downloadby Cindy Sheehan

“No matter how cynical you become (regarding politics), it’s never enough to keep up.” – Lily Tomlin, U.S. comedian and actress.

The cola company Pepsi had a decades-long marketing tool called “The Pepsi Challenge” wherein consumers would be given two cups, one with Pepsi in it and one with Coca-Cola in it, and asked consumers to give a preference. With a little manipulation (temperature of the soda, etc) Pepsi would always win: Now, PepsiCo wouldn’t do this challenge if it didn’t know that it would always win.


imagesIf one has at one time or the other partaken of Coke and Pepsi, it’s easy to tell that the two products are essentially the same, with some minute differences. For myself, I don’t drink any soda – they are all laden with GMOs and other toxins, and I don’t choose a Democrat or Republican when I vote – for the same reasons.

This is the same with U.S. presidential electoral politics. When we look at the two choices between the Democratic and Republican candidate, a thinking person who pays attention to the actual deeds (votes, policies) of each one, it’s natural to think “Coke or Pepsi.” And as with the Pepsi Challenge, the establishment (the war machine, Wall Street, bankers, CEOs of major corporations), never loses.

Here in the United States, it seems like the election “season” is year-round, every year, but the POTUS or president of the United States is a special two-year event. Seriously, candidates start PACs, known as Political Action Committees and exploratory committees and fundraising well before the actual election and the Coke-Pepsi antics get tiresome long before that.

Democrat partisans have hypocritically gone to Stop Trump rallies never mentioning that Obama has deported more immigrant workers than any president before him.


This POTUS election year has brought us some entertainment though with the advent of “Trumpism” and “Sandersmania.”

For sure, Donald Trump has said some horrific things out on the campaign trail especially about immigration. Democrat partisans have hypocritically gone to stop Trump rallies never mentioning that Obama has deported more immigrant workers than any president before him; breaking up families and holding young people in detention centers.

Trump really has never held an elective office and I believe all of the support he is getting from the Republican base reflects its distaste of politics as usual in D.C. As I view it, the rise of The Donald is a true insurgency campaign and there has been much reflection and panic from the Republican National Committee that his ultimate victory may be the beginning of the end of that party. I am all in favor of that, but Democratic partisans who are celebrating that fact should also be rooting for the end of their own party.

On the other hand, the ascendancy of the Sanders’ campaign is not so surprising because as a nominal “Independent” in elected offices for decades, he does not represent a break from the established Democrat Party, but just a mild left-wing expression of it.

Sanders: myth and reality

Contrary to the prevailing myth about Sanders, he has always caucused with the Democrats and has had only one decent vote on imperialism and that’s when he voted against giving George Bush the authority to use military force against Iraq: that was hardly a groundbreaking vote, since many Democrats and some Republicans also voted “nay.” Two years earlier, Sanders had already joined every one of his colleagues (except Barbara Lee of Oakland) in voting to give Bush the War Criminal a virtual blank check in fighting his war of terror against the world.

Even if any of the candidates in the bourgeois political parties were worth voting for, the electoral system in the U.S. is rigged to protect the interests of the bankers, war profiteers and other corporate interests.

I have been a candidate for federal office and the obstacles that are put up to prevent independents or third-party candidates to even achieve ballot access are almost insurmountable and the rules are stacked in the favor of wealthy Democrats or Republicans. Even though I would never sell my soul and register as a warmongering, corporate Democrat, Sanders made a brilliant political decision in doing so. The campaign would not be raising this kind of money or attention if he had done the honorable thing to run as an independent, or third-party candidate.

Can’t defeat the system from within

Trying to defeat the Empire from the inside is like trying to put out a forest fire by pouring gasoline on it.

Sanders’ campaign is not about challenging the establishment, but about supporting it. The candidate himself has already pledged support for whomever ultimately receives the nomination of the Democratic Party and he has supported proven corporate candidates as Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and Barack Obama.

In conclusion, the U.S. is obviously not a democracy, but a corporatocracy and only grassroots social and political activism that stands firmly, confidently, courageously, and honestly outside of the system can defeat it. Trying to defeat the Empire from the inside is like trying to put out a forest fire by pouring gasoline on it.

Cindy Sheehan is a U.S. anti-war activist, who attracted national and international media attention in 2005 for her extended anti-war protest at a makeshift camp outside then President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch. She ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008. She is a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Her memoir, Peace Mom: A Mother’s Journey Through Heartache to Activism, was published in 2006. Sheehan was also a vice-presidential nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party in 2012.  This article first appeared on the telesurtv site here.

Further reading: Trump, Sanders and the blind alleys of American populism

  1. Susanne K says:

    Really good article. It’s funny how Sanders has suckered a section of the US left. He’s a Democratic Party politician – they’re a capitalist party. They didn’t even used to be a ‘labour’ party – they used to be the party of the slave-owners and the Ku Klux Klan and later became a liberal-imperialist party. They’re the folks who gave us the Vietnam War (or the US war on Vietnam), the Korean War (or the US war on Korea), etc etc.