Bernie Sanders

Bernie Already Won. So Why Run Again?

The Vermont independent has yanked Democrats so far to the left that his competitors are becoming mini-mes.

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||| Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS/Newscom
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS/Newscom

Is there another outsider who yanked an unwilling political party further in his or her ideological direction in a shorter period of time than Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)? I mean, other than Donald Trump.

Back when he was polling in single digits at the outset of the 2016 presidential primary, Sanders and his position of being against every single international trade agreement since World War II on the inaccurate grounds that they facilitate a "race to the bottom" were still considered outliers within the Democratic Party. By October 2015 his unlikely polling surge helped persuade consensus front-runner Hillary Clinton to downgrade her opinion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership from "gold standard" to junk.

Where are the Democrats now? "It's a pretty safe bet that no candidate is going to campaign as a free trader in the 2020 Democratic primary, setting up the potential for a large-scale realignment on a major policy issue for the party," Vox concluded this week.

Advantage Bernie, if not necessarily the country.

What about Sanders' radical campaign agenda item of providing free college tuition? Two years later, Inside Higher Ed reported, "Free college goes mainstream." His $15 federal minimum wage — originally opposed then later adopted by Clinton, despite being warned against doing so by the same liberal economist whose research is most often cited by proponents — was introduced in a House bill just last month.

Back when the 2016 primary was at its testiest, Clinton's favorite critique of the senator's proposals, particularly his "Medicare for all" plan, was that "the numbers just don't add up." This year? Good luck finding a Democratic candidate who doesn't back Medicare for all, at least as a feel-good slogan.

Maybe it took the election of an honest-to-God fabulist as president, but Democrats not named Amy Klobuchar seem to be divorcing themselves from any sense of real-world constraints on their apparently boundless aspirations. "Now it is time to complete that revolution," Sanders told his supporters Tuesday as he announced another shot at the presidency. The word choice wasn't accidental.

In addition to single-payer healthcare, free tuition and the $15 minimum wage, Sanders "will also tout proposals to mandate breaking up the biggest Wall Street banks; lower drug prices through aggressive government intervention; new labor laws to encourage union formation; curbed corporate spending on elections; paid family and medical leave; gender pay equity; and expanded Social Security benefits," the Washington Post reported. And don't forget the Green New Deal!

The real story here is not that Sanders is cranking his Spotify playlist of progressive greatest hits (including stuff I actually like, such as legalizing marijuana, reducing cash bail and adopting a more restrained foreign policy). It's that the rest of the 2020 Democratic field is already with him on most of the economic and budgetary issues that drive his fans wild with happiness and me to drink.

Which suggests the question: Why run, at age 77, when you've already won?

Maybe Sanders wants to prove to himself that the revolution he helped start is real enough to be enacted into society-altering legislative change. Here, despite the persuasive successes listed above, I suspect Bernie and his supporters may again end up tasting bitter disappointment.

Despite the breakout success of such oxygen-gobbling, Sanders-influenced stars as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), it is moderate Democrats, not progressives, who have repainted the House of Representatives blue. The national political media may love telegenic coastal lefties, but the policymaking future of the party probably lies closer to the unorthodox centrism of purple-state nonconformists such as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

And the track record of big progressive policy ideas colliding with reality is just not great — even in the late stages of a long economic expansion.

Bernie's home state of Vermont passed single-payer healthcare, only to scrap it when the price tag became clearer. Maryland enacted a "millionaires tax" more than a decade ago only to discover that rich people can afford to move. And Californians can testify about the gaps between progressive dreams and on-the-ground costs when it comes to the Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez vision of high-speed rail.

It's possible that these are just growing pains for the revolutionary wing of the Democrats. Maybe there are solid national majorities that will back the kind of economic policies popular in Los Angeles, Seattle and New York. But there's an alternative theory worth considering.

Bernie Sanders, who has been Bernie Sanders almost forever, only became a national phenomenon after emerging as the last real candidate standing against Hillary Clinton, a comparatively inauthentic machine politician who tried valiantly to make her nomination look preordained. Americans don't take kindly to coronations, and many of the Democrats I know who flocked to Sanders did so not because they agreed with him on everything he said, but because he meant it at least.

