Bernie Sanders will not attend AIPAC conference

AIPAC has a tradition of inviting all the presidential candidates in election years to the conference. In fact, Donald Trump’s attendance this year has drawn backlash from attendees, some of whom plan to boycott his speech on Monday.

RELATED: Rabbis plan boycott of Trump at AIPAC

A petition started by Max Blumenthal, the son of former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal and a pro-Palestinian writer, had garnered more then 5,000 signatures urging Sanders not to speak at AIPAC. One of the signers is Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters, who has endorsed Sanders.

On the other hand, foreign policy writer Robert Naiman wrote an open letter to Sanders encouraging him to speak at AIPAC — urging him to be a “truth-teller” to the group. Naiman is critical of the group’s hard-line pro-Israel stance.

AIPAC lobbies politicians on its pro-Israel agenda and energizes Americans around strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship. Its annual conference is a must-stop for politicians every year looking to appear before the influential audience.

The group has also been a source of criticism for the anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian movement in the U.S., as well as other pro-Israel groups who believes AIPAC takes too rigid a stance against the Iran nuclear deal.

Bernie Sanders will not attend AIPAC conference

AIPAC has a tradition of inviting all the presidential candidates in election years to the conference. In fact, Donald Trump’s attendance this year has drawn backlash from attendees, some of whom plan to boycott his speech on Monday.

RELATED: Rabbis plan boycott of Trump at AIPAC

A petition started by Max Blumenthal, the son of former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal and a pro-Palestinian writer, had garnered more then 5,000 signatures urging Sanders not to speak at AIPAC. One of the signers is Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters, who has endorsed Sanders.

On the other hand, foreign policy writer Robert Naiman wrote an open letter to Sanders encouraging him to speak at AIPAC — urging him to be a “truth-teller” to the group. Naiman is critical of the group’s hard-line pro-Israel stance.

AIPAC lobbies politicians on its pro-Israel agenda and energizes Americans around strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship. Its annual conference is a must-stop for politicians every year looking to appear before the influential audience.

The group has also been a source of criticism for the anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian movement in the U.S., as well as other pro-Israel groups who believes AIPAC takes too rigid a stance against the Iran nuclear deal.

Bernie Sanders tells supporters he sees a winning streak coming

Bernie Sanders smiles during a campaign event in Phoenix on Tuesday night. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News)FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Bernie Sanders, who fell further behind Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s presidential primaries, told supporters Wednesday that he has “an extremely good chance to win nearly every state that votes in the next month.”

Sanders’s rosy assessment comes as he tries to reassure supporters that he has a path to the Democratic nomination despite a mounting lead by Clinton in the number of delegates needed to claim victory.

In a fundraising solicitation, the senator from Vermont wrote that Clinton had reached her “high-water mark” in the campaign.

“Starting today, the map now shifts dramatically in our favor,” Sanders said.

His take echoes the case his aides have sought to make in recent days that Sanders is well-positioned to win all three contests Tuesday in Arizona, Idaho and Utah. Primaries and caucuses then follow in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington state and Wisconsin.

It’s unclear how the momentum gained by Clinton on Tuesday will factor into those contests. The former secretary of state won at least four of the five primaries, in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Illinois. Clinton also had a narrow edge in Missouri, though Sanders could request a recount there.

Clinton’s campaign also acknowledged Wednesday that Sanders could have an upcoming winning streak but expressed no worry about Clinton maintaining a solid lead in the delegate count. In the Democratic race, delegates are awarded on a proportional basis, making it difficult for a candidate to catch up once he falls behind.

“Looking ahead to the rest of March, Sen. Sanders is poised to have a stretch of very favorable states vote, including 5 caucuses next week, which he is likely to win, and the primary in Arizona, in which he has invested more than $1.5 million in ads,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in a memo to supporters. “Our pledged delegate lead is so significant that even a string of victories by Sen. Sanders over the next few weeks would have little impact.”

Sanders’s email solicitation carried the subject header “How we respond to this moment.”

He said that his campaign has exceeded all expectations, winning nine primaries and caucuses to this point, and said that on Tuesday “we earned a significant number of delegates, and we are on track for the nomination.”

