The reality of “radical politics”

In reality there is nothing more truly radical than the idea that America can just return to normal overnight if enough Americans check a box next to Biden’s name

Even during the raging COVID-19 pandemic millions of Americans do not have access to healthcare. Medicare for all is seen by some as too “radical” and “wishful thinking”. (Photo from

Oden Taylor, Feature Editor

The term “radical politics” has been thrown around more this year than baseballs in the World Series. People from both the left and right sides of the political spectrum use this term, though it seems to be more highly favored by the right. 

The words “radical” and “progressive” are used in different ideological spaces almost interchangeably, however, they are not synonymous, and in fact, depending on who is using them they can have both positive and negative meanings depending on the framers’ political views. It is time for the American people to reject these labels, as they are nothing more than a distraction from the agenda of the ruling class, and to think critically about what is being labeled as radical and why. 

The undeniable king of the radical politics label is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders identifies as a democratic socialist, though many conveniently tend to drop “democratic” from his title and he is often compared to socialist dictators from other countries by his opponents.

Though Sanders is at the top of the list for the establishment in regards to the radical label, he is far from the only person given this title. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren also got her fair share of “radical” labeling during her campaign for the 2020 presidency. 

What is it that these two politicians have in common as far as their policy is concerned? A shared belief that healthcare is a human right and that student loan debt should be forgiven.

On the surface, it may be hard to see what is so radical about these policies but the nature and power of capitalism have demonized these ideas to a level of supposed absurdity, with claims that these programs would bankrupt the country costing taxpayers trillions and calling these policies “pipedreams.” 

Though both Sanders and Warren ended their campaigns when it became clear former vice president Joe Biden was going to become the Democrat nomination for president, the radical label has still not left the political conversation. 

Both Biden and his running mate, vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, have now also been labeled as “radical” by the right and “progressive” by the left. The Biden team is not promising healthcare as a human right and has no plan to eliminate student loan debt or make college free. 

Despite this, the duo is still being touted as the “most progressive” leaders America has ever seen by the left, and President Donald Trump has tried relentlessly to equate their projected policies with radical socialism. 

Neither Biden nor Harris are anything close to the true definition of progressive or democratic socialists—in fact, they represent the long standing neoliberal establishment that the Democrat party has worked tirelessly to maintain.

The Biden/Harris plan includes increasing police budgets by $300 million, raising the capital gains tax only to individuals that make more than $400 thousand a year (up from $250 thousand), not banning fracking and not providing Medicare for all. 

Any reasonable person can see how these ideas are actually in opposition with things currently deemed “radical.”  

Biden himself has said many times over the course of this year that “nothing will fundamentally change” if he wins the presidency. He has made it very clear to voters he is not interested in creating a new system and he would rather return us to the post-2012 Obama era prior to Trump’s reign as the country’s leader. 

In reality, there is nothing more truly radical than the idea that America can just return to normal overnight if enough Americans check a box next to Biden’s name. This year has shown us exactly what is wrong with our system; it is racist, classist and ultimately unfair on purpose. 

Our leaders on the left and the right have refused to protect us and instead have given more tax breaks and government bailouts to the rich, while we the people watch our jobs leave, our money dwindle and our friends and family members die of COVID-19. 

Even with an uncontrolled raging pandemic and an economic collapse, our choices for president will not provide us with guaranteed healthcare or universal basic income, yet no one is ringing the radical bell. Instead, this is seen as an inevitable consequence of life in America. Some win and some lose, some live and some die, and government intervention is seen as the ultimate evil by both sides in power unless it benefits their political donors.     

Ask yourself why is it that the country can’t afford universal healthcare but it can always afford to give billions to the rich in the form of corporate tax cuts and bailouts, and why is this not seen as radical? 

Never forget those with the most money always have the most power and they will always create a narrative that protects their interests alone. Do not be fooled by the pageantry of the political process and buy into these claims that the solutions to our problems are too “radical” to achieve.