27 February 2020

So -- what if it's Bernie?

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a front-runner.  Bernie Sanders more or less tied in Iowa, won in New Hampshire, and then massively won in Nevada.  In delegates, he leads with 45 (Buttigieg has 26, Biden 15).  He's jumped into the lead in polling for the nomination, with 29% support to Biden's 18%.  Establishment pundits are freaking out.

Please.  Sanders won Nevada by appealing to a wide range of voters beyond his established base, notably Latinos; he couldn't have won otherwise.  His track record shows that he knows how to win.  He's not as polarizing among Democrats as conventional wisdom has it.  In fact, a plurality of Democrats now views him as having the best shot at defeating Trump.

Are they right?  Most of the polls in the RCP average show Sanders beating Trump by various (usually small) margins, which is the same as what they show for most of the other Democratic contenders.  Some have argued that this lead would not survive an actual contest in which Trump would mercilessly pillory Sanders as a "socialist".  Arguably that line of attack wouldn't work; Sanders, after all, knows how to fight back (and the Republicans would denounce any Democratic nominee as a socialist, Marxist, etc.).  One thing I do know is that while Americans have been trained to hate the word "socialist", the specific policies -- Social Security, Medicare, universal health coverage, higher taxes on the rich to strengthen social protections -- are popular.  So long as Sanders can keep the focus on specific policies, and keep hammering away at Republicans' threats to Social Security in particular, he may well defeat an attack based on mere labeling.

This Vox post argues that Sanders's electability depends on a surge of youth turnout which would be unlikely to materialize in practice.  The analysis is worth reading, but I assume that most of those polls in the RCP average use turnout models based on the conventional wisdom that youth turnout is generally low.  Yet they still show Sanders winning.  Dean Obeidallah at CNN argues that Sanders could win it all for reasons similar to why Trump did in 2016.

He still has a lot of work to do.  Biden has a big lead in South Carolina, which votes this Saturday and could re-shape the race going into Super Tuesday.  There are good reasons why black voters in particular are very cautious about an unconventional candidate like Sanders.  The world's two biggest and nastiest fossil-fuel-based gangster-regimes, those of Russia and Saudi Arabia, have ample reason to fear a Sanders presidency and thus ample motive to go all-out in interfering in the election.

But Obeidallah has a point.  If there's one guy who could bring to our side the kind of game-changing energy that Trump brought to the bad guys, it's Sanders.  He's a fighter.  He'll call out the enemy's bullshit.  He won't be genteel and play by the rules against an enemy who refuses to do so.  And he's a disruptor.  There are many voters who went for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and then for Trump in 2016 -- because they didn't care about ideology, they just wanted someone who would shake up the status quo.  Sanders has, a least, a chance with those voters.

We will, of course, hear a lot about 1972.  However, it's been argued that the real reason McGovern lost so badly was that the party leaders failed to give him their full support -- which brings us back to those freaking-out establishment pundits.  We can't afford such games-playing this time.  Trump is far more dangerous and malignant than Nixon.  If Sanders gets the nomination, then all Democrats must go all-out to support him.  There can be no excuses, no forgiveness, and no future role in the party for any who fail to do so -- no matter how highly-placed they are now.


Blogger Mike said...


27 February, 2020 06:26  
Blogger Mary said...

Bottom line.... vote and vote for whomever the Democratic nominee is. Our country is dangerously at risk this time.

27 February, 2020 07:01  
Blogger Oblio said...

I like Bernie... and have for a long time since I heard his weekly talks on 'Air America' over 10 years ago. If he's the nominee, I will definitely vote for him.

However, I think we underestimate the venality and corrupt methods the GOP will use against ANY Democratic Presidential nominee, and that goes double for Bernie. I am of the opinion that many (if not most) Americans who will actually vote are woefully uninformed, dis-informed and under-educated as to why it shouldn't matter that Bernie is a self-described Democratic Socialist. All they'll hear is SOCIALIST and to them that equates to COMMUNIST. I wish that weren't so, but it is. Education matters.

