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Vox: Bernie 2020 is just Bernie 2016 plus Trump

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Vox Bernie 2020 is just Bernie 2016 plus Trump

Consistency in messaging is an important quality for candidates running for government offices. It’s also rare; in an age where every word uttered by a candidate is captured, cataloged, and critiqued, keeping one’s story straight is challenge. Adding in the ever-shifting sentiment of the left makes it even harder for Democrats to keep their stories straight.

But Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been able to maintain consistency since his rise to the national stage in 2016. How? By not changing his message.

This is a good thing for him as a person, but it also runs the risk of making him seem repetitive. That’s because he is being repetitive; the only difference between his speeches today and the ones he started delivering in 2015 is now he can add in the caveat of President Trump being in office.

It’s not doing much to change the core of his message.

Tara Golshan over at Vox noted how consistent his message has been as well as the risks he faces by repeating himself over and over again.

Bernie Sanders’s definition of democratic socialism, explained

The speech is a major moment in American political history; a democratic socialist is one of the leading candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

But it felt familiar. Three-and-a-half years ago, Sanders’s speech also invoked Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He made the same call for an economic bill of rights: for health care, affordable housing, racial equality, a clean environment, and a living wage. Sanders may have a newfound status as a frontrunner, but a democratic socialist in America still has to define their vision in terms that Americans can understand — and can fit into a fiercely capitalistic society.

Golshan may see it as mostly positive, but there’s a major problem only partially addressed in the Vox article. Bernie’s message in 2016 was fresh and unique. In 2020, there is very little he’s been saying that his other presidential candidates haven’t also been saying. Even “moderate” Joe Biden has echoed his sentiment.

Elizabeth Warren may be the “better Bernie” when it comes to full-blown Democratic Socialism. The Massachusetts Senator has taken much of what Sanders has been saying and ramped it up a notch to offer proposals that will hose the rich even harder. It’s a proper strategy for a candidate who, frankly, seemed to be going nowhere just a month ago. Now, she’s poised to overtake Sanders as the progressive champion to battle Biden for the nomination.

She’s moving up because she’s going down the opposite road of Sanders. While he’s reiterating the policies and talking points he offered in 2016, Warren is throwing out a new radical initiative of the week. It’s working, which demonstrates how fickle radical progressives are when it comes to politics. They aren’t looking for the best solution. They’re looking for the freshest and most extreme.

Consistency may be a virtue for movement leaders, but it’s not going to keep the attentions of the Democratic base. They like new ideas, new catchphrases to rally behind, and new methods for taking down the nation. Sanders is going to end up being the father of Democratic Socialism, but he won’t be its representative for much longer. That title is being taken by Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the Justice Democrats, many of whom started in Sanders’s 2016 campaign.

Despite being 2nd in nearly every poll, I’d put Sanders’s chances of winning the Democratic nomination somewhere near single digits. He can’t keep up with the movement he essentially created.

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