Sanders pressures Democrats to adopt progressive stance

(By Deutsche Welle) With Donald Trump now the presumptive Republican nominee, attention is shifting to the Democratic race. The contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is more about the party’s values than about the nomination.

Even if Senator Bernie Sanders loses the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, he could well win the fight for the party’s future and have a major influence on the direction of US politics.

When Sanders launched his campaign last year, he was something of a political curiosity: an independent senator from the small state of Vermont and a self-identified democratic socialist.

Socialist is normally an insult in US political parlance.

But Sanders has proven to be a major political force since voting began in February. He has won 18 states and is about 300 pledged delegates shy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s lead.

The senator has mobilized a grassroots movement of predominantly young and working-class people. Since the start of his campaign, he has raised $182 million (160 million euros) from millions of individual small donors.

John Nichols, a reporter for The Nation magazine, has covered Sanders for 25 years. He said the senator would likely have enough delegates to contest the convention and pressure the center-left party to adopt a more progressive agenda.

“Some of the most interesting contested conventions have not been fights for the nomination,” Nichols told DW. “They have been fights to define the platform, values and program of a political party.”

The Nation, a progressive publication, has endorsed Sanders in the Democratic race. Continue reading

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Clinton: We have to ‘save capitalism from itself’

(Deutsche Welle) It was a substantive debate focusing on income inequality. Bernie Sanders has pushed the Democrats’ presidential nomination debate to the left, but Hillary Clinton showed that she won’t be relinquishing her lead soon.

It was a strange moment in American politics. Five presidential candidates were asked during a nationally televised debate on Tuesday whether they were capitalists. The answer is normally taken for granted in the United States.

Bernie Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, has shaken up the Democratic primary and rattled American political conventions. The self-declared democratic socialist has made significant gains against Hillary Clinton in early primary states and in the third quarter raised nearly as much money without the support big donors – $25 million (21.9 million euros) compared to Clinton’s $28 million.

“There is a mood this year in the electorate of a rejection of standard political discourse and standard political candidates,” Alan Schroeder, author of “Presidential Debates: 50 years of High Risk TV,” told DW. “Bernie Sanders has this message that’s resonating with a lot of people.”

His message is about income inequality and the system that produces it. Sanders has railed against the “billionaire class” and calls the campaign finance system “corrupt.” The senator points to Scandinavian countries, with their generous social welfare states, as role models for the United States.

While it might be the year of the political outsider, the establishment will only move so far: “We are not Denmark,” Clinton said during an exchange with Sanders over the merits of capitalism. “We are the United States of America.”

But Sanders has succeeded in pushing the debate to the left. Clinton agreed that something has gone wrong in America’s economic system, that capitalism has “run amok” and created inequities. According to Clinton, the next president must “save capitalism from itself.”

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