Gaius Publius: What Would Happen if Sanders Ran for President in 2020?

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. GP article archive here. Originally published at DownWithTyranny

I want to put this on people’s radar and suggest a few questions as the drama begins to unfold: What would happen if Bernie Sanders ran for President in 2020?

Barring Change, Sanders Could Easily Enter the Race

First, let’s make all the enabling assumptions — that he remains healthy and strong, that he remains the most popular politician in America (see graph above), that no disruptive scandals emerge to derail him in the meantime.

Given all that, it’s certainly possible that he will run. Consider just a few indicators. Politico:

Bernie makes moves pointing to 2020 run
The Vermont senator is taking aggressive steps to address long-running political weaknesses, like his lack of foreign policy bona fides.

Bernie Sanders is taking steps to address longstanding political shortcomings that were exposed in 2016, ahead of another possible presidential bid in 2020.

From forging closer ties to the labor movement to shoring up his once-flimsy foreign policy credentials, the moves have provided the senator inroads into party power structures that largely shunned him in favor of Hillary Clinton last year. They’ve also empowered the progressive icon to harness his newfound political power and help Democrats fight President Donald Trump’s administration.

Sanders has been working closely with figures who are close to the party establishment he’s long railed against, like American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. And he’s been meeting with international affairs experts such as Bill Perry, a defense secretary in the administration of President Bill Clinton, around a series of speeches designed to define his international vision, one year after running a campaign heavy on domestic policy and light on the rest of the world.

The Vermont independent hasn’t decided whether to run for president again in 2020. To his closest allies, his efforts represent a natural next step in his role as “outreach chairman” for Senate Democrats, a new position created for him late last year by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Yet the maneuvers could form an important part of a Sanders 2020 effort, a dozen of those allies acknowledged to POLITICO — one that looks markedly different from his surprise 2016 bid, which often suffered from a lack of mainstream political support.

Newsweek looked at a poll written up by The Hill that showed Sanders leading a large field of Democrats…

How Dem insiders rank the 2020 contenders
Democrats predict that as many as 30 candidates will compete in their party’s presidential primary in 2020.

And while it’s still too early to say who might come out on top, buzz is building around some potential candidates, even as other hopefuls fade to the background.

A year after a devastating 2016 defeat, Democrats are craving new faces with fresh ideas. Yet many of their leading contenders for the White House in 2020 are politicians who have been around for decades.

There’s also no clear standout in the potential field. …

The Hill interviewed nearly a dozen prominent Democrats to find out who has captured the party’s attention in recent months and who has fallen out of favor.

Here’s how they see the field stacking up right now.

1. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Advisers to the senator are telegraphing that Sanders is eyeing a 2020 run — and his network is already ready to go, with supporters convinced that he was the candidate who would have beaten President Trump in 2016.

“His people have never gone away,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. “And he has a loyal core following out there that will be with him come hell or high water.”

Also working in Sanders’s favor, Bannon said, is the leftward shift of the Democratic Party.

“The Sanders wing is becoming the dominant wing of the party,” he said.

Still, strategists note that Sanders would be 79 in 2020, which could work against him at a time when Democrats are hungry for change.

…and wrote it up for their readers with this headline:

Bernie Sanders will Face Donald Trump in 2020 Election, Democrats Say

If nothing else, there’s media interest in promoting such a contest, and I strongly suspect there’s great public interest as well. Don’t be surprised if he enters the race. In fact, be surprised if he doesn’t, barring a unforeseen derailment.

If Sanders Runs, How Will He Be Treated?

This brings us to the second part of our consideration — What will be his treatment if he runs? I offer these questions, something to keep in mind in that eventuality.

In the primary:

• Will he be delegitimized by the Democratic Party, as he was in 2016?

• Will he be ignored or delegitimized by the media — even and especially MSNBC — as he was in 2016?

• Will lower level Party officials commit what would be treated by Democrats — even and especially at MSNBC — as election fraud if it were done by Republicans, in order to advantage other, more mainstream candidates?

If he reaches the general election:

• Would Bernie Sanders get the Al Gore Treatment by the media (“What a goof. He claims he invented the Internet!”) — even if his opponent were Donald Trump?

• Would the mainstream leaders of the Democratic Party give Sanders, their unpreferred candidate, the same full support in 2020 that they gave their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, in 2016? Or would some of them sabotage him — even if his opponent were Donald Trump?

• Would “left-leaning” members of the prominent press, Rachel Maddow for example, pull out every stop to delegitimize the Republican (as they’re doing now)? Or would they take a more “on the one hand, on the other hand” approach to a race with a Sanders’ candidacy — even if his opponent were Donald Trump, or a lesser, far more dangerous light like Mike Pence?

If Sanders Is Elected, How Will He Be Treated?

Finally, let’s look briefly at how he would be treated as president. Any Democratic president will certainly get The Treatment by Republicans (acting as though he’s not the real president, or that he doesn’t deserve the office), just as Trump is getting The Treatment now (“He’s not really president. He cheated to win.”) by many in the “Trump-Russia!” crowd.

Remember, if we think it right to withhold judgment on which laws were broken in the Al Franken case until an investigation is completed (I do), we should also withhold judgment on Trump until his current investigation is completed. Nevertheless, in Trump’s case the Democratic media’s fevered speculation started almost the day he took office and before any evidence was in.

In that light, what would happen to a President Sanders? Remember, Sanders’ policy proposals are likely to be as anti-Establishment as Trump’s were during his own campaign. It’s those anti-Establishment positions that would get him elected in our ongoing popular rebellion against Rule by the Rich.

Sanders would, in effect, be “Trump on the Left,” but far more meaningfully, since he’d actually be sincere about his policy promises.

If Sanders were president:

• Sanders will certainly get the Bill Clinton version of The Treatment — endless investigations by elected officials and private investigators — by Republicans. Will Sanders get the Donald Trump version of The Treatment — leaks and complicity by current and former members of the national security establishment — as well?

• If the national security establishment joins an attack on the second elected president in a row, will mainstream Democratic leaders denounce those attacks and defend him — even as Sanders is proposing policies more like Jeremy Corbin’s (“For the many, not the few”) than anything supported by mainstream Democratic leaders in decades?

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the U.K. opposition Labour Party, holds a copy of the party’s manifesto at a speech marking its publication in Bradford, U.K., on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Corbyn will seek to rally support behind an agenda of increased taxes for the wealthy and more spending on public services. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Would mainstream Democrats defend a man like this, if the national security establishment wanted him gone?

• And finally, if Sanders is elected president, and mainstream Democrats, subtly or not, join with Republicans and the corporate media in taking him down or rendering him ineffective — will there be any reason at all to engage in politics in the 10 years that follow in America?

