Bernie Sanders’ campaign to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for US president is winning real enthusiasm as the process to choose the nominee begins.
Iowa will be the first state to vote on 3 February, followed by New Hampshire on 11 February.
Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist. His campaign centres on issues like medical care for everyone, a $15 an hour minimum wage, action against the climate destroying corporations and removing big money from politics.
He publicly denounced Donald Trump’s drive to war in Iran. The support for his campaign reflects a hunger for change.
A staggering one million people volunteered for his campaign in the first 24 hours after his candidacy was announced.
Sanders has shown his support for working class movements—including the teachers’ strikes in Chicago last year.
But he has been savaged by the Democratic establishment.
Sanders was recently accused of sexism after a CNN report claimed that he told fellow candidate Elizabeth Warren in 2018 that a woman couldn’t beat Donald Trump. The report cited four anonymous sources.
Sanders instantly denied the claims, pointing out that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote against Trump in 2016.
It’s not the first time that he has faced smears.
At the end of 2019, right wing journalist Tiana Lowe published an article calling Sanders’ campaign “the most antisemitic” campaign in decades.
This is despite the fact that Sanders is Jewish, born to parents who fled Poland in the Second World War.
Clinton has also attacked Sanders. In footage from a forthcoming documentary, Clinton said that “nobody likes him” and that there is a culture of “misogyny and racism surrounding his campaign”.
Other leading candidates are Warren and former vice president Joe Biden.
Warren was a Republican until 1995 and has already retreated from a commitment to free medical care for all. She told one interviewer she is “capitalist to the bone”.
Biden has spent decades working with the most brutal US corporations and is a thoroughly establishment figure.
The Democrat machine’s assault on Sanders underlines the pro-capitalist nature of the party.
Reflecting this widespread perception, Congress representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said recently “we don’t have a left party” in the US.
She added, “The Democratic Party is a centre or a centre-conservative party.”
The danger is that activists and socialists become sucked into the fruitless effort to change such a party.