There is an article on Vox titled Bernie Sanders is the Democrats’ real 2020 frontrunner, so let’s dive into it. From the beginning:
Amid a swirl of speculation about Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and practically everyone else under the sun as potential Democratic presidential contenders, most of the political class is ignoring the elephant in the room. Bernie Sanders is, by some measures the most popular politician in America, by far Democrats’ most in-demand public speaker, and the most prolific grassroots fundraiser in American history.
Finally a writer that is telling the truth. We could certainly clean this up — especially the bit about Bernie being the most popular politician “by some measures”; it’s by literally every measure/poll — but I won’t hold it against him since he’s right about the main point. Sanders is the elephant in the room, and one can only ascend to Elephant In The Room status if they are being ignored.
This is not to say that Bernie is being ignored by the people, but rather who the writer calls “the political class,” which represent current politicians and lobbyists and people who work on camera for MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, et. al. All those who benefit from milking off the corporate tit have a funny way of not liking the candidate who wants to upset the money train. Bernie is that person, which is why the media pumps out names like Booker and Gillibrand, or Harris and Biden: because they all have the same donors in common.
In subtle ways [Sanders] has shifted his policy commitments to the center, making himself a more broadly acceptable figure in the party. At the same time, he’s held on to a couple of signature issues — Medicare-for-all and tuition-free public college — that give him exactly the kind of clear-cut and broadly accessible agenda that mainstream Democrats lack.
Bernie is not perfect. His supporters weren’t happy that he endorsed Hillary Clinton last summer, and most found his recent Unity Tour with Tom Perez and the DNC to be a foolish, hopeless exercise. I believe many feel like the jig is up, that the charade should end, and Bernie Sanders should altogether abandon the Democrats and start his own party.
I lean about as politically far-left as exists in the United States, but I understand what Bernie is doing, and I don’t hate on him for it. He wants to win.
Elected officials were almost uniformly afraid to endorse [Sanders], even if their policy views were closer to his than to Clinton’s, and left-of-center think tanks — including ones that are deliberately positioned to the left of mainstream Democrats ideologically — shied away from working with Sanders on policy development, for fear that Clinton’s wrath would destroy them if they did.
This should come as no real surprise. When Bernie campaigned about a “rigged political system,” he was talking about money in politics. Because of super delegates, that supported Clinton by an overwhelming majority during the primaries, Sanders basically had no chance of winning the Democratic nomination.
The reason these super delegates are put in place is to thwart a populous candidate. Because Clinton in the past fundraised for so many of these delegates, they felt an obligation to support her even when, as the author says, their politics were closer to Sanders’. And if they had flipped and given support to him, rather than her, they would have paid a political price for it when Hillary inevitably became president.
Any mass political movement becomes, to an extent, self-referential. [Elizabeth] Warren, pointedly, did not step up to challenge Clinton even when many party actors wanted her to. And when Sanders did step up, she didn’t back him — opting instead for a studied neutrality. That decision has consequences for how she’s seen by Sanders’s core supporters — they signed up for an idealistic struggle against the party establishment, and she played a cynical game of power politics. And it appears to have influenced Sanders’s personal view of a natural ally. The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer reports that Sanders “peremptorily dismissed me from his office for asking a question about his political relationship with Elizabeth Warren.”
It is only 2017, but I believe the smart money is on a clash between Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker in the 2020 Democratic Primary. It’ll be the same fight we saw in 2016 with Sanders and Clinton. The Progressives will support Warren, the establishment will support Booker, and Warren will probably win.
Still, it should nag at Progressives that Senator Warren did not endorse Bernie last year. It came at a critical time in the primary, at a point Sanders was very much in the mix to win, and could have made a difference. Warren was also late to condemning the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline — and the human rights violations thereof — as well as only recently coming out in support of a Medicare For All, single-payer program.
