Friday, May 01, 2015

Bernie Sanders isn't going to win. Support him anyway

By Richard Barry

We get it, Nate Cohn. We really do. Bernie Sanders isn't going to win the Democratic presidential nomination. And Elizabeth Warren, should she have run, would also not have won.

Aside from the relative weakness of Sanders and Warren, and they are weak candidates, Mr. Cohn wants us to know "[t]he left wing of the Democratic Party just isn’t big enough to support a challenge to the left of a mainstream liberal Democrat like Mrs. Clinton."

He writes, primarily concerning Senator Warren but easily applicable to Senator Sanders:

That might seem somewhat surprising if you’re an affluent, secular, well-educated person living along the coasts, in places like Bethesda, Md., Berkeley, Calif., or Montclair, N.J., where the party really is dominated by the uniformly liberal voters who love Elizabeth Warren and harbor at least some reservations about Mrs. Clinton. From that vantage point — which happens to be the same as that of many political journalists — it often looks as if Mrs. Warren could even defeat Mrs. Clinton.

He adds this:
But the Democratic primary electorate is nothing like these liberal enclaves. Elsewhere, the party includes a large number of less educated, more religious — often older, Southern or nonwhite — voters who are far from uniformly liberal.

And then this:

The majority of Democrats and Democratic primary voters are self-described moderates or even conservatives, according to an Upshot (New York Times) analysis of Pew survey data from 2014 and exit polls from the 2008 Democratic primary.

Maybe, maybe, maybe you, Mr Cohn, will find significant numbers of people living on the coasts matching your demographic who honestly believe a consistently leftist Democratic candidate could win the party's nomination. But they would be delusional. 

Let's face it,  American politics has moved so far to the right over the past decades that nearly any progressive policy has to first apologize for its progressiveness to have any chance of gaining wide public support or of passing.

Yes, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee because she is what passes for progressive these days, which is equally true of President Obama.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, good lefties each one of them, speak a language lost on the vast majority of Americans. Most "affluent, secular, well-educated persons living on the coasts" know that.

Still, and assuming Sen. Warren does not jump in, I hope those progressively inclined support Sen. Sanders with their money, votes and enthusiasm because we should never give up on the right message just because it can't win in the short term.

Hillary in 2016! I'm so excited.

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  • What I don't understand is why we are constantly told that a liberal Democrat can't win (which is largely true). But we aren't constantly told that a conservative Republican can't win. I think the media has a real ax to grind with regard to this -- to the extent that it becomes self-fulfilling. You are quite right that no one thinks that Sanders is going to win. But I will say the same thing I say on about Ted Cruz: if he won the primary and the economic fundamentals were in his favor, he would become president. Just the same, what the establishment press hate most about Sanders -- his economic liberalism -- is not what makes him a weak candidate.

    I still maintain the reason that Clinton will win the nomination is that the Democratic Party did not like having to choose in 2008. We liked them both. We like them both.

    And I fully expect Sanders to make Clinton a better candidate.

    By Blogger Frank Moraes, at 12:12 PM  

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