I haven’t written about politics, and specifically the Democratic Primary, for months now. This has been due to a combination of factors:
- General political fatigue
- Joe Biden taking a commanding lead basically since he announced his candidacy
- A random inner ear problem that brought on anxiety, and lacking the focus to write
- Essentially writing the same things on repeat since 2016
I don’t write to you now because I’m not sick and tired of American politics; I don’t write because Joe Biden isn’t any longer in the lead (albeit by much less than before); I don’t write because my ear and/or anxiety is one hundred percent cleared; and I don’t write because I have anything new to say. I’m kind of just checking in.
While it’s true Joe Biden is still leading the national polls, my money is on Elizabeth Warren to win the Democratic nomination. Even though Bernie Sanders has maintained his base of support throughout this contest — and he is no slouch, to be sure — it’s been Warren that has most pecked away at Biden’s lead. Originally the former Vice President was around 38% in the polls, while Sanders was in the high-teens and Warren was around 8-10%. Now it looks more like a three-way chop — depending on where you look — with Biden around 25, and Warren and Sanders hovering in the 20-ish range.
Biden is fading fast, Sanders is consistent, and Warren is coming on strong… basically. Since none of Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke or Pete Buttigieg have gained much traction, and since Andrew Yang was always kind of a goofball that was never going to be taken seriously (and rightfully so), I think it’s safe to say that it’s ultimately going to be a three-horse race.
Much as they did in 2016, the media aren’t giving a lot of respect to a Sanders candidacy, which is fine I guess. I’m under the impression that if it’s anyone other than Bernie, it will ensure another four years of Donald Trump, but that’s less to do with anything good that Trump has done and more to do with just how poorly the Democratic Party has handled and dealt with Progressives. As an organization, they don’t appear interested in the slightest in giving in to the will of the people. It’s the people that will be blamed if Trump wins again, but the fault is not on them; it’s on the Democratic Party.
This is seen most obviously by their refusal to back popular social programs like Medicare For All or a Green New Deal. But calling it a “refusal” is almost charitable. They actively fight against Bernie’s M4A proposal, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has on multiple occasions openly mocked The Green New Deal. Medicare For All polls steadily in the 70% range, while the GND is at 63%. But, ya know, “too radical.”
If you talk to Democratic candidates running for President, they would tell you of course they believe everyone should have healthcare, and of course they believe something needs to be done to combat climate change. Yet there remains only one nominee who has the political courage to offer the country a means to those ends. That person is Bernie Sanders.
Unless you live on one of the coasts, you probably think Elizabeth Warren is about as lefty as it gets while still remaining “viable.” The reason you probably think that is because you have accepted that the American political system is corrupt, that there is nothing we can do about that, and so instead of backing the candidate with the most progressive policies — the policies that will benefit the greatest number of people — you will go ahead and roll with the half-measure that Warren represents.
To be fair, I would consider it a win for the American left if Liz Warren inevitably becomes the Democratic nominee, but I’m suspect that it will benefit Americans in the long run. There are a lot of liberal voters who clutch their pearls at all the dumb things Trump says and does, but they lack the foresight to understand that things could absolutely be worse than they are right now. There’s a version of Donald Trump that exists out there, whether it’s in 2024 or 2028, that isn’t going to say absurd shit, that isn’t going to tweet all manner of nonsense, and that won’t shoot himself in the foot at every turn. In other words, a competent version of Trump exists.
That’s what Democrats are destined to run into if they actually win in 2020 and can’t manage to pass any policies that help working people. They are going to find a Republican who believes all the white nationalist, anti-labor, anti-woman, anti-environment, anti-regulation, anti-government shit Trump’s gang are on board with. The only difference is that candidate will be slick enough to pass some, or all, of the legislation Trump failed has failed at. To me that’s way more dangerous than the idiot who currently resides in the oval office.
The left has one shot here. Millionaires on TV keep telling me that Joe Biden is the most electable candidate, because he’ll be able to turn the Rust Belt blue again. To that I say “Good luck.” Should Biden be the nominee, all Trump has to do is go on the merry-go-round of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio saying on repeat that Biden supported NAFTA. You know, that free trade policy that Bill Clinton passed which outsourced American jobs to Mexico and overseas.
If Warren happens to be the candidate, Trump will go straight to the playbook of calling her a socialist, or ask voters how they can possibly trust her because of that stupid thing where Warren called herself Cherokee Indian even though she wasn’t, really. On the other end of the spectrum, what evidence is there that she will actually follow through with her “I have a plan for that” campaign mantra? Based on her recent closed-door meeting with Hillary Clinton, her list of billionaire and corporate donors, and the media’s sudden obsession with her campaign, I think you will find a lot of Progressives who don’t trust her, and thus stay at home (or vote third party). I would give her a better than 50% chance of beating Trump, but it’s obviously a recipe that plays with fire.
Bernie Sanders is the perfect foil to Trump’s reelection bid, because Donald Trump can’t play the NAFTA card on him in the Midwest. He can’t accuse Bernie of flip-flopping on issues, or being inauthentic. Sanders is not a Cherokee Indian, and never claimed to be. He has been saying the same things, consistently, for 40 years. He isn’t trying to score political points.
Literally the only card Trump would be able to play is calling Bernie a socialist, but by then it won’t matter. Sanders will bring out millions of voters who don’t usually participate in the political process; he would win Independents; he destroy Trump in the Rust Belt, where establishment, Clinton-type Democrats struggle so much (because of NAFTA).
Elizabeth Warren is a lot better than Joe Biden, but the bar is so low that such a distinction really doesn’t mean anything. She is, at best, the halfway point between the conservative establishment wing and the left flank — which is led by Sanders and the Democratic base. All those crazy, farfetched ideas that Bernie campaigned on in 2016, deemed too radical and too pie in the sky by Hillary Clinton and the corporate media, turned into the platform Democrats have to, in some way, support to be relevant in 2020.
That is again why I ask why anyone would back some Johnny Come Lately who only supports these popular policies now, when it’s politically convenient for them, rather than sticking with the genuine article? You either want to defeat Donald Trump or you don’t. And if the party is willing to follow through with their game plan of Anyone But Bernie, then they absolutely deserve what’s coming to them.