Four years ago, Democrats nominated the one candidate Trump could beat. Will history repeat?
Four years ago, I didn’t think my then-fellow Republicans would be crazy enough to nominate Trump. Then I watched in horror as, like lemmings, they plunged en masse off that cliff.
I’d underestimated Trump fans’ reckless passion, and the resulting momentum. A similar dynamic could propel Sanders. Though while winner-take-all Republican primaries enabled Trump to rack up delegates, Democrats instead mostly use a proportional system. Sanders could “win” most primaries with, like, 30% of the vote, yet lose the nomination. That would enrage his fans, kneecapping the Democratic campaign.
Meantime Trump tries to paint Democrats as dangerous crazy radicals. Sandernistas seem determined to help him.
They fantasize the moment has arrived for their “social justice” revolution. Revved up for years with demonizing capitalism, they imagine “socialism” is somehow a viable alternative, even romanticizing the word.
Sanders himself has long worn the “socialist” badge as a puckish provocateur. This won’t be indulged by the wider American electorate. It will be a leaden albatross around his neck, in November. He’ll be called a communist. And why not? He honeymooned in that socialist paradise, the USSR.
He and his supporters are actually either confused or disingenuous about what “socialism” means. We’re told that if you like publicly provided roads, schools, libraries, etc., why, that’s socialism! No. It’s simply government performing normal governmental functions. Socialism is government taking over functions that in a free society are the purview of the private sector.
Sanders talks of “democratic socialism,” as if such government monopolization of power is democratic. It isn’t. History proves — as one might expect — such concentration of power is fundamentally antithetical to democracy.
He invokes as models the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland). Another misconception. These nations do have strong social safety nets, but not socialist economies. In fact they’re more free-market capitalist than America. That produces a lot of wealth, which they tax heavily, to fund their social spending.
Class war is central to Bernie’s candidacy. He’s all about the idea that the rich and corporations are screwing everybody else, and taking them down is the way to a fairer, better society. But such class war rhetoric puts off most Americans, for good reason: it’s wrong.
The idea that corporations and the affluent get their profits and wealth at the expense of the rest is a fallacy. Steve Jobs got rich not by ripping people off but by giving them products they valued above their cost. Improving, not worsening, societal welfare. That’s what productive effort does in a free market economy.
Americans who do well are not the cause of others doing less well. What’s happening instead is technology changing the economic landscape ever faster, with many Americans not positioned to benefit. Often because their education is crap. What’s needed is not tearing down businesses and successful people, but equipping more people for success.
Moreover, this country is being torn apart and wrecked by increasingly bitter political polarization. We desperately need some way out of this, restoring common purpose. Not class war politics further enflaming societal divisions. And those divisions make that class war unwinnable for Sandernistas. Even if he somehow got elected (unlikely), his program would unleash a firestorm of conflict.
All this is why Bernie’s candidacy augurs disaster. Nominating him will bring us not to a socialist Jerusalem,
but more likely destruction of the American idea with four more years of a depraved, deranged, and out-of-control monster.