Because, keep in mind, when it comes to climate, slow Democratic Party-style “winning” is as deadly as losing, and by the mid 2020s, that horse will have certainly left the barn for good.

Plus, when it comes to the real Resistance against Rule by the Rich, our “rolling civil war” — the one where people give up on elections and the two sides just go to battle — keeps getting closer and closer. What will be the state of relations between the “muscular” security state and the Real Resistance at that point? Will elections have any meaning at all after the State and its mainstream, Establishment defenders have closed ranks for good?

Over to you, Democratic Party and your media enablers. What will you do if Sanders is your candidate?

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  1. kimyo

    this was published 3 days before the california primary:
    California Democratic primary voters: don’t accept “provisional ballots!”

    They are not being counted. Here’s the trick: Overwhelmingly, all polls show that NPP, or independent voters, are Bernie Sanders voters. Regular registered Democrats tend to slightly favor Hillary Clinton in the polls. So if you knock out the NPP voters by giving them placebo ballots – provisional ballots – that’s one way to steal the primary in California on June 7.

    would sanders have won brooklyn if those who chose him were able to vote?
    De Blasio Demands Explanation, as Decline in Registered Brooklyn Voters Doubles

    But new data provided by the city Board of Elections on Monday indicates it actually removed 126,000 Brooklyn voters from the rolls, according to executive director Michael Ryan.

    my personal take is that sanders sold us out. if you disagree, why have you never heard a peep out of him re: the theft of the primary by clinton. if he were truly a fighter, 2 days before california, he’d have at the very least tweeted ‘don’t accept a provisional ballot if you want to vote for me’. he said nothing.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Hi. I’m Bernie Sanders and I want the Democratic nomination. But to do that, I am going to call out the Democrats for being cheaters. I think this is a sound thing to do.

      1. Peter Tobias

        Sanders didn’t call out all Democrats for being cheaters. He did call out Wasserman Schuz, because she was, as was the DNC as a whole.

      2. kimyo

        is the democratic party apparatus riddled with cancer?

        is there anyone better positioned than sanders to present this diagnosis to american voters?

        why is he silent? is he unaware? being tactful/polite? this is not a time to tiptoe around. immediate and drastic action is required, otherwise the cancer will metastasize and the party will die.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Bernie has been careful about picking his overt enemies. He does criticize some within the Democratic Party, but not the whole thing. He does this because that’s how politics works, if you want to win, and you want to govern. Even if he wins the presidency, Bernie can’t govern without dems. It’s not helpful to lump them all together into a bucket of ‘deplorable’ democrats. That’s how you alienate potential allies and disempower yourself.

          The way to win is to divide the party into people you can work with and people that need to be thrown out. DWS was selected to be thrown out and he got what he wanted, basically. Bernie found he could work with Donna Brazile and he and his team did so.

          Donna Brazile went and outed HRC’s filthy arrangement with the DNC and the big consulting firms. That’s helpful to Bernie and embarrassing to HRC (another of Bernie’s opponents) and to Obama’s legacy, too. It tells party insiders that the old ways have failed and need to be changed, if they want to win.

          Look at what Bernie’s doing compared to, say, Ralph Nader, Jessie Ventura, Ron Paul, etc. This latter group does little beyond TV appearances, which may persuade a few, but it’s unlikely to be a path to power.

          Bernie’s wriggled his way onto prime-time appearances on CNN, MSNBC, etc. He’s been very effective at getting his message out and persuading more people and getting the public comfortable with him.

          Bernie’s organized Our Revolution and his ex-staffers have started a few other big organizations. They’re still learning, but they’ve gotten some wins in various races around the country.

          Independent media has built a base outside the cable networks, Bernie’s looked to give them a boost where possible.

          He’s also trying to bone up on foreign policy more, too. He did an interview show with Bill Perry, former Sec. of Defense under Clinton who was involved in cutting a deal with N. Korea back in the 90s.

          I think it’s fair to say that Bernie’s tried to address every kind of obstacle he faced in 2016. Some areas have seen more progress than others, but there’s changes afoot.

            1. johnnygl

              Nope, your comment was good. No shame needed. I just did long form for people who don’t think diplomatically/politically.

              Some people would rather lose while holding some kind of rhetorical moral high ground instead of figuring out how to win.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > He does this because that’s how politics works, if you want to win, and you want to govern.

            If you believe (as I do) in an inside/outside strategy, then you want your inside guy (Sanders) to be a good* politician. Sanders is, in fact, a good politician. For example, he has a noticeable tendency not to get involved in losing efforts.

            * Good in both senses; technically good, and with more redeeming virtues than vices. Saints don’t run for president.

    2. Jean

      Watch the video “Uncounted” for interviews with election officials in the important counties like Los Angeles. That’s where the smear of Bernie happened–tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of Democratic voters statewide were disenfranchised by the Democratic Primary system overseen by the Secretary of State who was on the elect Hillary Committee.

      Not mentioned in the article.
      What if Bernie’s opponent is not Trump? What if it’s Scott Walker for example?
      That throws all the assumptions out the window.

    3. Roger Smith

      I agree, whether he did it willingly or with ignorance. Sanders doesn’t have the politics behind him to win. he is a push over. What has he done since the election? Towed the Democrat line, repeated all the stupid, embarrassing anti-Trump one liners on MSNBC, etc… He did introduce or say he was going to introduce a health bill again, but what has he done to foster a national political shift? Nothing. Sanders had all the momentum and chose to bow his head and be polite to the people ripping him and everyone off. Sanders is a coward, as much as others want to believe he is some sort of calculating master.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I think it’s too early to be quite this filled with despair. Let’s see who sneaks into congress over the next couple of cycles. They left was starting nearly from scratch, they’ve got to build some momentum and get organized, figure out what works, etc.

        I disagree with the idea that Sanders is a coward. He’s arguably having more success than any other ‘challenger’ to the establishment in a long time.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        If Bernie is a “coward”, I’d sure like to see a lot more similar “cowards” emerge! The blob would be left clutching at scraps.

        1. Lambert Strether


          The hunger for Sanders to [fill in the blank with example of revolutionary ardor] seems very odd to me. Sanders is Sanders, and got where he is by saying the same thing for thirty years, until reality caught up with him. He is, almost, a historical figure who still operates in real time.

          IMNSHO, people should stop putting their expectations on Sanders to change, and start thinking of Sanders as having created a situation to be used to good purpose. Less desire for A Leader, more strategic thinking. And more brakelight clinics, many more brakelight clinics.

      3. Lambert Strether

        > Towed the Democrat line


        So campaigning for #MedicareForAll in Republican districts is toeing the Democrat line? I guess I didn’t get the memo.

