Bernie Sanders vs. The Democratic Establishment
The Democratic Party’s half of the Washington establishment is in knots over the strong primary season start by Bernie Sanders. They would apparently prefer to be represented in the 2020 presidential election by a senile compulsive-lying dimwit, a Harvard compulsive-lying leftist-of-convenience, a billionaire weenie who thinks the government ought to have the authority to restrict your sugar intake, or someone named Amy Klobuchar.
The reason they fear and detest Sanders is simple: He is an avowed socialist — as are many if not most of the party’s core voters and key policy writers — but the party elders are not ready to come right out and run on the “s-word” yet. Apparently, they still feel some residual trepidation about flaunting that (correct) self-description openly, after having devoted so many decades to promoting a socialist agenda while publicly rejecting all “accusations” of socialism as fear-mongering nonsense.
This is the same Democratic Party establishment that elevated Barack Obama to the nomination, and then two terms in the White House, all the while refusing to admit that their figurehead was a long-time, well-known Marxist. But Obama, as a new face in town, was willing to play along, i.e., to further the party’s neo-communist agenda while pretending he had never been a Marxist, to disavow the Marxist mentors with whom he had been surrounded since childhood, to deny that he had it in for the free market, and to claim he never actually meant anything by all that “fundamental transformation” talk.
Sanders, by contrast, has simply been an out-of-the-closet socialist — one of the few elected ones in Washington until recently — for too long to be able to obscure the fact now. And he has succeeded as an open socialist, so he would be unlikely to feel any incentive to downplay his political identity at this point. Thus, the moneymen and king-makers within the party elite, well-schooled in the history and methods of Gramscian multi-generational subterfuge, are terrified of a Sanders candidacy because they believe that mainstream America may not be quite ready yet for a primetime socialism that dares to speak its name.
The establishment may be wrong about this. They may have boxed out the old anti-communist “moderates” so thoroughly over the past twenty years that a majority of registered Democrats might well be fairly sanguine about a self-declared socialist at the head of the party. Most of them probably wouldn’t place much significance on the word, in light of the fact that much of what Sanders advocates is pretty close to middle-of-the-road Democratic platform stuff now, i.e., lunatic fringe leftism normalized through decades of Marxist public schooling and popular culture propaganda.
Meanwhile, Republicans are reveling in this Dem meltdown, on at least two levels: First, they think Trump will trounce Sanders in a head-to-head election; second, they believe Sanders is on his way to “pulling off an anti-establishment revolution” within the Democratic Party analogous to the one their idol achieved during the 2016 Republican primaries.
They are probably right about Trump’s chances against Sanders. But the main reason they are probably right about this is that they are dead wrong about the second point. If Sanders wins, it will apparently be against every possible weapon the Democratic establishment can muster in their desperate attempt to topple him. Trump, meanwhile, was the preferred choice of most of the Republican elite from a very early stage in the process — before any of the primary voting had begun — and had the full weight of the Republican National Committee on his side right up to and through the nominating convention. The idea that Trump was an outsider who destroyed the status quo and defied the old boys club is one of the most ridiculous and easily debunked delusions of the entire charade that is the Trump era. For what it’s worth, I spent a good deal of time, and a hundred thousand words, debunking it throughout early 2016. But cults are cults, establishment machines are establishment machines, and cults that give their souls to an establishment machine form an unbeatable combination. Unbeatable by mere mortals with pens and independent minds, that is. History, on the other hand, is going to have its way with these people very soundly indeed.
As for Sanders, I expect the Democratic old boys club will find a way to beat him, unless, as I speculated last week, they simply decide to pragmatically concede a second term to Trump while using Bernie’s defeat as an argument for returning to a more establishmentarian candidate next time around, when it really matters.