Sanders, who aides said was spending the day in Arizona, had no public appearances planned Wednesday.

Hillary Clinton Wins in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Bernie Sanders Looks to Final Two Midwest Races

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—Hillary Clinton easily won the Democratic presidential primaries in Ohio, Florida and North Carolina Tuesday, continuing to sweep up delegate while rival Bernie Sanders hoped for wins in the night’s two remaining states, Illinois and Missouri.

In Ohio, seen as a key battleground between the two rivals, Mrs. Clinton received 65.8% of the vote while Mr. Sanders garnered 33.0% with 4% of the vote counted.

Why Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead over Bernie Sanders is bigger than it looks

 Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets to talk to Ohio voters at 8 Sisters Bakery in Marion, Ohio on Sunday March 13, 2016. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)A key question in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s surprising loss in Michigan last week is whether or not she’ll suffer the same fate in Ohio, Michigan’s superior southern neighbor. New polling in the state from Monmouth University shows Clinton with a wide lead, including a 42-point lead among non-white voters. But, of course, polling in Michigan was way off before voters went to the polls.

Recent polling averages in the states that are voting on Tuesday — Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio — shows that Clinton leads in the four where there have been recent polls. She leads by a bit in Ohio and her home state of Illinois and by a lot in Florida and North Carolina. (The only recent poll in Missouri gives Bernie Sanders a 1-point lead.)


 

But here’s the thing: Whether or not Clinton wins Ohio doesn’t really matter.

It’s important to remember that the Democrats, unlike the Republicans, don’t allocate delegates on a winner-take-all basis. When Donald Trump won South Carolina with a plurality of the vote, he got all of the state’s 50 delegates, a total that right now constitutes more than half of his lead. There are no states like that on the Democratic side. There are some variations in how the states divvy up their delegates, but they’re proportionally distributed from now until the primary is over.

Which is why the 2008 daily delegate totals looked like this.


 

As Clinton tried to play catch-up with Barack Obama, he would get some delegates every time she did. The only times she made big gains against him was in states she won by a wide margin. But the proportional delegate system kept Obama steadily out of reach.

It’s worth comparing Obama’s 2008 lead in the delegates to Clinton’s. Clinton, by virtue of huge margins of victory in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, has a much bigger lead than Obama did at this point — or than Obama did at any point. (The data below excludes superdelegates.)


 

Sanders has won states by big margins, too — Kansas and Vermont — but they have far fewer delegates to award.

Let’s say that Clinton and Sanders tie in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois and she wins by a 20 points in Florida and North Carolina. Per some back-of-the-envelope math, Clinton would get about 380 delegates to Sanders’s 315 — increasing her lead by about 60 delegates. Even if Sanders wins Illinois, Missouri and Ohio, Clinton will still net more delegates if she wins Florida and North Carolina big.

Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman did the math over the long term:

 

If delegates split evenly on Tuesday, Sanders needs more than 55 percent of all of the rest of the delegates to tie Clinton.

It’s also worth noting that Sanders has been strongly helped by the presence of independent voters in the Democratic contests so far. In Michigan, for example, nearly a fifth of the vote was independents voting for Sanders (he won 71 percent among the 27 percent of the electorate that was independent) according to exit polls — more than enough to have swung the race to Clinton had the primary not been open to independents.


 

Even with his support from independents, Sanders is at risk of continuing to fall further behind in the delegate count. Which is exactly why the two parties’ nomination contests look very different over the long term, even though they’re close right now: Clinton’s lead is much less vulnerable than Donald Trump’s.

Bernie Sanders calls Donald Trump a ‘pathological liar’

They are facing questions from Buckeye State voters as they vie for the support of blue collar and minority voters who underpin the Democratic coalition.

Sanders took the first turn in the spotlight and will be followed by Clinton in the event moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper and TV One’s Roland Martin. The event takes place in the wake of Sanders’ surprise victory in the Michigan primary last week, which raised his hopes of competing with Clinton across Midwestern Rust Belt states.

It also comes at the end of a weekend filled with violence and disruption of Trump rallies, in which the real estate mogul pointed the finger at Sanders for the unruliness.

But Sanders said Sunday night, “Our campaign does not believe and never will encourage anybody to disrupt anything.”

