Sen. Bernie Sanders has seen his statements about wealth inequality come under vicious attack from the right. Today, PolitiFact confirmed that Sen. Sanders’ statement about the Walton family having more wealth than the bottom 40% is true.
A little over a week ago Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted that, “Today the Walton family of Walmart own more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of America.” Sanders also made this statement during his recent congressional testimony on Citizens United.
Even though Sen. Sanders has been discussing the issues of wealth inequality and fighting for middle class and working Americans for years, it was his recent report about the impact of Citizens United and the 26 billionaires who are trying to buy the 2012 election that has raised the ire of the right.
The Vermont senator’s recent statements about the Walton family caught the attention of PolitiFact, and the Pulitzer Prize winner fact checkers analyzed Sanders’ tweet.
PolitiFact concluded that, “The statistic correctly compares the combined net worth of the bottom 41.5 percent of American families with the six Walton family members. We think the additional points — that many people with a negative net worth are not necessarily poor and that percentages about wealth distribution can be deceiving — are important and interesting. Nevertheless, Sanders’ claim is solid. We rate it True.”
The right has been trying various tactics to undermine the message of Sen. Sanders. Their favorite one seems to be to complain that Sanders only goes after conservative billionaires. They frequently ask why Sanders doesn’t go after the liberal billionaires who are buying elections. The answer to that question is that liberal billionaires aren’t holding secret conferences to fundraise and strategize about how to purchase our elections.
The answer is that left isn’t engaging in the same behavior to the same degree that the right is. There is a reason why Democrats support efforts to overturn Citizens United, and Republicans are opposed. The conservative billionaires have become the lifeblood of the Republican Party. They pick the candidates. The right wing billionaires buy the ads, and when their candidates are elected, they pass the legislation. Conservative billionaires own and operate the Republican Party.
Bernie Sanders is dangerous to the interests of these billionaires, because as PolitiFact confirmed, he is telling the truth about their activities. In a political system where incumbents have been terrorized into silence by Citizens United empowered billionaires, Sen. Bernie Sanders stands alone.
The only way that the billionaires will be defeated is if the American people stand together against wealth inequality, and demand their country back. Sen. Sanders has the message that can put the tools of our representative democracy back into the people’s hands.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association