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Elizabeth Warren’s moment seems to have passed, and progressive Democrats are beginning to coalesce around Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, Joe Biden is languishing in “I thought I was the front-runner” land, dealing with a massive bleed of support going to Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend.
While all bets were off at the start of this “woke” primary, there were still very few who thought the Democratic nomination might actually go to the 78-year-old independent Senator who openly calls himself a socialist.
After Warren flamed out with the announcement of her “Medicare-for-All” plan (she claimed she could enact one of the most massive federal budget increases in history without raising taxes on the middle class), there seemed to be a momentary effort among some Democrats to move back towards the center.
The decision to end the “out-bernie Bernie” phase of the primary initially looked like it was going to surge Joe Biden to an early finish line. But one of the few clear results of the Iowa caucus debacle (I like the term debaucus, myself) was a severe weakness in Biden’s campaign. Fourth place doesn’t quite fit a front-runner narrative.
No, it seems it all came back to Bernie in the end. Most election forecasters assume he will easily win New Hampshire, where he won in 2016, and the momentum garnered there may be enough to push him over the edge with Democrats who want to coalesce around a single candidate as soon as possible.
It goes without saying that this is madness.
Bernie Sanders is perhaps the strangest populist politician in American history. After all, he’s been serving in the government in one capacity or another for over thirty years. His signature disheveled hair and excited, eccentric way of talking are often mocked as an “old man yelling at passing clouds” with a “get these squirrels off of me” level of hysteria. If only his presentation were the most crackpot part about him.
Bernie Sanders is a full-fledged believer in the idea of democratic socialism. He could be one of the first major political candidates nominated while openly promising to raise taxes. This is because he has offered a litany of stunning promises for increased “free” government services. The top of the list of free things he’s offering are free healthcare and free college for everyone. I’ve always found the idea of getting stuff from the government in exchange for higher taxes a curious notion of free.
At the beginning of this whole Democratic Primary, I could scarcely believe just how much Bernie many of the candidates were willing to channel. Many, many voices shouted warning that Bernie’s influence on the Democratic Party was the biggest anchor dragging them down as a political party. Not only do the Democrats seem willing to ignore these warnings, they may actually go full Bernie.
Image via Gage Skidmore
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