He added that people have the right to protest even though he said other candidates’ rallies shouldn’t be disrupted.

“Trump has to get on the TV and tell his supporters that violence in the political process in America is not acceptable, end of discussion,” he said.

At the same time, Sanders dismissed the idea that he was responsible for the actions of all his supporters.

“Millions of people voted for me. If I have to take responsibility for everybody who voted for me, it would be a very difficult life,” Sanders said

The town hall was also an opportunity for the two Democratic candidates to highlight their differences even if they didn’t meet face to face.

Sanders pivoted to his Democratic opponent on the issue of trade, which is emerging as a key theme on both sides of the aisle in the 2016 presidential race.

He lashed out at “corporately written trade agreements,” which he said were designed to shut down U.S factories and pay people “pennies an hour” in China and Mexico.

“One of the very strong differences between Secretary Clinton and myself — she has supported almost all of those trade agreements, I have vigorously opposed (them),” he charged.

At one point while talking about trade though, Sanders slipped in another backhanded slap at Trump. Defending his position on trade, Sanders said that he did not want to cut off the United States from global trade flows.

“Nobody is talking about building a wall around the United States,” Sanders said, before trailing off when people in the audience started chuckling. “Oh, I beg your pardon, there is one guy who is talking about building a wall. Let me rephrase it: no rational person is talking about building a wall.”

But Clinton has so far built a more diverse constituency resting especially on African-American voters and Hispanics and appears to have the edge going into Tuesday’s primaries in Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina.

Still, Sanders has high hopes of good results in the Midwest in particular and has been driving his message that the economy is stacked against working Americans and underpinned by a corrupt political system.

Clinton supporter: Clinton got under Sanders skinClinton supporter: Clinton got under Sanders skinClinton supporter: Clinton got under Sanders' skin

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On Saturday, Sanders rebuked Clinton over her role in conceiving of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a vast trade deal linking Asia and the Western Hemisphere. It is a lynchpin of President Barack Obama’s pivot-to-Asia strategy that she helped implement as secretary of state.

“I hear Secretary Clinton is in Ohio tonight talking about how concerned she is about the auto industry — an industry decimated by the North American Free Trade Agreement and normalized trade with China. She supported those bad deals. I opposed them,” Sanders said.

“Now she says she wants to make it tougher for automobiles to be imported to this country under the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership. That’s the deal she called the ‘gold standard’ when she was secretary of state,” he continued.

Sanders has called for the pact to be scrapped while Clinton has called for it to be improved, and the Vermont senator is trying to take advantage of the difference in their approaches.

Sanders hits Clinton over tradeSanders hits Clinton over tradeSanders hits Clinton over trade

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“I have a message for Secretary Clinton: We shouldn’t re-negotiate the Pacific trade proposal,” he said. “We should kill this unfettered free trade agreement which would cost us nearly half a million jobs.”

Clinton, meanwhile, chose to go after Sanders over his attacks that she is not sufficiently progressive, questioning his role when she was fighting for expanding health care as first lady.

“We are going to pull together and stay together and stand up against those powerful forces. And I always get a little chuckle when I hear my opponent talking about doing it,” Clinton said on Saturday. “Well, I don’t know where he was when I was trying to get health care in ’93 and ’94, standing up (against) the insurance companies, standing up against the drug companies.”

The Sanders camp hit back quickly, tweeting a photo of Sanders standing behind Clinton at an event at Dartmouth College on December 7, 1993.

“I am grateful that Congressman Sanders could join us today from Vermont,” Clinton said at that event.

Tuesday’s primaries are hugely significant because they make up the third-highest allocation of delegates available on a single day in the Democratic presidential race.

A new poll by The Wall Street Journal and NBC published on Sunday shows Clinton leading Sanders for the three biggest prizes available on Tuesday. She is up 61% to 34% on Sanders in Florida, leads him by 58% to 38% in Ohio and by six points in Illinois.

Still, Sanders will be hoping that the last Tuesday’s events are an omen for this week after he went into the Michigan primary trailing badly in polls but still managed to best Clinton.

The former secretary of state, however, is looking to further bolster her lead in delegates over Sanders on Tuesday.