        To me, Sanders is evidently preparing for a 2020 run (or at a minimum to be a king-, or queen-maker). He’s sailing into the wind, so he’s tacking. And if Sanders — as he will — opens the space for somebody younger and stronger on some important issues (e.g., the empire) then so much the better.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I actually think Bernie as king/queen-maker doesn’t work and Sanders himself wouldn’t want it to work that way.

          He sees getting people fired up, involved, organized, and getting their voices heard in various ways as THE priority. Which way those groups decide to go is up to them.

          Endorsements matter to Dem party politicians and insiders who want to engage in horse-trading. They don’t matter quite so much to the public. I think Sanders knows this a lot better than the Dems.

  2. Mike

    In the event of a Bernie Sanders win in the 2016 primary, a rumored outcome would have been a third party run by Mike Bloomberg—taking all the centrist support with him.

    However, unlike many other billionaires, Bloomberg’s fortune isn’t growing as fast as it used to. By 2020 we might need a more powerful rich person like Bezos or Zuckerberg to defend our sense of centricity from the likes of Bernie Sanders.

    1. voteforno6

      Let him run, then. I think people overstate the amount of centrist support out there, not to mention the appeal that Bloomberg would have with the wider electorate.

    2. Cat Burglar

      Running a centrist spoiler was exactly the tactic used by centrist Dems against Upton Sinclair when the socialist won the Democratic nomination for governor of California in the 1934 election. It threw the victory in the general election to the Republican: the Democrat defeat was totally consistent with the goal of large-donor service.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Running against Trump was supposed to give Clinton a comfortable glide into the Oval Office….this sort of thing works, until it doesn’t…

        In 1934, you had Roosevelt in office and he was more or less giving America what it wanted. The electorate didn’t necessarily need a socialist to get Lambert’s concrete benefits.

        Today, the establishment Dems are offering nothing. After Jones and Northam, they think they have their mojo back. They don’t. All they did was beat a child molester and hang onto the the most pro-establishment part of the country, the suburbs of Washington, DC itself!

        If establishment Dems can’t win their heartland of DC, VA, MD (and probably NY, MA, and CT), then they’re truly dead.

        1. ek hornbeck

          In Stars Hollow we don’t think of the Nutmeg State (so-called because we’d gladly sell you a lump of wood and call it Nutmeg, you can look it up) as being particularly “centrist”.

          Even on “The Gold Coast” (Fairfield County) you have areas like Norwalk and Bridgeport (largest city in the state) that are pretty city. Bridgeport doesn’t look it because it’s not built up, it’s crowded close.

          I can hardly think of a place except the extreme Northeast and Northwest that is not at least “suburbanized” and in 20 years the whole damn place will be paved over. Housing and everything else is expensive, and jobs are crap and pay like it. It is well and truly the asshole of New England. If I wasn’t stuck here I would leave.

          The political problem is that FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) is raging and has all the money. There’s a large population of flat out racists (heck, we even had an Imperial Wizard) along with a surprising amount of anti-Portugese prejudice (no, I don’t know why), Country Club Republicans, and Wannabe Idiots (I want to have a McMansion instead of this 2 Bed 1 Bath that’s still magically worth $500K which I would never have to replace it in a lifetime). They make up about 40% of the State.

          So it’s not as true Blue as you would think given that Dems control both Houses of the Legislature and the State House and our entire National delegation of Representatives and Senators are Democrats.

          There are good ones and bad ones. Jim Himes is terrible. You may like him because he’s on MSNBC constantly, bashing Trump. He is on FIRE and votes and uses his influence that way- bought and paid for. I haven’t met a slimier pol since Lieberman. Rosa DeLauro is mostly good but she’s also an apparatchik, nice enough but totally believes in “the system”. Blumenthal is a closet Nazi, don’t let the Trump bashing fool you. He was AG before he was Senator and he’s the kind of cop who would Tase you, shoot you in the head, plant a drop gun, claim self defense, and get away with it. Murphy used to be ok when he was Representing Hartford, a genuine guy, but D.C. is eating away at his brain.

          Pretty hopeless, eh?

          Well… Working Family Party is making inroads by endorsing selected Dems and more and more Lefty Dems and Independents (pols call them “unaffiliated”) are voting their line which is good because they’re not nearly as disfunctional as the Greens (ask Lambert) and it sends a message the Party is not willing to listen too. Yet.

          Other than that Institutional Dems have the Party structure by the gonads because of the “Lesser of” card and the vast majority are truly terrified. Not the way I live but it is what it is.

          In 2016 Hillary won Fairfield (Bridgeport/Norwalk), Hartford, and New Haven counties with her largest margin (61 – 39) in Fairfield, home of Soccer Moms and the Obama Machine, and won overall by 17,666 or 5.38% which translated to exactly 1 Pledged Delegate. Of course she got all the 15 Super Delegates.

          Demographically wikipedia tells us

          “Clinton won the African American vote 69-30, older voters 62-35, and the votes of women 57-41. Clinton also won women with children 55-44, and women without children 58-40. Sanders won the youth vote by an overwhelming margin of 66-34, the votes of men 55-43, and won the Caucasian vote (74% of the electorate) by a narrow 50-48 margin. Sanders won among voters with an income of less than 50k and 100k, with Clinton winning more affluent voters.

          In terms of political ideology, Clinton won liberals 52-48 and moderates/conservatives 53-43. Clinton won Democrats 60-39 but lost self-identified independents to Sanders 74-23.”

          Anyway, I wouldn’t call it a heartland of the “establishment” except in terms of Party control and if you can’t turn out Democrats and win with Independents you’re going to lose to Republicans. It happens every year in towns across the State.

          1. JohnnyGL

            I’d agree with you that it doesn’t break down quite so neatly about what is/isn’t the ‘establishment heartland’. These areas, like all areas, contain today’s economic winners AND losers, it’s just a matter of what proportion of each.

            My point was just that if the establishment can’t win in places that are supposed to be emblematic of success in today’s economy, then they’re completely discredited. I don’t expect that to be the case. The establishment has its 10-20%ers who are comfy. Most of them live in these areas in large numbers.

            In other words, cities like Boston/NYC/DC are supposed ‘winners’ in today’s economy. If even the electorate in those areas aren’t happy with the Dem establishment, then the establishment has no success stories to offer.

            I think states like Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas which have suffered in recent years are much more receptive to a ‘change’ message like that offered by Bernie.

            Clearly, all states should be contested, but I suspect those that are coming out ‘losers’ in today’s economy will be easier to swing our way.

