Krystal Ball on Sanders: The gloves are finally off

Opinion by: Krystal Ball

Well, we can report some major developments in the Sanders campaign this morning. He's just released a truly transformational plan that would remake the nature of our economy. And, he is directly drawing a contrast with Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE in a way that we've never seen before. Ladies and gentlemen, we now know the impact of the Senator's health scare and it ought to leave his rivals quaking in their boots. This Bernie is making himself personally vulnerable in a way we haven't seen before, is willing to go after his rivals, and is offering the first true alternative to unfettered capitalism. This is yolo Bernie and it's exactly who he needs to be to win.

Alright first, for weeks now, Saagar and I have been talking about the big differences between Bernie and Warren and arguing that if Sanders really wants to win, he's got to talk about those differences too. Now, obviously, Bernie has resisted doing this. It's not comfortable for him. Remember when he let HRC off the hook for her email mess? And even though Warren endorsed HRC over Bernie in 2016, the two have remained genuine friends. Well for the first time ever, Sanders has taken direct aim at Warren and made it clear that he does not believe they fundamentally share an ideology.

This is Sanders willing to be uncomfortable in order to win. And the distinction he draws with Warren cuts right to the heart of the matter. Sanders is the only revolutionary thinker of the top candidates. He's an existential threat to the Democratic party establishment and the established way of doing things. If you want a regular pol who's standard Clintonian you've got Biden. if you want a regular pol who's more progressive you've got Warren. But if you are one of the 70% percent of Americans who are angry at the political establishment, if you think our economic philosophy and political institutions are rotten, Bernie's your guy.

This framing vis a vie Warren goes hand in glove with a new plan that could only have come uniquely from Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE. Alright, here we go.

This morning, Sanders announced his plan for corporate accountability and democracy. Behind that rather innocuous title however, lies a proposal that would actually change the nature of our economy giving real wealth and real power to workers. The idea is pretty simple really.

Give workers 20% of the shares in their companies and 45% of corporate board seats.

There's a lot more here too about helping workers own businesses outright, requiring workers to be compensated when their jobs are offshored or automated, an aggressive plan to combat mergers, and one to actually tax corporations, rather than just pretending to tax corporations. We are going to speak with Sanders national policy director Josh Orton later in the show to dig into all of those details. But it's hard to overstate just how profound a transformation 20% ownership and 45% of the board seats would really mean. It's honestly hard to even wrap your head around.

Here's why this is such a big deal. So, a few years back, economist Thomas Piketty made waves with his book Capital in the 21st Century. Using the most detailed data on inequality ever compiled, Piketty's book revealed that in mature economies, the rate of return on capital will always outpace that of wage growth. In other words, without government intervention, people who have wealth and investments will always be getting further and further ahead of the worker, the wage earner. The end result is skyrocketing inequality. A political system captured by the wealthy. And the dominance of patrimonial capitalism where inherited wealth just overwhelms the system. Considering we live in a country where one family, the Walton's, own more wealth than the bottom 40% combined, it's not hard to see what Piketty was talking about. So, the only way to really systemically change the widening inequality and corruption that comes with it is to make everyone an owner.

That's to say nothing of what would happen when you have shareholders and board members who are actual community members rather than anonymous global citizens. How would it impact local communities to have workers with power over how responsibly their company behaved in the community. How would it impact the treatment of our water and our air and corporation's investment in community life?

Look, a serious health scare can change a person. It can be a clarifying event. Putting aside Bernie's new plan and new willingness to contrast with Warren, you can tell his heart attack had an impact on him. You can see a new openness in his interviews and videos. Just watch.

I have one life to live. What role do I want to play? The pundits have of course used this heart attack to write Bernie off once again. But I don't think so though. From what I've seen, for the first time, Bernie is really doing what it takes to win. Willing to get uncomfortable and make the choice clear, freely showing his vulnerability, and boldly spelling out the kind of transformational vision that has set him apart from the pack for decades. The next debate's tomorrow night, and it's game on.