The 2018 Progressive Honor Roll: Most Valuable Senator – Bernie Sanders

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      A senator serving in the minority in Mitch McConnell’s chamber of legislative horrors has a duty to object. And few senators have objected so consistently in 2018 as Bernie Sanders did to the Senate’s transformation into a rubber stamp for the Trump administration and Wall Street. But what made Sanders so valuable—and effective—was his determination to promote an alternative politics and policies. Throughout the year, he introduced major bills that drew national attention: a “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist” measure, with California Congressman Brad Sherman, to break up the nation’s biggest banks and risky financial institutions; a Workplace Democracy Act, with Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan, to restore the right of workers to organize unions and bargain collectively by repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act and upending so-called right-to-work laws in the states; an Opioid Crisis Accountability Act of 2018, with Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, to penalize drug manufacturers who illegally market or distribute opioid products; and a comprehensive plan to save the US Postal Service.

      Sanders, Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy, and Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah built a bipartisan coalition that voted 56–41 to reject the Trump administration’s support for Saudi Arabia’s genocidal assault on Yemen. When he couldn’t get the Senate to act, Sanders used his bully pulpit: he organized live and online town-hall meetings—with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, filmmaker Michael Moore, actress Shailene Woodley, author Bill McKibben, and others—that attracted millions to discussions on climate change, inequality, and corporate welfare. In September, Sanders introduced the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (or “Stop BEZOS”) Act, named for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, to pressure trillion-dollar corporations to pay fair wages. The proposal, wrote Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Michael Hiltzik, “set the policy world ablaze.” In October, Bezos announced that Amazon would pay its 250,000 US employees—and 100,000 seasonal workers—at least $15 an hour.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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