Sanders’ Supporters Are More The Problem Than Is Bernie
Bernie Sanders’ supporters are willing to put their trust in him simply because he says the things that they want to hear despite the lack of evidence that he can effectively work within our system of governance to advance legislation codifying those things. He has only shown the ability to advocate for the beliefs of a small, homogeneous population of people who elected him to represent them.
The question his supporters won’t or can’t ask themselves is what has Bernie done to make the things he speaks of become reality? Free college, free healthcare, “cracking down” on Wall Street, or any of the other lofty aspirations that he is touting on the campaign trail have come how close to becoming full fledged legislation led by Bernie?
Otherwise, his supporters reasoning to elect him would be based on the hope that he can follow through on what he says in spite of the mountain of evidence that his entire legislative career has only shown him to at best have the ability to attach amendments to larger bills that may or may not be rolled back. Politicians failing to live up to progressive principles we sent them to DC to uphold does not mean it’s smart to vote for a guy whose campaign embraces standing on principle rather than legislating.
I can’t make sense of this phenomenon. Based on the reasoning of Sanders’ supporters, any ineffective legislator who simply says the things they agree with is qualified to be President no matter the impossibility or the impracticality of the things they are saying.
In our anger at Democratic deal-making at the cost of progressive principle, some of us are willing to select a recently-minted Independent with conservative principles on guns, trade and immigration. The only thing Sanders’ supporters seem to have in common with Democrats, is that they feel the party is the best vehicle to use to obtain the Presidency. I seriously wish Sanders’ supporters would not label those they oppose as inauthentic Democrats which is hilarious given that their candidate is not a Democrat (until recently running for President) and has done little to help the party.
The majority of those that have a D beside their names are basically progressive or their intent is to follow progressive principles. If the Democratic party fails, then so will the progressive voice. While Democrats in office may be tone def to what some in the party now want, many of Sanders’ supporters are new to governing entirely. They want progressivism as badly as those in office, but they feel the only solution is to force it upon the populace. They feel Democrats (and thus the public) have forgotten what progressivism is and will remind them by sheer force of will.
For winning and governing with pragmatic moderation and centrism, Sanders is the punishment from the far left who took over the party in 1968 only to have it wrested back from them by Clinton in 1992 and continued by Obama. With a Sanders candidacy, no Democrats win. As soon as the primaries are over, Sanders will then have to court conservatives and he will have no compunction what-so-ever to move to the right as evidenced by his stance on guns, immigration and trade.
I see only three logical outcomes of a Sanders candidacy. Either he loses and we have an entirely Republican Executive and Legislative branch, he wins and is largely ineffective due to an inability to govern, or he wins, finds common ground with Republicans on things they agree on, and the leftist dreams of his followers are laughed out of Washington. None of these outcomes builds upon what President Obama has built in his eight years, nor continues the legacy started by President Clinton of Democrats responsibly governing while advancing the country left.