Sanders fan says races are unprecedented

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Granted, I’ve not been back to Costa Rica in three years. But I still keep tabs on what is going on via A.M. Costa Rica, the “other” on line newspaper, several Facebook community forums in which I participate, reading La Nación daily, and regular snail mail correspondence with two Tico friends who keep me apprised of how their countrymen view what is happening up here in the States.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am actively involved in Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the White House. I have been on the front lines of mobilizing voter support in states as diverse as Louisiana and Michigan, where Sen. Sanders scored a major and important upset victory over Hillary Clinton March, 8. I’ve worked in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, where Sanders scored big victories in three of those four New England states. Sanders lost to Mrs. Clinton in my home state of Massachusetts by barely 2 percentage points, despite the fact the state’s powerful Democratic party establishment was solidly behind Mrs. Clinton.

I want to tip my hat to all the Democrats Abroad in Costa Rica who, in their “primary,” demonstrated solid support for Sen. Sanders over Mrs. Clinton.

But beyond the Bernie/Hillary race, what is so compelling about this presidential election cycle is that so much of what is happening is, truly, unprecedented, especially in relation to the way in which both major party establishments are seeing their authority and primacy challenged by their respective bases.

On the Democratic side, the resentment and frustration over what the base sees as a blatant bias on the part of the so called liberal media for Hillary Clinton is reaching the boiling point. No matter what primary or caucus Sanders prevails in, the liberal media continue to perpetuate the myth that he faces a never ending tough road ahead, and that Mrs. Clinton’s massive lead in the delegate count makes it all but impossible for Bernie to ultimately prevail in his quest for the nomination.

There is just one problem with that meme. Mrs. Clinton’s big edge in the delegate count is not the result of delegates won via the popular vote or primary and caucus victories. It is the result of the existence in the Democratic party of so called super delegates. Such delegates are members of the powerful party establishment who pledge their support to the candidate of their choice before a single popular vote is even cast. As in 2008, Mrs. Clinton started out this election cycle with a significant majority of those several hundred self anointed super delegates pledging their support to her. She was, after all, the Democratic candidate all the conventional wisdom said was not only inevitable as the party’s standard bearer, but some how entitled to that honor as well.

The emergence of Bernie Sanders as the political force that he has become, however, has turned that conventional political wisdom on its ear.

Nearly 80 percent of Democratic primary voters have yet to go to the polls. For the liberal media to continue to minimize that political reality and perpetuate the meme about Hillary being inevitable as or entitled to be the nominee is to ignore history and to insult the intelligence of rank and file Democrats in ways that are as offensive and foolhardy as the Republican establishment’s treatment of its base has been in recent years.

That treatment has cost the Republican party dearly, and allowed for the emergence of a dangerous, narcissistic, demagogue like Donald Trump to emerge on the scene and threaten the stability of not just the US, but perhaps even the world.

What is happening in the Republican party, as the right wing Frankenstein monster the party establishment nurtured, coddled, and enabled for tawdry political gain for decades, and foolishly thought it could control, runs amok through the land, is not just unprecedented. It is frightening.

The party my maternal grandfather took such pride in, the party that once produced leaders and public servants of the caliber of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, Dwight Eisenhower, Margaret Chase Smith, Edward Brooke, Nelson Rockefeller, George Herbert Walker Bush, John McCain, and Sandra Day O’Connor, has, tragically, devolved into the party of crackpots and miscreants like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Congressmen Louie Goehmert and Steve King, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and, of course, Donald Trump, a man who gives a whole new meaning to what the comedienne Rose Anne Barr called “white trash with cash” way back in the 1990’s.

So, my fellow Americans in Costa Rica, pay close attention to what is happening up here in the country so many of you, be ye liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, love to bash and denigrate, because what is happening is truly unprecedented and is going to impact your lives down there in the land of the mythical pura vida in ways many of you probably cannot yet imagine.

Especially if Das Donald or Señor Cruz should prevail in November.

Michael Cook
Gloucester, Massachusetts

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