In a campaign with just two choices, ideology can be overrated, even overlooked. But Democrats are now hurtling toward 2020 with a dozen declared candidates, half of whom agree with Sanders on economics. It's going to take more than a bag full of trillion-dollar promises to make Sanders the "at least I mean it" candidate this time.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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  1. Everybody’s on board with drive to create the New Soviet Man. God fucked up big time when He gave Man free will, the collectivists are determined to undo that mistake. They are stupid, evil, greedy, hate-filled monsters and yet they cloak their determination to steal from and destroy those they envy in words of caring and compassion. The American public education system has done such a marvelously successful job of indoctrinating and brainwashing the sheep that the sheep are eager to get on the bus for the fieldtrip to the slaughterhouse and it never occurs to them to wonder why none of their fellow sheep ever come back from the adventure.

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    2. In addition to the K-12 brainwashing, the communist that run our universities dominate the social media brainwashing if millineals. They know appeals to them so they can spin their commie doctrines with that in mind.

      1. Millineals get most of their information through social media and are inundated constantly with these messages oblivious to the manipulation built into these campaigns. And of course media, pop culture, and even corporations jump on that bandwagon because millineals are their target demographic.

        1. The university commies control the message because they have have zero qualms about using lies to lure young people into their cult. To them, the ends always justify the means. The sanctimony tactic is used to shame any young person who might dare to question the narrative. That’s why you have AOC cloaking her fables in morality.

          1. +100

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        2. The university commies control the message because they have have zero qualms about using lies to lure young people into their cult. To them, the ends always justify the means. The sanctimony tactic is used to shame any young person who might dare to question the narrative. That’s why you have AOC cloaking her fables in morality.

          1. To them, the ends always justify the means.

            Yes, the ends that Progs enunciate are often beneficial, but the means are damning – give up your liberty and we will make things wonderful. And, of course, power corrupts…..

            1. The ends are just the lies necessary to obtain the means

      2. Remember how in the 1990s libertarians dominated the Internet?

        1. That porn took forever to download!

        2. Libertarians dominate all frontiers. That’s the only thing they dominate.

    3. lol any well read intellectual knows that free-will is likely a farce

  2. I actually disagree with the main theme of this piece. It seems to argue that the Democrats have moved far to the left in recent years. However, I learned in college that, in fact, it’s the Republicans ? and only the Republicans ? who have been radicalized to the point where they’re barely recognizable anymore.

    I mean, on an issue by issue basis it’s abundantly clear that Drumpf is far to the right of someone like Ronald Reagan.

      1. Yes, the U.S. should get its act together on climate change and then launch devastating military attacks on any polluting nation (China, India, Brazil, etc.) that fails to surrender to the anti-CO2 forces. Our successful crusade should protect the planet for at least a thousand years.

      2. AUMF against nature? Didn’t the US try that in Vietnam?

      3. Nuke the atmosphere, just like in the 50’s and early 60’s. No global warming then

        1. That is such an obvious solution. Carl Sagan and Paul Ehrlich discovered it back in 1983.

    1. But Bernie will close,the border!

    2. “I mean, on an issue by issue basis it’s abundantly clear that Drumpf is far to the right of someone like Ronald Reagan.”

      Reagan fought for less spending, but the Democrats controlled the House and they write the budgets. Trump knows he can’t fight them on the budget, so doesn’t.

      Reagan escalated the Cold War, and funded opposition to the Nicaraguan Contras, contrary to Congress’ wishes. And he and Nancy ratcheted up the War on Drugs. Reagan even proposed a Constitutional Amendment to create an official school Prayer.

      Based on these examples, Trump is to the left of Reagan.

  3. Political analysts over-interpret. Like when Wofford won the special election for US sen. from Pa., & that resulted in the over-reach that was Hillarycare.

    Bernie wasn’t that popular. He just got into a race that all the moderates dropped out of or eschewed entry to, vs. Hillary. Now for 2020 all the Democrats on the “left” are encouraged to run for prez, over-interpreting 2016.

    1. Now that I’ve RTFA, I see this was Matt Welch’s alternative theory.

      1. So many Donkeys vomited at the thought of Hildog, that they even considered a socialist preferable.

        That says a LOT about Hillary’s appeal.

        1. She’s just awful. Even Bill thinks so.

          1. He really should have just divorced her after she lost… I mean what’s the point anymore? He could be openly banging slutty blue haired 20 year olds right now like he really want to be doing… Instead he has to keep up pretenses still. Poor guy.