            1. ek hornbeck

              And I agree with you without condition. I just thought it would be constructive to explain what it’s like in the land of steady habits (c’mon, look it up) to the NC audience.

              We haven’t suffered enough yet though my hope is, based on conversations with unhappy Democrats, we won’t need to. People buy into the Lesser argument and sigh. That has to change.

              There are plenty of other places that are worse off and you’re quite correct they are fertile ground, provided you can convince them collective survival is more important than white male supremacy (a manipulative tool, not an endorsement of identity politics which is abused by Democrats too).

              The status quo must go (inevitable really) and the only question is if it will be an Ultra Hard, Hard, or Soft Brexit.

    3. Peter Tobias

      Sanders would probably have had to accept Clinton as VP candidate, with the race this close and to gather the party establishment behind him (a VP has only as much power in the administration as the president gives him). Clinton as VP would have helped against a Bloomberg run, too.

        1. JohnnyGL

          This is exactly why nothing less than top dog would do for Clinton. She wasn’t even going to consider a VP slot. Sec. of State is more influential and prestigious and she had already had it.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      The assumption seems to be that Sanders needs to win a primary first. That may have been true in 2016 when he had next to zero national name recognition at the outset but now he has the name recognition and is the most popular politician in the US according to polls at least.

      If he wants to run in 2020, he doesn’t need the Democrat party as long as he organizes early to make sure he’ll be able to get on all 50 state ballots.

      Run from the outset as an independent and when the wailing and gnashing of teeth starts from the Democrat party, tell the Dem candidate to drop out so as not to be a ‘spoiler’ for Bernie.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Why go independent when you can squeeze any Dem competitors out of the field during the primary process?

        Because unity!!! :)

  3. Daryl

    > Democrats predict that as many as 30 candidates will compete in their party’s presidential primary in 2020.

    I made this exact comment a few days ago, but I believe that loads of cookie cutter Democrats would make it an easy win for Bernie. All the Very Serious people wouldn’t have one candidate to rally behind.

    1. John k

      Most will fade, including Biden. Dems will want a new, younger face to fight Bernie’s old one…
      I’m thinking they’ll coalesce behind the neolib kamela Harris.
      Already well funded, Ca in, or seen to be in, the bag, and the black vote brings back the southern firebreak. Clintons will get behind this as soon as hill gives up because donors.

      All the questions raised by this article are good ones. Dems and MSM are controlled by the same corps, so who would they want? Pretty clearly ABS… anybody but sanders. With trump MSM sells papers to resistors, corps and rich get tax breaks, cia and deep have him boxed in… what’s not to like? So same oppo as before. He wins election, but can dems keep him from nom?

      But another recession likely imo before the election, maybe another doozy, and economy weaker now. If this happens he wins everything, and will take office with the power big o had, but did not use, in 2008.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Kamala Harris or Corey Booker will be shoved down your throat as HopeChange 2.0: This time Change-ier! (TM)

        I’m assuming Harris because then I can be called a racist AND a sexist for supporting the 1950’s New Deal Democrat instead of an interchangeable lackey for the masters of the universe.

        “Bernie Bro” won’t be the half of it.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        The Dems are trying to anoint Kamala early. Overexposure isn’t a winning tactics with someone with not a great record, as we saw with Hillary. Plus, as one of my political contacts in CA who is not the type you’d expect to say this sort of thing (as in extremely circumspect and proper) said, “There is no way Willie Brown’s former and openly kept woman can become President.”

  4. Knifecatcher

    Trump has exposed the weakness of the pundit class and the DC blob to shape public opinion as effectively as in the past. Even with all of Trump’s missteps and horrifically unpopular policies his core following remains as loyal as ever, and reacts negatively to any and all attempts by the establishment to herd them back into a “correct” worldview. Fake news!

    I believe that impotence would be magnified with a Bernie / Trump 2020 contest, as both candidates would be backed by supporters with a strong belief that the establishment and media hate their chosen candidate. A belief backed by substantial evidence, as it happens.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      If he somehow survives the knives to get the D nomination, the Oligarchy will attempt to throw it to Trump. I expect D establishment types to go full Quisling and a 2nd billionaire (Zuck or Bloomberg or the like) to run and try to throw it to Trump. Anybody but Sanders, including 4 more of Trump.

      Sanders is the closest thing to a real threat to the power structure in my lifetime. They threw Henry Wallace off the ticket in ’44. It’s been awful for all but the rich for the past 50 years.

      This is who this party is.

  5. Charlie

    “Would mainstream Democrats defend a man like this, if the national security establishment wanted him gone?
    • And finally, if Sanders is elected president, and mainstream Democrats, subtly or not, join with Republicans and the corporate media in taking him down or rendering him ineffective — will there be any reason at all to engage in politics in the 10 years that follow in America?

    Because, keep in mind, when it comes to climate, slow Democratic Party-style “winning” is as deadly as losing, and by the mid 2020s, that horse will have certainly left the barn for good.

    Plus, when it comes to the real Resistance against Rule by the Rich, our “rolling civil war” — the one where people give up on elections and the two sides just go to battle — keeps getting closer and closer. What will be the state of relations between the “muscular” security state and the Real Resistance at that point? Will elections have any meaning at all after the State and its mainstream, Establishment defenders have closed ranks for good?”

    By then, it will be hunt the nearest rich person one can find and dispatch with extreme prejudice, especially if there’s another GFC. Now, I’m not exactly looking forward to that outcome, but remember that during 2007-2008, multiple executives were assaulted, one board was held hostage until worker demands were met, the wealthy were afraid to show off their wealth, and Obama held off the pitchforks.

    Next time they will not be so lucky.

    And no, I don’t expect this comment to make it out of moderation, but it’s a historical truth. Take that what one will.

      1. Charlie

        I really wasn’t expecting it to come out, given my fairly serious anger when I wrote it.

        The funny money fed printing and rigging LIBOR held everyone off for awhile, but it certainly can’t last forever. Trump is the last rich person that will be entrusted for quite awhile, for the simple reason that once it is seen as even a billionaire can be bought (we all know this of course, but too many still keep the faith), then down goes the religion of wealth. At least for a couple of generations.

          1. Charlie

            Another Anon referenced Captain Swing, whom I found after researching was a central character within a letter to British landowners who were lowering peasant wages to a pittance with the introduction of the threshing machine.

            Now we have automation to deal with and the rich running away with all the goods, again. So replace the threshing machine of the swing riots with the fully automated manufacturing now, and you have what he/she is referencing.

            @Another Anon, thanks for that. I learned something new today.

    1. Dwight

      The climate horse probably left the barn for good in 1997 with the Senate’s bipartisan, 95-0 Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which the Heritage Foundation stated in 2009 “is still U.S. policy today and should serve as the overarching guidelines for discussing any new climate treaty.”

