TPM Reader MAC ain’t buying the electability rap on Sanders …
I have been a TPM follower since the early 2000s… I have been reading responses and opinions about Sanders from readers who like him, but feel he is un-electable, or that his policies are impractical, and I needed to respond.
To the first point, I’m astounded that anyone who has been paying any attention to our toxic partisan politics in the last decade would think that the Republican attacks would be somehow less vehement for one candidate over the other. Eight years ago, I remember how Obama partisans would point out how “divisive” and “polarizing” Hillary Clinton would be as POTUS. Even then, the perpetual rage machine from right-wing talk radio and Fox News was completely disconnected from facts and logic, and I predicted pretty much what happened: If Obama was elected, the narrative and outrage from the right would be just as vigorous.
So, from their perspective, we’ve already had a Marxist/Leninist/Maoist/Islamic/Fascist Kenyan in the White House these last 7 years. Sanders breaks no new ground there. Besides which, I have found many Republicans who actually like him. The rage machine will blare, but I suspect many people will like this FDR, old school Americana candidate.
And far from being in a bubble, Sanders supporters (and nervous sympathizers) are a very big swath of the public whose economic conditions have diminished steadily over the last 10-20 years, with no hope in sight. I live in Aurora, Illinois, I was canvassing in Clinton, Iowa for Sanders. Both are cities devastated by neo-liberal trade deals and tax policies championed by both Clintons over the years, and whose largely blue-collar workforce have responded to the FDR type rhetoric that Sanders has the guts to promote – and a sense of his basic honesty.
Sanders will fight this campaign straight to the convention… his defiance of the echo-chamber punditry and conventional political wisdom, and his expected success, comes from a deep desire to change the system. Clinton just wants to be president. It’s the “We” of the Sanders’ campaign vs. the “I” of the Clinton campaign that is the heart of this phenomenon.
Speaking of the bubble (and I sincerely mean no disrespect here), anyone who is a national media person, is moving in rarefied air compared to the rest of us. You really have no idea how bad things are for the vast majority, even for “successful”, professional people.
To the second point. We’re not angry at Obama, we are disappointed that his personality just didn’t lend itself to the kind of FDR fight we needed. I’m enrolled through the ACA, and I can tell you that the costs, even for a Bronze plan, are outrageous without the premium supports, and are unsustainable. There will be no Obama legacy without an aggressive push toward Single Payer. With Clinton as the nominee, no doubt all the of regular Democrats will vote for her, but there won’t be the draw from Independents and the politically discouraged that Sanders has tapped into. Sanders has made it clear that his election will only be the beginning, not the end, of a sustained effort to bring back active citizenship. No doubt that entails several election cycles to establish a 21st century New Deal.
And then there is the three months of national polling showing Sanders performing better than Clinton against all leading Republican candidates… (just saying).