These flaws in Warren’s political outlook won’t make a huge difference if she’s running against Booker, in particular, because he takes huge sums of money from Big Pharma and insurance companies and is generally a liar. But if Bernie Sanders does not choose to run again, Warren would only be my third or fourth choice (behind Nina Turner and Tulsi Gabbard, to name two) to be the champion of Progressives.
Among the Bernie faithful the most frequently named fallback candidate isn’t the well-known Warren or labor-liberal warhorse Sherrod Brown. It’s Nina Turner, a fairly obscure former Ohio state senator who served as an effective surrogate for Sanders during the primary. Turner is a skilled public speaker, she took tough shots at Clinton during the campaign, and she’s a black woman whose prominence in the movement Sanders fans feel ought to rebut allegations that it’s a white male bro-fest.
Among the many smears against Sanders and his supporters during the 2016 primary — including being violent, sexist, racist — perhaps the most egregious was the Bernie Bro myth. This idea that the only people who supported Sanders were young white men who simply didn’t want a woman to win.
Nina Turner would shatter all the false labels thrown at Bernie supporters because, being not only a woman, but a black woman, she cosmetically represents the opposite of Sanders while still holding the same values. Which is the only thing his supporters care about, anyway: policies. We don’t give a shit about identity politics, whether someone is a man or a woman, or black or white or hispanic. We go with the best ideas, and the best ideas are with the Progressives.
I like Nina a lot. But I would like her even more if she was Our candidate, because it would be a huge Fuck You to the establishment and the media to see Bernie’s wing of the party supporting someone who is all the things they claim his supporters are against. And it would be hilarious to see what tricks the media would use to attack her when they don’t have the woman card or the race card at their disposal.
Sanders became [the Progressive] champion over the course of 2016 and continues to hold that status now. But while in 2016 he faced a unified — and intimidating — opponent and launched with a ramshackle campaign, today he has a strong national political organization, a proven fundraising track record, and is moving decisively to address his weak points on international affairs, policy development, and minority outreach. Everyone agrees that in a perfect world he’d also wave a magic wand and scrape 10 or 15 years off his age, but that’s not possible. The movement he’s created lacks an obviously more compelling successor, and he continues to be broadly popular with the public.
What does it say about the Democratic Party when it was “unified,” had the entire media at its disposal, had the Hillary Clinton juggernaut behind it, and almost lost the Primary to a 75 year-old socialist from Vermont? You would think they could see the writing on the wall.
But that’s not what happened. After scraping by Bernie Sanders in the primary, something like 53%-47% in pledged delegates, Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the general election in what turned out to be a landslide electoral college victory. And all the people in the DNC, and all the people on TV who work in politics for a living, the people who told us that there was no fucking chance Trump could win…
All those people got to keep their jobs. After a monumental failure in the presidential election, as well as losing over a thousand congressional seats over the last decade, the same people who delivered this failure are still in charge. They are still running the party.
Un-shockingly enough, even after these embarrassments I still think the Party has more losing to do before they start taking back the House and Senate. Bernie supporters are going to be steadfast in unless the Party leaders offer single-payer healthcare, a $15 minimum wage, a green new deal, and that means that Republicans will continue to win.
That’s why I’ve been saying that the real struggle for the Democrats in 2018 is not going to be worrying about losing to Republicans some more. It’s about staving off their Progressive challengers from the left. Right this second Hillary Clinton is raising money from her Super PAC’s to support the establishment candidates who are paid to be against all the things that Bernie is for.
As for Sanders, I’m not going to bullshit you: I want to see him run again in 2020. And not totally for selfish reasons.
I’m just not willing to gamble on another establishment candidate. I want to win. Bernie is by far the most popular politician in the United States, and the people are fucking desperate for a populist candidate who stands with the workers.
I don’t know what’s in Bernie’s head, if he just started this movement and will soon pass the torch to the next, but like the writer of this article it does appear like he is positioning himself for another run.
And that is the last thing the Democratic Party wants to see.