      2. Welch’s theory is that voters flocked to Bernie because “he meant it” and Hillary’s self coronation was rejected.

        Seems to me, Democrats buying votes via redistribution, is getting on a train that’s hard to stop. After arguing that government can “protect us and make us prosperous” via redistribution (the history of socialism shows the opposite results, and taking peoples’ money from them for others is simply immoral) their arguments against the socialist elements in their party sounds like a rejection of everything they’ve told voters.

        Really, since when has a Democrat argued the rich are paying their fair share, too much taxation is bad, and less government control of commerce is a good thing? They’ve been arguing for socialism since FDR.

    2. It’s interesting that the Dem electoriate seems to be warming up to Joe “keep your hands to yourself” Biden.

      1. A creepy old man who likes to touch women and girls inappropriately versus a creepy old man who wants everyone to have a unicorn in their house.

        1. Too old and too white!

          Oh wait, that’s only when it’s a republican.

  4. Fake news!
    Bernie is an Independent; he cannot possibly run on a democratic ticket.

    1. That didn’t stop him from almost winning the Democrat nomination in 2016.

      I’ll assume you’re being sarcastic, and do remember what happened 3 years ago.

  5. Like all commies, he wants complete control before he begins his purges.

    1. +100

    2. What his fans need to understand is first they’ll come for the billionaires and then eventually the productive in every class. They’re marked for a purge and they don’t even know it.

      1. If they only end up going after productive people, Bernie supporters probably don’t have much to worry about, purge-wise. Where and how they will get their food, tech gadgets, and just about everything else is another matter.

      2. It’s so much easier for socialists to take what others have built, and while they control it claim the people now own it, than to actually produce anything. And socialists, unlike most blood sucking parasites, usually end up killing their hosts.

  6. Poor Democrats and “Independents” from Vermont have no choice but to be crazy Communists this election.

    Trump stole all the popular talking points with Americans- jobs, economy, immigration, record black employment, lower taxes, pulling troops out of endless war….

  7. Maybe the fact that they can be “yanked” like that suggests they shouldn’t be leading the charge? And maybe that’s why he’s still pushing? Last I checked, our government was still under the control of corporations and the unaccountably wealthy.

    1. Tell me about it. Those jack booted thugs from Coca-Cola are “disappearing” hundreds of people every night. And don’t get me started on what Amazon does to dissidents. It makes the Gulag look like Disneyworld. Speaking of Fascists, those assholes at Disney make so much money pointing guns at children and forcing them into movie theatres and threatening mass destruction if parents don’t take their vacations with them.

  8. Please Democrats, elect Bernie, and Ocasio-Cortez for VP. I want to see all the wealthy progs lose their shit when they are hit with a massive tax to pay for those who are unwilling to work and not be able to jet off exotic destinations for climate change conferences because of the Green New Deal.

    1. Won’t happen. None of that shit can pass the House and Senate. That’s actually one of the things about Bernie that make him … well… not so bad. His views on foreign wars are something he can actually act on. His plan for rewriting the economy will take Congressional partnership which won’t happen.

      1. Not to mention he can’t rewrite the rules of printing money, or of basic economics and even arithmetic.

        Any socialist in power could do a lot of damage, but they cannot rebuild 150M homes, replace all airliners with high speed rail, replace all cars with … something, send everyone to college for free, guarantee every single person a living wage for doing nothing, and rebuild the entire power grid with renewables. Not in a thousand years in a single state, and especially not in a single decade for the entire country.

        They couldn’t even pass the bills to do it, because laws have to be more specific than “do it”, and the appropriations bills would have to be more specific than “print it” or “borrow it”. They can’t confiscate all the wealth in the country; it’s not cash, it’s ownership of factories, and even if they could find someone to buy it for cash (who? they just confiscated everybody’s wealth), it would only pay for one month of all the funds they’d need.

    2. Ocasio-Cortez is too young to run for VP because she’s too young to serve as President. I suspect that’s also why the Democrat’s leadership hasn’t tried to rein her in. The press loves her, and she can effectively float policy “trial balloons” that the party as a whole has the option to embrace or plausibly deny.

