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Vermont Voyager Voices Vexations of Many

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 26/10/2015 Byron Williams

In 2004, the shrill sound of a yell came from a man from Vermont.
That moment was largely viewed as a political gaffe. The man, Howard Dean, became known for the "Dean Scream," which became the death rattle for a campaign unable to recover.
Now there is another yell emanating once again from a man from Vermont, perhaps equal in decibel level, yet the reverberation has the potential to last much longer.
The presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders embraces an unwavering commitment to addressing the nation's growing income inequality. For Sanders, this is a "moral issue" that the nation should have addressed yesterday.
Sanders' presence in the race helps to mitigate the possibility that calls to address income inequality now do not fall into the abyss of empty political promises to be addressed tomorrow.
Young people, who make up a large portion of Sanders' support, traditionally are not the most reliable when it comes to actually casting votes. Thus, pundits see the momentum that Sanders has created largely through the lens of youthful exuberance.
This observation renders Sanders to the long list of protest candidates in this nation's history who are effective at creating excitement, appealing to the emotion of their supporters, but not necessarily a path to the nomination, let alone 270 electoral votes in the General Election.
While there are indeed elements of the Sanders campaign that could define him as a protest candidate, there are also aspects that could potentially be transformational for the country.
Aside from Sanders, who among the myriad candidates, Republican and Democrat alike, has made income equality a cornerstone of their campaign?
This at a time when, according of a recent New York Times/CBS poll, a mere 35 percent believe anyone can get ahead in today's economy, 27 percent believe the distribution of wealth is fair, 46 percent believe America's best days economically are behind it and 65 percent believe the gap between rich and poor must be addressed now.
The current income-inequality gap is not the result of a cabal of the 1 percent, who devoured all the Horatio Alger books they could get their hands on while pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Instead, this imbalance is the tragic residue of a systematic approach that led Sanders to opine at the recent Democratic debate: "Congress doesn't regulate Wall Street. Wall Street regulates Congress."
As Sanders proclaims on his website, "They (big banks) are too powerful to be reformed. They must be broken up."
When asked by CNN's Anderson Cooper at the debate whether he is a capitalist, Sanders said, "Do I consider myself part of the casino-capitalist process, by which so few have so much and so many have so little; by which Wall Street's greed and recklessness wrecked this economy? No, I don't."
It is this type of unapologetic response, which speaks for a great deal of Americans, that provides insight into why Sanders' campaign may indeed be transformational.
In a bit of political irony, even former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is channeling his inner Sanders, as he, too, believes Wall Street executives should have gone to jail for the financial crash of 2008 that triggered the great recession.
The widening income disparity is not a liberal or conservative issue. It is an American issue. To this end, Sanders is vociferously calling for the U.S. to spend $1 trillion over five years to revamp America's dilapidated infrastructure and boost the American economy and create many livable wage jobs.
But if Sanders' campaign is indeed a transformational one, that must be determined in retrospect. Perhaps this explains why Sanders did not go after Hilary Clinton's email controversy at their recent debate.
Sanders admitted during the debate that this might not be "great politics" before saying to Clinton: "The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails."
Sanders' failure to make an issue of Clinton's emails was a mistake -- if judged by the status-quo political rules. But that does not appear to be the game Sanders is playing.
And it is certainly not one he can afford to play -- not if his campaign is to be remembered as a transformational one, regardless of the eventual outcome.

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