      The Resolution stated that U.S. should not be party to the Kyoto Protocol or any agreement limiting developed country emissions unless the agreement also limited developing country emissions. This was a non-starter and contrary to the soft commitments made by the U.S. in the 1992 Climate Convention that the U.S. and other developed countries would act first, in light of their much larger historical and current contribution to the problem of climate change, and in light of their greater capacity and level of development.

      That was twenty years of rising emissions ago, with current warming resulting mostly from emissions in the decades before 1997. We’re locked in, and need to be thinking of adaptation in addition to (or in synergy with) emissions reductions and carbon farming.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.

      Most bright people I know worry more these days about how easily they can reload rather than how easily they can vote.

  6. dcrane

    The graph at the beginning is interesting, but it doesn’t tell us what we need to know with names like “Joe Biden”, “Corey Booker”, and “Kamela Harris” missing, not to mention possible candidates on the other side like Nikki Haley (ugh).

  7. relstprof

    As much as I love Sanders, I think Warren has the better shot. The Sanders’s wing has to put the pressure on her starting now.

    Too bad Nina Turner isn’t in a nationally prominent office.

    10 years after 2020 Gaius? I’m just going to try and make it through the next 3.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think Yves wrote on this last year during the primary. Warren has a high profile and is popular in Dem circles, but seems to have very little traction outside the coasts and political junkies. She might do well in primaries, but I think she’d struggle to connect with everyday voters. She has too much of an Ivy League type elitist aura. Sanders actually connects with people at all levels which is why he’s so phenomenally popular.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Agree with the comment above.

        And I hate to be the one to say this (my ultra-feminist fiancee actually said it to me and I was taken aback) but it’s true:

        A woman is unlikely to beat Trump in 2020.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      When Democratic primary voters have tried outguessing eachother about who they and eachother think “can win” in the election, and when the DemParty SuperLords make their own final decision anyway based on who they think “can win”, we get Hillary Clinton.

      I hope every DemParty primary voter for PrezNom 2020 thinks about who he/she WANTS to be the nominee instead of who he/she second-guesses that “others” MIGHT vote for in the election. If every DemPrezNom wannabe ran an honest truthful agenda-presenting campaign for us to choose among, then those whose favorite lost the primaries might be disposed to support the one who won the primaries.

      I suspect that if Warren and Sanders were both running through the primaries, that I would WANT Sanders because Sanders supports more of what I would like to see rescued and revived . . . the New Deal methods of ordering society and economy. If it were a Free and Fair primary season with no cheating and manipulation and Warren won it, I might well vote for Warren. If Warren were to pick Sanders for her running mate, that would increase my chances of supporting Warren after the primaries.

      I don’t care whether Sanders gains foreign policy respect from the Blob or not. Purists will hate him for it if he gets it, and they will turn against him in their millions. I will forgive him for it because I value his domestic agenda most of all.

      If we get an Obie or a Clintie, I will not vote for it. If the Obie or Clintie we get is vile and vomitous enough, I will vote for Trump all over again as my own desperate little contribution to exterminating a Party which would once again give us an Obie or a Clintie.

      1. Spring Texan

        Yeah, I’d be really happy with a Sanders-Warren ticket because Warren would not be gunning for Sanders like so many Democrats. I’d also vote Warren-Sanders. Warren has her limitations but she’s sincere and has integrity and that is light years ahead of others. But she’s not as BROAD as Bernie nor as committed to public goods, but she’s still an OK person not a sellout. Which is huge.

      2. Charlie

        To be honest, and this is total speculation, if O’Malley seizes the Bernie platform (he may, but think he won’t, as he’s been too quiet of late) he would be a formidable opponent for anyone in the running, except Gabbard.

        Just based on the fact he dropped out so early out of frustration with the process.

        1. Arizona Slim

          During the first debate, which was all the way back in October 2015, I thought that O’Malley over-performed. It was supposed to be the Bernie and Hillary show, but darn it, O’Malley refused to roll over like Chafee and Webb did.

          I don’t think we’ve heard the last of ole Martin.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Warren has changed her persona from cool and detached (see her masterful evisceration of Geithner when she was chair of the COP) to shrill. That does not play well in most of America.

  8. The Rev Kev

    My own take is threefold.
    First, because of his age you would have to consider who his running partner/future Vice-President would be in the same way that people did a double-take when they realized that as Sarah Palin was John McCain’s running mate, that she was a heartbeat away from becoming President herself.
    Second, I fear that he would fold when the pressure was put on him in the same way that he has folded in the past. If elected, he would have so few allies in Washington that he may not be able to withstand deep state pressure but would buckle.
    Third, the same forces arrayed against Trump over the past year that have ensnared him in BS charges would be turned full force on Sanders by the same actors and the media. He would be accused of radical or communist influences, etc. and he would never escape them. As the past year has amply demonstrated, proof is never needed, only allegations.
    The population of the US is 323.1 million. Surely someone else could be found among them to take up the challenge. How about that young woman from Hawaii?

    1. Adam

      Tulsi Gabbard is definitely my number 1 choice for a Democratic President, plus she ticks off several of those identity boxes that Democrats like to pretend they care so much as not. Granted, in CA, I’ll be voting Green
      in the GE regardless.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          she’s got a huge blind spot, akin to Bernie’s belief in the US’s fantasy of the situation in Ukraine.

          Would still vote for any of them over the alternatives.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      “…he would have so few allies in Washington that he may not be able to withstand deep state pressure but would buckle…”

      I have to admit that in my own mind the chance to avoid a civil war of some kind ended with the last Presidential election cycle….but in the ‘don’t give up until the fat lady sings’ ethic, am hoping people like the Brand New Congress & Justice Democrats may be able to get themselves into office and provide a source of support and allies for Sanders…as wan and thin a hope as that is.

      I am supporting our local BNC candidate with occasion $27 donations where possible and will probably try and do some volunteer ‘on the ground’ work.

      Have to admit though….things like the GINI coefficient ‘score’ of the US vs ancient Rome augurs for snowballing civil strife and the emergence of a truly megalomaniac strongman (or woman!) to safely shepherd all of the terrified sheep to the safety and eternal glory of Oceania.

      (I guess as a fallback plan, I hope the PNW could somehow form up Cascadia…but as a History Major I realize I have moved squarely into the fiction/novel section of the used bookstore… :(

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Cascadia? I wouldn’t bet on it. CA north of Sacramento is called “Calabama” for a reason.