According to CNN estimates, Clinton has 1,244 delegates (including 772 pledged delegates and 472 superdelegates). Sanders has 574 delegates (including 551 pledged delegates and 23 superdelegates). Superdelegates are party officials and lawmakers who can vote at the convention and have already made their intentions clear.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated with the correct number of superdelegates for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

How Bernie Sanders convinced me about free college

In its early months, Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign suffered from the impression that it was a protest candidacy more about discussing issues than about electing a president. More recently, it has looked more like a genuine effort to deny Hillary Clinton the nomination — an effort that seems likely to fail. But judged by that earlier standard, Sanders has been highly successful. I’ll use myself as an example: Thanks to Sanders — and specifically thanks to his campaign — I’ve come around to the idea that the correct tuition for qualified students at public colleges and universities is $0.

If the government is going to be in the business of encouraging people to go to college and spending money on making it affordable, the right way to do that is to make it free.

Donald Trump’s kids should get public services too

The traditional case against free college, both in the United States and in other countries where this is discussed, is that it’s a waste of money to offer publicly subsidized higher education to the children of affluent parents. Hillary Clinton has made this especially pointed by saying she doesn’t want the public paying for Donald Trump’s kids to go to college.

It’s a decent laugh line, and it does make the underlying policy point correctly. But it also reminded me of the few times in my life that I met Trump’s daughter Ivanka. At the time, I was attending an expensive private high school and Ivanka was attending a different expensive private high school, and we had a mutual friend who attended yet another expensive private high school and would sometimes throw parties when his parents were out of town (think Gossip Girl, but with real-life awkward teens instead of gorgeous actors).

None of us was attending school at public expense, but we all could have been as a matter of right and public policy. Which is to say we don’t charge tuition at public high schools and then provide grants and loans to make it affordable to families in need. We make it free, and to the extent that we need to consider families’ differential ability to pay we do that through the tax code.

One reason is that even though in a narrow fiscal sense it benefits cities that so many of their affluent families send their kids to private school, paying taxes without using the service, in a more holistic sense it’s quite bad for public education in the city.

Wealthy elites have formal and informal means of influence wherever you look. When they are invested in actually using public services, the odds that the services will actually be decent go way up. Trying to save money by keeping rich kids out of public school or refusing to build libraries in affluent neighborhoods or having police departments charge a finder’s fee when they investigate crimes committed against rich people would be penny wise and pound foolish.

We should also consider the possibility that a public commitment to subsidizing college without mandating that it be free actually encourages excessive spending on the part of administrators. In static terms, creating a free public service obviously requires more money than a partially subsidized one. But with a firm “this needs to be free” rule in place, administrators are now limited to the amount of money that’s actually been appropriated, and if they want more funds for some new initiative they need to explicitly make the case that it’s valuable.

People actually understand free college

The most decisive reason to like Sanders’s goal of free college, however, didn’t become clear until the campaign itself began. The great thing about free college is that people know what it means and some people are excited about it.

Clinton’s college affordability plan, a much more complicated compact aimed at the goal of allowing students to graduate debt-free, utterly fails on this score. It is true that her plan is more fiscally progressive — delivering more help to poor students and less to non-poor ones. It is also true that I have never met a person who is excited about this plan, even among people who are excited about Clinton in general.

Sanders’s plan, by contrast, is a huge applause line at his rallies and something that Sanders’s supporters frequently cite as a key reason they are backing him.

I’m not sold on the implementation details of Sanders’s plan, and most people feeling the Bern seem to have no idea what those details are. If Sanders were to actually become president, the idea would need a lot more work. But Clinton’s plan seems like it was written by higher education wonks for an audience of higher education wonks. Some of my best friends are higher education wonks, and obviously you need some wonks to seal the deal on any kind of workable legislation. But it’s useful to start with some kind of clear big-picture goal that means something to normal people.

The greatest legislative success of the Obama years — the Affordable Care Act — suffers greatly in its political sustainability from the fact that people have such a poor grasp of what it encompasses, how it works, and whom it is supposed to be helping.

The contrast with a program like Social Security, which is worse targeted but much better understood, is stark and instructive. The narrow-targeting way is designed to minimize opposition to new initiatives by reducing their headline costs. But there’s something to be said for taking the opposite approach and trying to maximize support by framing your objectives in a way that ensures the people to whom your policy is supposed to appeal actually understand what it is.

