Bernie Sanders Supporters Have a Victory, But They Should Lose the War
Bernie Sanders and his followers have had a good night in New Hampshire, winning big over the woman that looked destined to be crowded the next President of the United States by acclamation.
Now the media and the public will move beyond the excitement and look at what Bernie is actual staying. And for most of America, the America that could elect him President, his vision of the US is pretty radical. It's a vision that no mainstream Democratic would have dared to say publicly, even a few years ago.
These are wacko. Crazy ideas. Things that might sound pretty reasonable here in the UK. Ideas like free university tuition, universal healthcare and raising taxes on Wall Street. And it's because people in Great Britain might think they are reasonable that shows he has clearly gone too far.
Although it's not so much that he's saying these things that is the problem; the problem is he has been saying them for 30 odd years or more. He's been consistent in this world view for decades, never wavering. Pure in his beliefs. Which could explain why he never had time to comb his hair.
What the Sander-nistas seem to say is that if you have evolved in your beliefs you're not a true believer to the cause. But by this definition most Democrats wouldn't be Democrats anymore. And back when he first had these views Sanders wasn't a Democrat either, he was always an independent who sided with the Democrats regularly. He only joined the party last year, as he decided it was ready to be lead by him. Sort of the cart rolling down the hill and reaching the horse.
And many on the far left are excited by their new, fresh 74 year-old standard bearer. They want everyone to be as true as Bernie in order to now be a Democrat. And this firebrand, liberal Puritanism could come at a high price.
Much as Republicans are now hostage to the right-wing Tea Party - and gagged by anti-tax pledges - Bernie's supporters are making American politics even more dysfunctional than they already are - and that's saying something. For the Democrats that are embracing him they should take hard look at how far their Republican frienemies have fallen.
The Grand Old Party (or GOP as the Republicans are commonly called) are clearly in chaos, even if they don't end up with Donald Trump as the nominee. They have brought this disaster on themselves, most recently by absorbing the government-is-always-bad-except-for my-own-social-entitlements Tea Party, but it goes back even further.
There are so many rules to be a Republican now that even Reagan looks a bit progressive in hindsight. You can't support Obamacare, ANY tax increases, ANY gun control or gun restrictions, ANY increase to the debt ceiling, ANY deals with Iran/Syria/Russia/Foreign-ish Peoples.
Between all their anti-government, anti-tax, anti-everything Obama all the GOP has left are candidates who can't compromise, can't tax, can't govern. It's makes it hard to see them winning the presidency.
The only GOP path to victory may be the success of Bernie Sanders. His supporters say they 'Feel the Bern' and are a fired up, angry lot. They are stoking the flames of liberal version of the Tea Party. In this case it will be Organic, Free-trade, Green Tea. And it will be full of nuts. Because they are ignoring the fact that most American's just want a Full-fat Kardashian Frappuccino.
Bernie is simply too far to the left to be President of the United States. Just like Jeremy Corbyn won't be Prime Minister in the UK. That isn't popular to say at the moment. But it's true. You can try and believe it. But it's like believing another pint makes you more attractive to someone. It doesn't. It means you're simply driving them into the arms of a Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Because Bernie isn't coming from America. He's coming out of Vermont. A state that couldn't get any whiter even if it never snowed again. They have more in common with Sweden than they do with South Carolina.
I'm not arguing to completely put out the Bern, or that they have to dump out his holistic tea, or some other stretched metaphor ready to have its elasticity snapped. Just channel the energy differently. It's great that he's exciting progressives. It's great that he's helping to destigmatize the idea of socialism in America. In the past saying you were a socialist in America was about as popular as saying ISIS have a few interesting ideas.
The Democrats need a candidate that can win. Even if it means a dose of moderation. Because more than just protecting Obama's legacy, keeping Obamacare, or having a viable immigration policy, the next President will have a huge chance to remake the US Supreme Court. Four of the Justices in lifetime appointments will soon be in their 80's. Their lifetimes are nearly up. Whoever picks the next generation of Justices will change America for a generation.
While it's great to see the left fired up, they are destroying the Democrats only reasonable chance of winning, by putting up someone who has no chance. If that happens they will have left the whole country feeling truly burned.
NOTE: Since the original writing of the this piece one of the Justices has left us. But it has nothing to do with me or this piece. I haven't been in Texas for years.