        State of Jefferson? Now we’re talking…

  9. PlutoniumKun

    My gut feeling is that:

    1. The tone the Dem mainstream will take is ‘oh, he’s a good guy but *shakes head sadly*, he’s just too old isn’t he?’ This would allow them to focus their bile on whoever he picks as running mate. I doubt Bernie would be stupid enough to choose a centrist such as Harris as a running mate as thats as sure a way to guarantee a snipers bullet (metaphorically or literally) if he wins.

    2, The mainstream media will follow the above line. The only newspaper I follow regularly is the Guardian and its instructive how its writers have gone from ignoring Sanders to patronising him. But even the quickest glance BTL on Guardian pages show that its readers just aren’t buying their line. Unless they are very stupid, they will have to change tone.

    3. Oddly, I think he would attract less overt opposition from the Republicans. Purely anecdotally, but I get the impression that he is actually very well liked by Republicans, both those in the Senate and at large. That doesn’t mean they’ll support him, but I think they will feel obliged to take a less overtly hostile approach to him. The donors won’t like that, but I think many individual Republicans will fear a supporter backlash if they are seen to step beyond the bounds of decency (as defined by Republicans).

    4. I think the Blob will think they can Carter him. They’d be quite happy to allow him take some progressive policies in areas that don’t matter, like South America and Europe, so long as they can keep various crises ticking over in the Middle East and Asia. I think the Blob as a whole will see the merit in having a kindly face on US imperialism, as they did with Obama.

    5. The real focus of the establishment will be in ensuring he doesn’t leave a progressive legacy – i.e. they will make sure that any younger vice president in the Bernie mould doesn’t get the chance to make a run in 2024.

    1. cm

      Agreed. Were he to win he would suffer the fate of either Kennedy or Carter. If the DNC gets their patsy for VP, I hope Sanders (were he to win) never strays outside the White House or Camp David…

  10. Marco

    The civil war between Berniecrats and Dem establishment hacks that did NOT happen in 2017 (and should have) will happen before Sanders can solidify his power within the party. Perhaps Twitter is a bad place to take the temperature of rank-and-file voters (and not just media personalities) but (1) ALOT of people really hate Sanders (2) ALOT of people really hate Hillary and any other establishment Dem (Booker, Biden, Harris…even Warren) I think a serious schism is on the horizon.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . one side will simply have to “crush” and “exterminate” the other side, then. I would prefer to see the Bernies “crush” and “exterminate” the Clinties and the Obies, myself.

  11. russell1200

    Is he even a Democrat at the moment?

    I guess I don’t see a big issue with the establishment not backing him. That’s what establishments do. The Republicans tried to torpedo Trump, but failed. The Democrats succeeded.

  12. Matthew G. Saroff

    I remember McGovern in 1972 (I was 10, but my mom worked on his campaign).

    The mainstream Democratic party would work to sabotage him in the general.

    To quote THE IRON LAW OF INSTITUTIONS, “The Iron Law of Institutions is: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.”

    1. katiebird

      I worked on McGovern’s campaign and couldn’t figure out where it went after the nomination. I still don’t really. Did Gary Hart quit over the summer? I get that the Humphrey supporters didn’t turn out. But where did McGovern’s organizers go?

      I was just an 18 year old volunteer at the time and not in the know.

      My fear for a Sanders nomination is that a similar post nomination collapse could happen. I hope his organizers understand that Dem Party resources might not be available at traditional levels.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Sanders’ campaign was falling apart during early 2016. I witnessed the collapse firsthand in Tucson.

        Here’s one data point from the Arizona Slim file: Right before the Iowa primary, there was a video update from the campaign. Watching parties were organized throughout the country, and there was one here in Tucson. It was at a union hall and at least 100 people showed up.

        Before I went inside to watch the video, I was chatting with a guy I’d met at various Sanders events around town. We both noted that we’d done some phonebanking, but we didn’t think that it was a very effective way to reach out to people who might be interested in Bernie.

        Well, the video played, Bernie spoke, and we Tucsonans ate it all up.

        Then came the grand finale. Someone from the campaign came on, and that person was speaking in front of a room full of phonebankers in Iowa. That person exhorted us, the video watchers, to start doing our own phonebanking session.

        As soon as the Tucson crowd heard that one, it got up and left.

        That was in late January or early February of 2016. Between that time and Arizona’s primary on March 22, I kept hearing about the difficulties of recruiting phonebankers and the lack of support for canvassers — they didn’t have enough literature and the lists of people to contact just didn’t make sense.

        I also heard plenty of rumors about the competence of the campaign staff. One of my local friends even went so far as to say that they were deliberately under-trained.

        And that’s my on-the-ground report from Tucson.

        1. Tree Frog

          During the Dem primaries in 2016 I was puzzled by the seeming disorganization of the Sanders Campaign (SC). From someone with the SC at the time, I learned that Sanders did not expect to get past IA and NH. When IA went well and NH followed chaos followed also.

          That the The Dem Establishment had to cheat from IA on is no small success for the SC and its supporters. The Establishment will have a hard time repeating the cheat.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have read, including right here on Naked Capitalism itself, that the Sanders campaign permitted regular Democrats to staff lots and lots of its field offices. These Democratic activists deliberately sabotaged the Sanders campaign from within, through such tricks as obstructing effective methods, demanding that Sanders volunteers use ineffective methods, withholding campaign materials, losing campaign materials, etc.

          I have no idea where or how to find the comments about this among all the millions of words built up by now in the Naked Capitalism archives. If the people who wrote about those things were to write about them again, perhaps they could be read and thought about.

          The Bernies should understand that inviting any pre-Bernie “regular Democrats” no matter how local is like inviting Adolph Hitler to conduct a Jewish wedding. The Bernies should understand that every single “regular member” of the Democratic party is a metastatic malignant cancer cell which will eventually have to be irradiated, surgerised, and chemotherapied out of the party if the cancer is to be all-the-way killed.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Sanders never dreamed he’d get as far as he did, hence he didn’t build an adequate operation. As one of his staffers at the time said, “He wasn’t running to win. He was running to get his ideas out in the debate. Then when he looked like a contender, he decided he didn’t want to lose, which is not the same as wanting to win.”

          If he runs in 2020, he will want to win and will have figured out how to build an organization, or get people on his team who can do that.

  13. Patrick Donnelly

    Like John Smith, who led Labour in the UK until he had a heart attack and an unknown called “Tony” Blair took over, Sanders would have a heart attack.

    exForeign minister Robin Cook had a fatal one, also. They can be catching. So much easier than faking a lone deranged killer.