Free college financed by higher taxes is clean, simple, and easy to understand, and makes for a totally coherent goal to organize around over a period of years or even decades. If Democrats want to expend more public funds to make college cheaper, which it seems like they do, they ought to focus their efforts around Sanders’s banner.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders to square off after Michigan upset

At the very least, Sanders likely extended the Democratic contest for weeks with his show of strength in the Midwest in a way that will force Clinton to confront his critique over her ties to Wall Street, her past support for free-trade deals opposed by the Democratic base and what he says is a corrupt economy and political system weighted against the middle and working classes.

The debate in Miami follows a testy faceoff between the rivals in Flint, Michigan, at a CNN debate on Sunday night. That showdown was punctuated by impatient complaints by Sanders that Clinton was talking over him, so the tone of Wednesday’s debate will be closely watched.

Since the debate will be broadcast by Univision, the candidates can expect questions on issues that are particularly important to the Latino community, including immigration reform.

Clinton had a 2-1 lead over Sanders in a Washington Post/Univision Poll last month among Latino voters. And in the Texas primary last week, 71% of Latino voters voted for Clinton, who has vowed to aggressively push immigration reform in her first term as president and to extend President Barack Obama’s executive orders shielding some undocumented migrants from deportation.

Sanders has said he would take a similar stance on the executive orders and backs comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship.

At a Democratic debate in February on MSNBC, however, Clinton hammered Sanders for opposing a bipartisan comprehensive effort to reform the immigration system during the George W. Bush administration.

“I don’t think it was progressive to vote against Ted Kennedy’s immigration reform,” she said.

Sanders said he voted against the bill because it included big increases in a guest-worker program that he says undercuts American workers by importing cheap labor and leaves those who come into the country at the mercy of unscrupulous employers.

What Bernie Sanders’s big Michigan bet may be overlooking

Bernie Sanders will face a crucial electoral test in Michigan on Tuesday. His performance there will either give him a path to challenging Hillary Clinton for the nomination or put his campaign on life support.

“It’s really crunch time for Sanders,” says Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “If Sanders doesn’t win Michigan, what would lead you to think he’d win Illinois or Missouri or Ohio? If he’s really going to challenge Clinton in this race, he needs to find some big states to win.”

Sanders’s campaign has itself recognized Michigan as a critical battleground. Though Sanders has trailed there by double digits in most polls, the Vermont senator’s staff has argued that Michigan should be fertile ground for his populist economic message.

“I think his message on trade in particular will be very powerful out there,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’s campaign manager, told the Washington Post about Michigan.

What Sanders’s bet on Michigan may be overlooking

The Sanders campaign has decided to invest substantial resources and time in its “big Michigan bet,” according to a report published by Politico. The Post said Weaver considers Michigan “ripe Sanders territory” in part because the state had suffered job losses and economic restructuring.

But it’s not clear that this is a narrative Michigan’s voters — particularly Michigan’s Democratic primary voters — will find persuasive.

In fact, by most measures, Michigan’s economy has done well under President Barack Obama, with gains in employment, population, and economic growth since 2009, according to Dr. Donald R. Grimes, a University of Michigan researcher who studies the state’s economy.

“Since Obama took office, Michigan has been doing great. And people will correctly attribute some of that to him and some of that to [Gov. Rick] Snyder,” Grimes said.

That should help Clinton, who has sold herself as a continuation of the Obama presidency. And overwhelmingly, voters who say the Democratic nominee should continue Obama’s policies have backed her over Sanders, according to exit polls. Those who want the next president to pursue more liberal policies have supported Sanders by a 6- to 10-point margin.

On first glance, Michigan’s strong economic recovery during the Obama administration appears to translate into an advantage for Clinton — one that may make Sanders’s gamble on the state not make much sense.

Michigan’s economy looks much weaker if you zoom out

But there’s a major flaw in this analysis: Michigan’s economy may have improved since 2009, but it’s still down sharply from where it was in 2000, particularly for low-income workers, according to Grimes.