Coupled with the fact that the Sanders campaign has said they'll refuse Bloomberg's shekels to support his run (if it gets to that) shows an intransigence to using everything and anything necessary to bounce Dolt 45 out of the WH. It's gotta be a klaxon call for 'all hands on deck' to get rid of the Dolt and Bernie's head is too far up his own butt to see that.

(sigh... facepalm)

Counting on the youth vote is a fools errand, I'm afraid. While his rallies have been well-attended (like Dump's) and the energy is higher than pundits can understand (like Dump's), the meager youth turnout increase will be counterbalanced by the fearful anti-Commie vote that the GOP will gin up like a stupid mob from 'The Simpsons'.

Jeez... I sound so hopeless and right now, that's exactly how I feel about our chances in November. Once the primaries are over, my wife and I have decided to go all-in for our nominee, will volunteer to help and do all we can to get Dump out at all costs. Otherwise, we're in for a nation-destroying second term with the Worst Person That Ever Lived as POTUS.

I need a drink.

THANK YOU for the excellent posting and words of optimism... we need it!!!!

27 February, 2020 07:26  
Blogger Leanna said...

No Matter Who, Vote BLUE. It is up to those of us to pass the word. We have no other choice but to get that simpleton out of the White House.

27 February, 2020 08:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernie by refusing bloombergs poisoned chalice of money is just following the law.
The only way that bloomberg COULD contribute as much money as he is claiming would be through a PAC of some sort.
Because of campaign finance laws a campaign can NOT coordinate with any outside political funding other then the Party itself and even that has some land mines to trip up the unwary.
Granted the idea of adhering to campaign finance laws after they have been flaunted and ignored for so long may be seen as a bit naive but better that then adding more fuel to the delusion that both parties/ candidate are the same.
Bloomberg is just upset because Bernie publicly not only refused his offer to get his hooks into Bernie but by extension by his revealing bloomberg's contempt of campaign finance laws.

27 February, 2020 13:23  
Blogger Jack said...

The voter turnout argument is an interesting one. Sanders seems to inspire far more enthusiasm than any other candidate. This should translate into high voter turnout. And yet, it didn't in 2016. If it did, Sanders would have defeated Clinton. I think he's doing better this time than he did in 2016, but I'm not sure whether this will translate into the sort of voter turnout he'll need.

27 February, 2020 13:47  
Anonymous nonnie9999 said...

The only polls that count are the state-by-state ones. I live in Floriduhhh. I highly doubt that Bernie can win here. That means he has to win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and/or other rust belt states. I don't really see that happening either. I worry about the down-ticket races if he is the top of the ticket.

27 February, 2020 15:58  
Blogger Charles Watkins said...

"Socialist" is a Cold War scare word, along with "Commie", "Red", "Marxist", "Atheist", and so on. People use these words to identify themselves as patriots and to attack anyone they are opposed to. It's a tribal banner, so they respond as they think they should. That's why they say they hate socialism but love social security.

The problem is not so much educating the (older) public about the difference between Marxism and democratic socialism as helping them see that taking care of everyone is also patriotic.

27 February, 2020 16:33  
Blogger Lady M said...

I would vote for any functioning human being over Trump.

27 February, 2020 19:47  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

If it's Bernie, well, it's Bernie.
Anybody but Cheeto. Well, unless it's Tulsi because fuck that bitch.


28 February, 2020 02:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For al lthose who express "concern" that Bernie will alienaite those hispanics in florida who grabbed their stolen funds and deserted their countries when right wing ideologues were forced only has half of the discussion.
How about aall those Hispanic refugees from Puerta Rico, Haiti, Honduro's etc where the people were fleeing from right wing death squads, institional bigotry, oppression, corporate misrule and "capitalism" run amok a'la United Fruit?
Oh just like "journalist's" chasing after the deplorables to justify the racism and misogny of that group so it seems in florida where only cuban or venezuelain cowards are worthy of being politically profiled as "powerful" groups.

28 February, 2020 13:22  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

I'm voting blue no matter who.

29 February, 2020 12:56  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks for all the comments -- I hope my post and the links have provided some evidence that nominating Sanders would not be a prospect to fear as some seem to believe. And yes -- vote for our nominee whoever it is!

29 February, 2020 16:20  

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