Feel the Bern!
Senator Sanders, the Vermont social-democrat is up over Hillary Clinton in a recent New Hampshire primary poll. Since he leads the former Secretary of State 44-37, it’s time we give him the credit he deserves. Clearly, the man is more than just a simple protest candidate for the hard left. He is a true representative of one of America’s two major political parties.
That’s a very painful truth to realize. American politics has fallen so far to the left that one of its wings is trying to emulate the European Union openly. Much of this leftward shift has to do with false populist myths that get shared without a second thought among American progressives. Take for example the notion that the Federal government is doing less for the poor, taking in less tax revenue, spending more resources on the military, and regulating the economy less than before. As we’ve demonstrated already, this is all just factually inaccurate. Most of the Federal government is already a transfer payment clearing house, and it didn’t used to be. The left is increasingly dissatisfied with American economics even though Americans economics have been drifting ever further left, away from capitalism.
Nominating Bernie in 2016 would be sad for symbolic reasons, and it would a big wake up call to the right, showing us just how much ground we have lost. But as far as the immediate practical effects of such a nomination, it would be a huge give away to the Republican Party.
No, not just because he would be easy to beat. Although that is certainly half of it. It’s also true that if he somehow won the general election, he would destroy the Democratic Party, and the liberal image generally.
First, sorry Bernie but you aren’t going to be dealing with a progressive Congress. Political experts agree that because of the way congressional district are drawn, the next 3 election cycles (’16, ’18, ’20) are almost a lock for House Republicans. In other words, they will maintain their majority for the first six years of his 8 year limit. Second, even if the GOP loses the Senate in 2016, which is about a 50-50 proposition now, they will win it back no question in 2018. That Senate map is a repeat of the 2012 Obama victory, and it is strikingly similar to the situation the Democrats faced in 2014. The Democrats are defending seats in Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana and West Virginia. All red states, and they are also defending seats in the swing states of Ohio, Virginia, and Florida, as well as Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, all of which are also possible pick ups given the fact it will be a midterm election which has a baked in GOP turnout advantage. Conversely, every seat the GOP is defending, which is only 8, is in a red state with the one exception of Nevada. Does anyone honestly think two years of a Bernie Presidency wouldn’t give the GOP plenty to play off of, and drive out their base and frustrated moderates?
I only bring this up to show progressives the downside of electing Sanders. Unless Bernie compromises and signs into law GOP agenda items, nothing will get done in Washington except marginal executive advances, half of which will be struck down in the courts. In other words, Bernie will sell out to unpopular GOP agenda items (unpopular with the left to be specific), or nothing will get done and the left will lose motivation to show up in 2020. Poor performances in 2018 (when most governors will be elected) and 2020 would destroy the Democratic Party, because that would give another round of redistricting to Republicans after the 2020 census, further compounding leftist problems. However mean they think it is for Republicans to do so, Republicans just don’t care. Gerrymandering is part of American politics. It’s how the system works. It’s been done by both parties for decades.
A Sanders presidency could look a lot like Carter. Sadness sweeps the land, foreign affairs continue to get out of whack, a depressing and uninteresting old white President gets on TV to tell America how bad things are, and a Republican landslide would likely follow after one term. Along with another decade of built in GOP House majorities. But 2032 isn’t that far away right?
Seriously, do Sanders supporters expect the likes of House republicans to go along with single payer, free higher education, higher taxes, and more conservative untouchables? If you go with a more moderate candidate, the long term damage to the party wouldn’t be as bad. But that’s just my opinion.