Like the rest of the country, Michigan suffered a serious economic downturn beginning around 2001. (Michigan’s began a little earlier, in 2000.) But while much of America rebounded from that recession within the year, Michigan’s free fall largely continued uninterrupted until 2009, according to Grimes.

“Michigan was just hit incredibly hard in that nine-year period, from 2000 to 2009,” Grimes said. “Housing prices were collapsing, people were losing jobs, people were leaving the state. Those nine years or so were almost depression-like in terms of decline.”

By that metric, the past two decades still look pretty terrible for the Michigan economy. And if that’s the time frame Michigan voters have in mind when they head to the polls, Grimes noted, they’re probably much more likely to seek a major break with the status quo at the ballot box. That’d probably play to Sanders’s advantage.

“If your perspective is back to 2000, you say: ‘Life sucks, and we need to throw the bums out and start the revolution, and somehow get to where we were in 2000,'” Grimes said. “We’ve undergone this tremendous income loss over this long, 16-year period back to 2000. … When you ask a person here if they’re happy, if they’re better off, it depends on if you’re talking about compared to 2009 or 2000.”

Another problem with this strategy: shifts in what the Democratic Party looks like

Clinton remains the prohibitive favorite in Michigan. The former secretary of state has led Sanders by at least 10 points in every poll of the state since September 2015, according to RealClearPolitics.

“If Sanders won Michigan, it’d be a huge upset given what the polls have said,” said Kondik, of the University of Virginia.

There are two major regions where Grimes expects Clinton to do very well: in Oakland County, where there’s a large number of high-income voters; and in the city of Detroit, which is about 90 percent African-American.

Sanders, meanwhile, will probably need to win in places like Macomb County and in the city of Lansing, which have a higher number of white, working-class voters. If there’s higher turnout in those places and in Washtenaw County — home of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor — Sanders may be able to give Clinton a real challenge.

But even banking on these voters may be risky for the Vermont senator. Grimes noted that poorer white voters in the state have increasingly left the Democratic Party and voted Republican.

“I think the Democratic Party in Michigan has increasingly become a party of upscale voters,” Grimes said. “But it may be fertile territory for the ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan.”

Capitalists should listen to Bernie Sanders

There is an irony to the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders: The senator from Vermont is often cast as exotic because he calls himself a “democratic socialist.” Yet the most important issue in politics throughout the Western democracies is whether the economic and social world that social democrats built can survive the coming decades.

Let’s deal first with the tyranny of labels. “Socialist” has long been an unacceptable word in the United States, yet our country once had a vibrant socialist movement; its history has been well recounted by John Nichols and James Weinstein. Socialists had a major impact on the mainstream conversation. Reforming liberals, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, co-opted many of their best ideas, and it’s one reason they were marginalized.

Moreover, the vast majority of “democratic socialists” are now properly described more modestly as “social democrats” because most on the left believe in a successful private sector. But they also favor a government that achieves broad public objectives, from a clean environment to wide access to education, and regulates and redistributes in ways that strengthen the bargaining power of those who don’t own much capital.

When Sanders defined his own brand of socialism this year in a speech at Georgetown University, he made clear he’s in this camp. “The next time you hear me attacked as a socialist, remember this,” he said. “I don’t believe government should own the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal.”

Honestly, Bernie, you’re really a social democrat.

But there is great honor in this. The bargain between government and the market that allowed the United States and the other Western democracies to share growing prosperity from the end of World War II until recent years was essentially a social democratic achievement.

As economist J. Bradford DeLong argued in a recent essay on Talking Points Memo, these economies were “relatively egalitarian places when viewed in historical perspective (for native-born white guys, at least).” The chance to influence politics was “widely distributed throughout the population” while “the claims of wealth to drive political directions” were “kept within bounds.”

Yet the headline on DeLong’s piece — “The Melting Away of North Atlantic Social Democracy” — raises the question we need to debate far more explicitly in the presidential campaign: Was the great social democratic experiment an aberration in history? Are all the wealthy societies destined to become far more unequal, as they were in the late 19th century, because of globalization and technological change? Or can governments find new ways of ensuring a degree of justice and fairness?

