Nearly a day ago in Keen, New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders came out, with his right hand flung high in the air, to the music of Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own.” The song’s lyrics, if you are familiar with the oeuvre of “The Boss’’ (as Springsteen is affectionately known) who’s work resonates the experiences of the middle class, describe, in this case, the affects of the contemporary economic system and the ripples of injustices it creates for the ‘every-man’. Springsteen sings about his deep and profound regret for the loss of empathy in the ‘general will’ after it experiences years of economic hardship, and demonstrates how it adds to the plight of the middle-class: “I’ve been knocking on the door that holds the throne / I’ve been stumbling on good hearts turned to stone / The road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone”, he croons.

Even though President Obama chose this song for a few of his own public speeches, it is perhaps most fitting for Sanders’s stature and worldview. Fresh in from the caucus in Iowa, Bernie Sanders has every-right to fling his arm up high as a display of victory, for what he has accomplished in that American state is - and this may be a tad hyperbolic - nothing short of revolutionary. At Iowa, Sanders, a newly baptised member of the democratic party but the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history, came in second-place, having received 21 delegates and 49.6 per cent of the democratic vote against veteran Hillary Clinton and her Clinton-machine’s 23 delegates and 49.6 per cent. This is an act of defiance and subversion - in all the right ways for all the right reasons.

As a Senator from the State of Vermont, and the an active civil rights protest organiser for the Congress of Racial Equality, any description of Bernie Sanders should begin by taking account of his intellectual honesty - a quality almost totally absent from those who have engaged in politics since the advent of Athenian Democracy. This is perhaps the virtue that appeals to his supporters the most. But let me clarify: this is not to say that Sander’s position on issues has not evolved, as most rational positions do when confronted with stronger evidence, but to say that Sander’s has held tightly to his overreaching political position and narrative: that if a State and its government should exist at all, they ought to exist based on the principle of equality, justice and fairness (Justice as Fairness). As a Socialist and a Democrat (Democratic-Socialist) Sanders has great respect for the policies instituted by the Nordic countries but feels that “Socialism is as American as Apple-Pie.” In a country where a major news network, like Fox News, regularly equates the Left and its strands - Anarchism, Socialism, Communism - with concepts such insurrection, sedition, and the general Hobbesian nightmare of bellum omnium contra omnes - a war of every man against every man; where anchors like Glen Beck are allowed to breed hysteria and paranoia by branding Anarchists and Socialists as terrorists without fear of censure. Here, in such an environment, Sander’s position is for all intents and purposes incontrovertibly radical and brutally honest.

The American presidential race to the White House is a peculiar phenomenon that has evolved to be stepped in a deliberative democratic process, traced to the progressive movement, the aim was to take the power of candidate nomination from party leaders to the people. And since there is no provision for the role of political parties in the United States Constitution, they hold a series of presidential primary elections and caucuses in each state and territory to nominate each party’s candidate for the presidential elections. The primary elections are run by state and local governments, while caucuses are private events that are directly run by the political parties themselves. This is a method of an indirect election: instead of voters directly selecting a particular person running for President, they determine how many delegates each party’s national convention will receive from their respective state. These delegates then in turn select their party’s presidential nominee. Iowa has traditionally been the first caucus. And this is where Bernie Sanders was able to challenge the political dominance of big business, lobbyists and super PACs of Hillary Clinton, who just received $6 million from top Democratic billionaire donor George Soros, according to new figures filed with the Federal Election Commission Sunday night.

What is causing this surge in support for Bernie Sanders, if I’m allowed to commit the necessary intellectual sin of reductionism, are two simple reasons. Primarily, Sanders is tapping into the needs of a neglected and battered middle class. Sanders correctly understands that capitalism especially the ‘speculative casino’ is dangerous and damaging. And that money is neither neutral nor a commodity. Like Weber and Keynes, Sanders sees money to be a weapon between major interest groups in society who struggle amongst themselves while the ‘every-man’ is caught in the crossfire. Sanders demands this crony capitalism and corporate greed, with the ability to buy elections, be tamed by taxing the financial speculation that happens at Wall Street, and using the money to increase the social security net such as providing free public education. And he is right: in 1932, when Franklin D. Roosevelt became the President and ushered in his ‘New Deal” the consequences where astounding; by humbling the financiers, empowering unions and increasing public spending, income distribution shifted in the direction of these segments. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s incomes rose proportionally to productivity - the American middle class was created. Even recently Gallup polling has consistently found that Americans would rather raise taxes than curb benefits to save social security by significant margins. In fact, 67 percent of Americans want to lift the income cap on Social Security to require higher-income workers to pay Social Security taxes on all of their wages. The lesser reason for Sander’s surge is other democratic candidate: Hillary Clinton, whose past record, periodic policy u-turns (she started out as a Republican) would’ve made her Machiavelli’s pin-up girl. This is exactly why she is failing to draw in the progressives.

In order to actually secure his democratic nomination Sanders needs to redo what Obama did: concentrate on building a youth coalition. But if Iowa has shown anything it is this: given the enormous crisis America is going through it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. There might just be another new ‘New Deal’ coming, and assuredly Sanders hopes to usher it in as a worthy successor to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The writer is a free thinker.

s.zainhaider@icloud.com