      While it’s questionable whether Sanders is healthy enough to serve two terms if it came to that, I suspect his primary reason for running is to keep his issues at the forefront and play power-broker by giving his endorsement to the candidate of his choice when he ultimately withdraws.

    3. I think AOC is too young to be eligible.

  9. Bernie as an “outsider.” That’s funny. Sure, he may have been ‘outside’ the cabal intent on Hillary’s coronation, but otherwise, judging from his widespread support he’s a fixture of the Democratic party base.

    Thought if you slipped it in early people might swallow it whole did you Matt?

    1. Maybe you should have read the rest of the words in TFA.

      1. I did read the fucking article.

        Why don’t you quote the article to show where Matt indicates that he really doesn’t believe his assertion that Bernie represents an “ousider” to the Democratic party?

        It’s possible that these are just growing pains for the revolutionary wing of the Democrats. Maybe there are solid national majorities that will back the kind of economic policies popular in Los Angeles, Seattle and New York. But there’s an alternative theory worth considering.

        Bernie Sanders, who has been Bernie Sanders almost forever, only became a national phenomenon after emerging as the last real candidate standing against Hillary Clinton, a comparatively inauthentic machine politician who tried valiantly to make her nomination look preordained.

        Because that is as close as he gets. But it doesn’t actually say what you wish it said.

        Bernie is not a Democratic outsider, and never has been. At least not to the base of the party. And that is my point.

        But you wanted to ignore that, didn’t you?

        1. Its the alphabet troll.

        2. In addition, he has done almost nothing except be involved in politics since 1971. Hardly an “outsider”.

  10. “outsider who yanked an unwilling political party further in his or her ideological direction … other than Donald Trump.”

    Trump has an ideological direction! Who knew!!

    Welch fail.

    1. Trump has an ideological direction – inward. If he believes it, then it’s true. His innards are not just his guide, but mainly a black hole that sucks everything into it.

      The Republican party is now circling that black hole about to hit the event horizon where the party will disappear forever.

  11. What’s the best online bookie to place bets on Trump? Anyone got a good one?

  12. When Democrats aren’t acting like Socialists, they’re pretending they’re not Socialists.

    1. That’s what really is irritating. Stop pretending. I’ll respect you more. Like the media pretending they’re ‘objective’.

      They also seem to think adding the ‘Democratic’ descriptor as if an invisible force field makes their socialism better.

    2. Define socialist, please.

      1. In Internet slang, a troll is a person who starts quarrels or upsets people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive,[1]extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses[2] and normalizing tangential discussion,[3] whether for the troll’s amusement or a specific gain.

        1. What does that make you, an annoying cunt?

          1. You should really learn your place faggot.

      2. How it works I noticed is even if you properly define it guys like you will just refute along sophist lines. You’ll get into all sots of metaphysical knots trying to define it according to some romantic calculus.

        So here’s my definition.

        Socialism is where unicorns get to fuck you in the ass and have access to filet mignon where you don’t.

      3. Well, Bernie is an avowed socialist. The majority of the Democrats who have announced running for POTUS agree with almost all of his economic agenda.

        a=b, b=c, therefore a=c.

        QED

  13. They’re in the blood stream. Good luck getting them out.

    NOBODY NEEDS MORE THAN ONE CHILD!

  14. Sorry Bernie, you don’t have enough intersectional square footage to win the DEM primary. Too white, too male, too old, too straight.

    1. Also way too Jewish for many of the vanguard.

      1. Jooooossss!!!!!

  15. Consider the psychology of someone who is an unreconstructed 70s leftist radical, pushing death, and running for president. Better than the uniquely bizarre shitshow we currently have, but doesn’t this entire situation say something disturbing about America?

    1. Tony,

      I think I speak for many around here.

      Do you sniff glue?

      Do you need to walk on the sunshine a bit more?

    2. Tony, that a piece of trash ,Ike you hates Trump so much makes him all the better. He brings you pain, and this is good.

      You deserve unending agony.

  16. WILL SOMEONE BUY BERNIE A COMB ALREADY?!

    I can’t take seriously a 77 year-old man who doesn’t groom himself like a man.

    How types of combs would be allowed in his socialist dystopia paradise?

    1. One, but it will be free to everyone!

    2. Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb!

      Maybe we should elect Edd Bynes instead.