These questions have absorbed my former colleague Steven Weisman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics for some years now. His new book, “The Great Tradeoff: Controlling Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization,” provides an excellent text for the discussion we need. Weisman painstakingly avoids dogmatism and is careful in laying out the often-agonizing choices we face.

For example: Globalization has “elevated the living standards of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people worldwide” but also “has helped suppress the incomes of low-skilled middle-class workers in rich countries.” Where do our loyalties lie? How do we balance obligations to our fellow citizens in the communities and countries in which we live against the interests of those far away? And how do the vast disparities of wealth that the system creates constrain the very process of democratic deliberation over what to do about it?

Weisman is more sympathetic to globalization than are many on the left, and I’m more drawn to its critics than he is. Still, Weisman does not let advocates of the market off the hook. Defending the achievements of globalization, he argues, requires facing up to its costs.

“The global economic system,” he writes, “should be one in which opportunities are more equal, the distribution of rewards is fairer, and the preservation of communities is more respected.”

How to achieve these goals is what politics needs to be about. The presidential campaign would be more edifying (and more relevant to the problems so many American face) if it focused directly on the need to renegotiate a social contract that once provided broadly inclusive prosperity but is now in grave jeopardy.

You don’t need to be a democratic socialist to believe this. On the contrary, the survival of democratic capitalism depends upon facing the difficulties the system is having in delivering on the promises it was once able to keep.

Read more from E.J. Dionne’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

Read more on this topic:

The Post’s View: Bernie Sanders isn’t as progressive as you think

Harold Meyerson: Why Democrats need both Clinton and Sanders

Paul Waldman: How Bernie Sanders is mainstreaming ‘democratic socialism’

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: This is the difference between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

Eugene Robinson: The rock-star appeal of Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Unveils Climate Plan

Democratic presidential Bernie Sanders rolled out an expansive climate plan Monday that aims to cut U.S. carbon emissions 80% by 2050 and create 10 million clean energy jobs.

To accomplish these goals, the 16-page plan takes a kitchen sink approach, including everything from a tax on carbon to a ban on fracking to a push for more walkable cities.

And beyond the environmental goals, the plan has a political one, too – to enfeeble the fossil fuel industry, whom Sanders says has “bribed politicians into ignoring [climate] science”

“Climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet,” the plan states. But it hasn’t been solved because “a small subsection of the one percent are hell-bent on doing everything in their power to block action.”

Sanders’ plans says he will “bring climate deniers to justice,” citing the example of his recent call for the the Department of Justice to investigate Exxonmobil over allegations it suppressed climate science. And beyond the carbon tax, Sanders would ban fracking, ban offshore drilling, and ban the exportation of oil or liquefied natural gas.

He would use money from the carbon tax to finance clean energy development, enhancements to the national grid, and improvements to make homes more efficient. He would also raise the fuel economy standards to 65 miles per gallon by 2025 for cars. But at the same time, he would begin to phase out nuclear power plants by placing a moratorium on license renewals, saying solar, wind, and geothermal are better choices.

Meanwhile, his plans calls for infrastructure spending on things like high speed passenger and cargo rail, along with more electronic car charging stations and plans to cities more walkable.

Annie Leonard, the executive director of Greenpeace U.S. said that Sanders’ plan showed “he has broken free of the corporate and 1% money that has held back climate policy for far too long.”

The Vermont senators Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley have both already released their own comprehensive climate plans, which have also been warmly received by environmentalists.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of the Vermont-based ice cream brand Ben and Jerry’s also praised Sanders’ scheme. “Two degrees of warming makes ice cream melt — but when it comes to our planet, the effects would be absolutely catastrophic,” they said in a statement provided by the campaign.

Mark Ruffalo, the green-minded actor who has endorsed Sanders said the senator’s plan “goes further than any other candidate.” “Bernie continues to be the transformative candidate and the one most willing to bring everyone along. He is a man of the people and is exactly today who he has always been: the real deal.”

And Bill McKibben, the co-founder of the climate group 350.org and a friend of Sanders’ said he trusted the senator on the issue. “Even more important than the plan is the credibility of the planner. Bernie has shown with years of committed action that he will not just talk about this stuff on the campaign trail, he will do it in the Oval Office,” McKibben said.

This story first appeared on msnbc.com.