A surprisingly large number of Americans are perfectly willing to vote for a Socialist.
This is the take-it-to-the-bank lesson so far from the Democratic nomination race. Although it may only be surprising to a certain upper layer of society (to which I belong I’ll be first to admit).
There will be no going back. Crossing this Rubicon may prove more consequential than Trump’s re-animating a dormant nativist/racist strain of American politics. Putting the “Socialist” Genie back in a bottle won’t be easy and will, for sure, entail a pretty major shift leftward. It isn’t just Bernie. Remember the prior front-runner was equally Left Warren.
The lesson is clear, but a lot of people seem to be working extra-hard to avoid learning it. I suspect this was the animating motive behind the “Bloomberg will save us!” fantasy of the last few weeks.
I think a lot of the comfortable classes have spent the last 4 years in a state of denial that my brother once summed up neatly (in a different context) as; “Wanting things to be different, but not wanting to change.” Blaming the messenger (it was Hillary) not the message (Clintonista “1990’s Republican policies with a kinder face” ain’t cutting it anymore).
It was a lesson that should have been clear way back in 2016 if you looked at Trump and Sanders as two sides of the same coin. A huge majority of voters keep voting for “change.” The existing powers-that-be keep struggling to find a way to not deliver it. Never forget that 2016 race was “supposed” to be Hillary vs Jeb Bush.
That pent up demand for “change” burst out in one direction with Trump in 2016. We’ll see what happens in 2020. But the genie is out of the bottle. I don’t think we get it back in.
FYI – Been thinking about this post for a week and realized I “had” to get it out ahead of Super Tuesday.