  14. Chauncey Gardiner

    Language and labeling are important. Based on the chart Gaius included at the beginning of his post, it appears to me that Sanders and the progressives actually occupy the “centrist” ground among the electorate in this country. The organized use of the term “populist” by the corporate MSM as a pejorative term to describe candidates who support policies preferred by the majority of the electorate would be mildly amusing if it were not a serious matter.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Words made perjorative by the ruling class which people used to unabashedly wear with pride:


      Meanwhile, we get profiles on the Nazi next door in the New York Times, he goes to Applebees just like you and me!

      Empire in decline

  15. Mike

    The above comments by Charlie and PK touch on the gist of DP inside maneuvers and the necessity for eternal vigilance if Sanders wins, because his becoming President would be the FIRST step in a real fight with the following entities: 1) the Dem establishment that is coupled with the Republican one; 2) the national security establishment, including the military HUMINT legions who would spy, infiltrate, and subvert without pause; 3) the media giants who would lose big time were real electoral reform to have a place in dinnertime talk; 4) multinational conglomerates that seem poised to carry on foreign marketing as if the US working class does not exist; and 5) the not so small number of sycophants who follow the above, or consider their bread buttered by them. Realistically, Sanders, even though someone who may follow the standard foreign policy prescriptions to some degree, would be a revolutionary with a dagger in his teeth as far as 1-5 are concerned.

    1. SNS

      Thank you. This is a very good condensed version of the article. I had not thought through this well enough to see the dangers to a successful realignment of US policy with its populace’s interests.

      I think the next question needs to be – how can these interests be reconciled enough for progressive change to substantially occur?

      This is how all deals are made. Those with power balance their interests. So, two things need to be considered: 1) progressives obtaining power and 2) an outline of potential compromise with adversaries that allows them to wield it effectively.

      A note on 1: For progressives to sit at the table, they have to have a sizable portion of the population supporting them AND this has to actually matter. As long as elections can be rigged, popular support may not actually translate into power.

      A note on 2: Sanders / progressives should choose their allies wisely.

      I’m really curious to see what people have to say about 2. How could progressives create a coalition and still effect change?

  16. PKMKII

    As long as Bernie is alive when the 2020 primaries happen, he’ll be a prominent force in them. Either he runs, in which case his history, popularity, and built-in structural advanage (the progressive wing of the Dems, Our Revolution, I assume DSA) make him one of the front runners, if not the front runner. If he doesn’t run, then his endorsement would be highly sought after for the same reasons.

    The Dem establishment in the primaries would treat him the way they always treat people and movements out of the progressive/left wing of the party: We like the energy and zeal they bring, they’ve got some interesting ideas, but letting them anywhere near actual power would just not be reasonable. Expect to hear the word “electable” thrown about like confetti. That being said, given the dirt that’s been exposed on the workings of the DNC, I think the undermining will largely be rhetoric, not systematic. There’s going to be too many journos and opposition researchers sniffing around for shenanigans for the DNC to take any risks like that. Can’t see the media ignoring Bernie, given the political force he’s become, and his character. Do expect them to default to a lazy “Ooooh, he’s a socialist, can he win with that albatross?” narrative with little substantive examination of what his policies actually are.

    If Sanders wins the primary, I expect the Democratic Party and partisan-liberal media to get behind him. They’ve sunk too much into the “Trump is the purest evil and anything and everything must be done to get him out of power” message to be able to about face just because the guy they didn’t prefer won the primary. There would be a lot of yammering about how Sanders needs to come to the “center,” though, fitting in with the reasonable rhetoric.

    Now if he wins the general, the right-wing resistance against him would get interesting. The demogogues in Congress, the Senate, and the chattering classes would default to their typically inflammatory but tractionless accusations. The conservative deep state is another story. Their problem with Trump is not so much policy-based as it is aesthetic. They like their work done in the shadows of bureaucracy, not on Twitter, but they like the work Trump is directing towards. Bernie’s policies, on the other hand, would mean taking away the meal tickets from a lot of units and contractors. So I would expect the kompromat to come out. Question is, how does Bernie handle it? Trump has committed a lot of own-goals with his response by making it personal, that it’s about them not liking his winningness. Bernie could spin it to his advantage if he makes it about the policy and the bezzle: “They are not trying to protect America, they’re trying to protect their paycheck!”

  17. Denis Drew

    “What will be the state of relations between the “muscular” security state and the Real Resistance at that point?”

    Ever hear of muscular labor unions? Here is how to go about that:

    [pardon the cut-and-paste but here is the answer to most all our problems just laying on the ground, waiting for us to collectively pick it up]

    Steal a big page from Republicans’ anti-union book of tricks. In Wisconsin for instance government employee unions are forced to re-certify every year — majority of members required, not just of voters.

    A near future (fingers crossed) Democratic Congress can pass legislation requiring first time certification or re-certification labor union elections at every workplace every so many years.

    Consider this additional feature: part of election choice can be whether members wish mandatory re-certification after one year, three years or five years — plurality rules.

    This extra choice could facilitate “yes” votes at high union-doubter workplaces and dispense with the most rancorous potential arguing because pro-union can always say to union-worriers: ”Try it for a year — can’t hurt.”

    (Government employees left outside NLRA election structure. Wisconsin intent should be clearly recognized as unconstitutional pressure on freedom of assembly — no other purpose possible for such an over-extreme requirement. Courts say First Amendment protects government worker organizing but not their right to bargain.)

    Why Not Hold Union Representation Elections on a Regular Schedule?
    November 1st, 2017 – Andrew Strom

  18. WillC

    Wall St. and K St. pull the strings in the Democratic Party. The Deep State and the Pentagon tweak them. As president, Sanders would get nothing passed through Congress that ran counter to the interests of the major corporations, the banks, and the empire. He’d simply serve the same purpose he did in 2016, which was to channel the anger and discontent of students, the dispossessed, the jobless, the indebted, and the distressed—in short, all those who’ve been shafted by neoliberalism, deindustrialization, offshoring, the withdrawal of social services and welfare, injustice, and exploitation—into the black hole of the Democratic Party, a capitalist political organ with no commitment to the betterment of the working class. Sanders is pro-empire, so poses no threat to the eminences grises on that score; as for reanimating the cold corpse of the New Deal, he’d get stymied at every pass. The corporate Dems would sabotage him as esgerly as the Republicans. All that Bernie would accomplish is delaying the revolt of the masses, which will come eventually, perhaps sooner than later. And then there’ll be blood in the streets.

    1. Tree Frog

      The Imperial Beast is a ruthless as it is relentless, evidenced by a long list of assassinations, coups and invasions.

      If Sanders were to go directly to the people – rather than through The Blob – he might find a path to effective change. That seems to have been his primary campaign approach. That seems to be Corbyn’s approach in opposition. Certainly Sanders has not stopped campaigning – and has not stopped talking to real people.

