rated “A,” or “A+” by the National Rifle Association. Scott used ot have an “A” but was downgraded to a “C” because of his actions following the Parkland shooting.

If Bernie Sanders isn’t open to debate, or at least to listen, I can’t support him. If he was willing to listen, he would, in my opinion, be the best of the current lot. He may be old, but he’s still got the fire; he’s still got the experience and he’s still got good ideas.

As it is, I asked them to remove my name from their contact lists.

*STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. These are all fields that need to be promoted and supported.

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