    3. Bernie will abolish combs! They’re a complete waste of time and resources to manufacture, so why have them at all? That will leave more money for infinite minimum wages and stuff.

  17. Perhaps the reason Bernie still wants to run despite having had all his ideas picked up by the Dems is that he’s actually in it for the power.

    In that respect, he is no different from any other politician or public official.

  18. He’s running to embarrass beltway progressives who pretend to be libertarians, like the majority of journos who write at Reason.

    “Dear Bernie, please stop embarrassing beltway progressives to the point we can’t write “both sides” stories anymore”- MW

  19. In 2016 Bernie experienced the perfect storm. Reasonable DNC candidates dropped out, leaving him as the sole beneficiary of the huge amount of “Anybody but Hillary” voters. This time around, he’s got young female politicians offering to ALSO be Santa Claus, so he loses that appeal as well. Coupled with the fact that the DNC is looking for ways to shove him aside already (Loyalty pledge, anybody?), and it’s obvious he’s not going to get anywhere near victory.

    1. The DNC is already looking to repeat the foolishness of the 2016 season. Just look at Kamala/Hillary 2.0

      1. Sure, they are looking to repeat the foolishness with a more acceptable, “woke” package. This old white dude simply will not cut it, especially when he isn’t even a Democrat!

        This election is NOT going to be kind to Bernie.

  20. Is there another outsider who yanked an unwilling political party further in his or her ideological direction in a shorter period of time than Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)? I mean, other than Donald Trump.

    Donald Trump moved the party from the neocon, make-the-world-for-democracy, Please Clap direction to the small-L libertarian direction.

  21. Sounds good to me. Just gutting our bloated military budget by 25% would pay for most of the stuff Bernie talks about, but adding on some proper taxes to banking, the rich, etc would definitely cover it. I wish Bernie would talk more about breaking up big corporations, though – as well as punishing corporations and other who move capital out of the US. That used to be illegal, and should be again.

    1. Math was not your best subject as a youth, I’m guessing.

      1. Neither was history, apparently.

  22. “s there another outsider who yanked an unwilling political party further in his or her ideological direction in a shorter period of time…”

    Unwilling? Jesus, Matt Welch sounds like he really believes that shit. Mind you, it kinda goes to the idea among many libertarians that gun to your head, it’s better to vote Dem than GOP cos while they like themselves some big government, they love also the open borders and weed thing.

  23. He’s running again, because he craves attention. He knows that he has no real value at all as a human being, so he needs the adulation of idiots to help him pretend that he matters.

    -jcr

  24. What people that want everything for free for themselves don’t understand is they will pay for everything free for everyone else that they will never benefit from. Net loss by being taxed to death.

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  26. We should probably be thanking Bernie for helping to make the Dems decloak themselves. MANY of them have always had these crazy socialist ideas, but were smart enough to lie about it. Now they’re largely saying it out loud… Which is going to turn off TONS of centrists the nation over. Much like how conservative southern Democrats bailed for the Rs over the last few decades, this new direction will push centrists away from the Dems in the millions. Or so it seems to me. I live in lib-tard land, and I can’t count the number of people who have said in varying words “I’m a life long liberal Democrat… But gosh these people are just getting too crazy for me!” If I’m hearing that by the score in shit lib land, it’s got to be 10x worse in the midwest and other purple states.

  27. Trump has not pulled God’s Own Prohibitionists toward his own Billary Dem views. The Mandatory Urinalysis Party drew up a platform calling for a Comstock Law Birth Control Amendment, more violence over plant leaves, but nothing against electric power plants and transmission lines. Trump won the audition and is pushing the party planks. The Dems did turn Trilby in response to Bernie’s Svengaliism. Here is a tensor towing that half of the Kleptocracy further into Altrurianism, complete with asset forfeiture but no French Red Terror guillotines–at least not yet.

  28. Do not forget that, Socialist/Communist Bernie Sanders, Senator!, has the Blood of the 20th Century Mass Butchery, of the Socialist/Marxist/Communist Agenda, on his hands! Several hundred million, Men, Women, Children, Slaughtered, and a couple of Billion Enslaved! He would respond in some similar manner, as he did in the article, as he can not refute my post! Bernie Sanders! Enemy of Freedom and Individual Rights!

  29. I believe them. If they actually got the power to completely control the economy then i think most of the GND goals would be completely forgotten.

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