We need to incorporate, not dismiss Bernie supporters

They're not entirely wrong:

Virtuecrat – (noun): A sanctimonious person, usu. of the political left. The Harvard Dictionary of Political Eccentricities. Welcome, friends, to the world of the virtuecrats. You may find their school of politics familiar. In 1948 they broke with the Democrats and marched under the “Progressive” banner of FDR’s former vice president, Henry A. Wallace...

You may have detected the same note of righteous indignation in Philadelphia among some noisy followers of Bernie Sanders. They taunted moderates and told television reporters that it “doesn’t matter” who wins the election, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Some walked out. They rely on the fiction that Hillary Clinton’s nomination was “rigged.”

Calling them "Virtuecrats" is fairly accurate. Their sometimes vicious moral superiority can be tedious, to say the least. It has the effect of casting all others as either naive or a willing participant in the destruction of our democracy. Or whatever they think is happening. All that said, when you sweep away the anger and frustration and look at the issues in question, there *is* substance to their movement:

This time around, faced with another nominee of centrist convictions, the fringes have clogged the party platform with economic fantasies – sky-high minimum wages more likely to boost unemployment than working-class prosperity; “free” college education and the usual rhetorical slaps at “Wall Street” and “big banks,” the bogey-figures of the left-wing paranoid style.

A $15 minimum wage is by no means sky-high. It may "seem" that way, because for so many years we've bought into the rhetoric that all those who are not students soon see increases in their hourly wages, eventually achieving a level of income where they can pay all their bills. That may have been mostly true a few decades ago, but not anymore. Thanks in a large part to those "big banks" and other Wall Street entities, who precipitated our most recent and slow-to-die recession, wages have been suppressed while the cost of living has skyrocketed. In most places, a "living" wage, one that allows an individual to meet the bare minimum of survival needs without taking government handouts, is somewhere in the $14 per hour zone.

And while the "free" college thing might sound radical, many European countries have already figured out why it's a good idea. When somebody graduates college with a $50,000-$70,000 school loan debt (if they're lucky), their contributions to our consumer-based economy are circumscribed, sometimes for 15-20 years. Take that burden away, and the economic engine hums nicely.

Like many of Bernie's platform issues, these things may seem radical, but they actually make sense when you boil them down. Especially his opposition to TPP:

But the real scarecrow of 2016 is reciprocal trade agreements. Since virtuecrats are not attentive students of history, they have forgotten, or never understood, the lessons of protectionism in the 1920s and 1930s.

American tariffs clogged the arteries of international trade and made it impossible for European allies to repay their war loans. “They hired the money, didn’t they?” asked Calvin Coolidge, in what passed for a clever comment of that disastrous era. Yes, they did “hire” the money, but since they couldn’t sell their goods in the American market they defaulted on their debts. The virtuecrats thought it served the “big banks” right, never mind that foolish protectionism helped precipitate the Great Depression in which everyone lost.

The problem with delving into the deep past: You sometimes don't see what's right in front of you. In some ways, Nixon's trip to China may have been the most damaging foreign policy move of the Century. North Carolina's furniture industry went from booming to barely alive in a very brief period of time, and the addition of NAFTA and CAFTA have pushed hundreds of thousands of Americans from the middle class downward. Once a thriving textile supplier to the rest of the world, North Carolina is now littered with closed textile mills, often leaving rural townships built around them suffering in squalor. Our state's economy has been ravaged by imports from the Pacific Rim, and now those vaunted Wall Street magnates are actually building manufacturing plants on the other side of the world, because it's better for their profit margins. These are not theoretical problems, they are reality, and the possible benefits of TPP are grossly overshadowed by the potential harms.

To dismiss these concerns out-of-hand, and cast the activists opposing it as "poor students of history," is a sure-fire way to facilitate the migration of wealth to the 1%-ers and push more of our population down into poverty and despair.

I know many Democrats are weary of the constant battles this Primary has produced, and are afraid embracing some of Bernie's ideas may alienate moderates and/or ConservaDems who we need to win this election. But we also need to learn from this movement, incorporate what ideas we can, so we can emerge as a Party that can no longer be described as "business as usual." If we *can* do that, we will also be helping millions of Americans recover not only their prosperity, but their dignity, as well.



I didn't vote for Bernie

for his style, his ability to energize people in an often angry fashion. I voted for him because of his policy ideas, which are still as strong and viable as they were a few months ago.