The true importance of Bernie Sanders is not a progressive policy; it's empowering for the insane

" Medicare for all "," Free Universe "and a minimum wage of $ 15 can come to your mind when you think about Bernie Sanders, who just took part in the 2020 race for the White House.

But these progressive policies were not the fuel that drove Sanders to his incredible success against Hillary Clinton three years ago. The Bernie phenomenon of 2016 did not concern as much a socialist wish list as the strengthening of political power.

"The real change," Sanders said at the start of his 2020 campaign launch video, "never goes from top to bottom, but always from bottom to top."

It was not a simple introduction to his political proposals. This is the heart of what Sanders is proposing: a promise to give political power to those who feel helpless. Sanders is committed to fighting not only against inequalities, racism and climate change, but also against the underlying problem of lack of voting rights and political alienation.

"If this campaign is about anything," said Sanders at a rally in New Hampshire in 2016, "it's about revitalizing American democracy – making sure that every American know how powerful he is in determining the future of this great country. "

This resonated with his base. "His message from the beginning," explained Tascha Van Auken, Sanders delegate at the Philadelphia Convention, "No matter which choice, the elected is that the base becomes more active, creates networks and creates a movement … "

This is why the new restrictions on campaign financing and the reversal of Citizens United Decision of the Supreme Court were at the heart of the Sanders revolution.

As a conservative libertarian, I do not put much at stake in the campaign's funding restrictions. But I came to understand what the people of Sanders wanted: they were desperately looking for a voice and some power in politics.

It is easy to dismiss these people as big, liberal corps occupied by the government, but there is a more charitable reading:

The man is a political animal. Men and women realize their potential not only by leading their own lives, but also by shaping the world around them. Modern America has left so many people – especially young adults and the working class – helpless to shape the world around them.

We are much less connected to the institutions through which the Americans used their political muscles. About 44% of all Americans are not active in every kind religious, civic, recreational, sports, neighborhood or volunteer organizations, according to a new survey by the American Enterprise Institute.

Other Democrats are trying to tap into the same feeling. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., As Sanders, says that the system is rigged in America today. Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Promises to be a warrior "for the people" who misses one.

But the politician who has best exploited alienation in recent years – even better than Sanders – was Donald Trump. Sometimes conspiracy theories turn out to be illegitimate for his opponents, sometimes stressing, like Sanders, how special interests have too much power in Washington, Trump rallied those who were alienated behind him in the primaries and then in the general election. (My new book, America alienated, develop this argument at length.)

Early on, the Conservatives were upset by the promises of Trump's strong man, based on the premise that the president could "bring back" the American dream. Sanders even has bigger visions, even more likely to undermine his overriding goal of empowering the underprivileged.

You can not empower ordinary people by empowering the central government. A powerful central government gives power to well-connected people, who can afford the best lobbyists with revolving doors. It strips the power of local and voluntary institutions where ordinary people can really have an influence.

Sanders approves a minimum wage of $ 15 and, in his campaign video, he points out that Amazon has adopted this salary. He must therefore understand that imposing such a salary on all employers would crush family stores that are part of cohesive neighborhoods, replacing them with alienating leviathans.

"The great paradox of progressive populism," the New York Times columnist rightly wrote, in response to the "Green New Deal" endorsed by Sanders, "is that it leads to elitism in its purist form. ".

Truly "revitalizing American democracy", to use Sanders' phrase, requires restoring the active civic life where ordinary men and women can have real influence.

Sanders' political proposals are as far left as the rest of the democratic vanguard. But at bottom, its dominant message and mission must be taken into account by all conservatives – especially those who want to learn from Trump's victory – A true healthy populism is to return power to an alienated people.

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