      1. Will Cooper

        Love your handle, Tree Frog.

        I don’t believe that Sanders is pro-working class. He’s certainly not opposed to the US global empire and has voted to back Obama’s bloody abominations in the Middle East. He talks a good talk, but New Dealism isn’t anti-capital. Indeed, FDR shoved it through to save capitalism, and admitted as much. Sanders is cut from the same cloth.

        To my way of thinking, he’s an obstacle to real change. What we need desperately is a path to overthrowing the capitalist system altogether. We need a revolution. History has proven that reforms don’t work. If you leave the system in place, capitalists, driven by the logic and culture of capital, will carve away at the reforms until they’ve restored the status quo ante or worse.

        I don’t believe, as some leftists do, that Sanders acts maliciously. But the result of his support for the corporate Democratic Party is to divert discontent and revolutionary energy into its vorticular abyss.

        We need a political party of and for the working class. Such a party does exist, the Socialist Equality Party, the US section of the International Committee of the Fourth International. Beyond a political arm, we need to form representative bodies—community groups, workers councils, factory and office educational and action committees, social meet-ups, church groups, etc.—where working class folks can gain a sense of class identity, create solidarity, learn how they can work to help each other, defend themselves, and build a better world.

        Voting for the lesser evil is a short-term and ultimately losing proposition. Sure, would Clinton have been “better” than Trump? Probably. Maybe. At least she’s not mentally ill. But she’s a neoliberal and corporate flack par excellence, and she’s a warmonger. (Ask the Libyans what they think of her.)

        In my opinion, the only chance we have is to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Capitalism is an irredeemably destructive system for organizing the production and distribution of goods and services. It needs to be rooted out and fast. Rising global temperatures won’t wait for gradual change, and the profit-marauding oil and gas corporations won’t cease extracting and burning fossil fuels until the earth has become a furnace under 20 feet of water.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > If Sanders were to go directly to the people – rather than through The Blob – he might find a path to effective change.

        I don’t know what “directly to the people” means, operationally. In the current party context, having the ability to raise your own money ($27 at a time) with your own mailing list (independent of the DNC) is about as direct as you can get.

        Not sure what you mean by “through The Blob” in this context, either.

        NOTE I agree on the ruthlessess of our elites. Flying coach, speaking in front of large crowds, and leading a simple life seem like a pretty good baseline to avoid the more obvious forms of attack; We won’t be seeing any headlines like “Senator Sanders’ Small Plane Crashed” because, AFAIK, he doesn’t go up in them. I don’t think there are any flies on Sanders here.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > All that Bernie would accomplish is delaying the revolt of the masses

      “The masses” isn’t a serious analytical tool (although, along with fetishizing “the streets,” it remains beloved by some). I deprecate the term because its flip side is a vanguardist elite (“meet the new boss”) who will enlighten and drive those ignorant masses.

      Ditto, as far as deprecation, treating Wall Street, K Street, the so-called “Deep State” and the Pentagon as separate, siloed entities. That strikes me as …. a little simplistic. Granting the method, if the Pentagon is separate from the so-called “Deep State,” why isn’t the “intelligence community”?

  19. Ignim Brites

    Too old. Too white. Too male. Too stale. Socialism – a nineteenth century ideology – really? Revolution – a la Lenin? Mao? Fidel? Seriously? The new name for revolution is secession anyway. Is Bernie there yet? Sanders was a breath of fresh air only in the context of Clintonian stagnation. But it’s all over now.

    1. pretzelattack

      striving for equality is stale, eh. i think secession is a pretty old idea, even older than the 19th century. must be stale.

      1. Ignim Brites

        Secession is an old idea granted. But it is hot now ( or kewl ), depending on your generation, talking about. Ask the Catalans.

      1. Ignim Brites

        The praxis ( and therefore truth) of the DP is box ticking ID politics. This isn’t going to change. Remember, Ms Clinton won, big time actually.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          She won nothing. She accomplished nothing. Enabling her inability to own anything does not help you, her, or the country.

          She earned nothing in that election but the contempt of the few who hadn’t yet made up their mind about her.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > Ms Clinton won

          Clinton won in the same way that a football team wins when it gains the most yardage, and tries to change the rules retroactively to make that the winning standard, as opposed to putting points on the board.

          I remember very well the claims made in 2008 that the excellence of Obama’s campaign meant that he had the executive qualities to make a fine President. If so, the cluster[familyblog] of the Clinton campaign (see Shattered), which allocated its resources in such a way as to lose the Electoral College, completely disqualifies her. The epistemic closure demonstrated by her fan base doesn’t give me a good feeling about what a Clinton administration would have been like, either.

          Maybe in 2020 we’ll have better choices.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      This is silly. Sanders is hands down the most popular politician in America. People outside the narcissistic circle of self-regard and cheap virtue signaling of the 10% care more about putting food on the table and worry about paying their bills, how the hell their kids will find jobs, and how they can possibly retire than identity politics claptrap. Sanders speaks to those issues in a way they find sincere and compelling. For those who are not set for life, and the proportion of those people is rising in the electorate with every passing day, all this identity politics nonsense is a luxury.

  20. Lord Koos

    To counter the age issue (which I think is a real weakness), I think Bernie would be smart to run as vice president with a younger presidential candidate who would have his blessing.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      I’m quite willing to put a “Warren/Sanders 2020” sticker over my “Sanders/Warren 2016” sticker. Yessir.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No way Sanders/Warren. She is too old, and reinforces East Coast. No reach to other parts of the US. Plus the VP is a hood ornament whose main job is to go to funerals of political leaders.

        Warren is far better deployed as Secretary of the Treasury. He needs a younger VP who will appeal to people outside the East. Needs also not to be a white male (unless gay, that might be OK).

    2. John k

      Yes, an issue to be addressed… we all know he might pass in office, so want youth and progressive both to back him up, hate for both to pass as could happen with Bernie and Liz.
      Tulsi. And she supported him early, as Liz did not.
      Young. Female. Pretty. Vet. And moving left by the day… course cia deep state would hate her… another plus.
      I’m cautiously optimistic on 2020, if he stays healthy. May need a taster…

  21. John Beech

    Support Bernie in 2020 after voting for Donald Trump in 2016? I might.

    But it depends on whether the President delivers what he promised. Me? I want the wall. Nothing against Mexicans, for whom I have the highest respect as some of the hardest working people ‘ever’ but I want a wall for the same reason I have windows and doors equipped with locks. Fair warning . . . make me out to be a racist, or belittle me for this, and I’ll certainly vote for Trump once again out of meanness and spite because I’m fed up with being labeled.

    Set $15 minimum wage? I happen to think it’s stupid. Especially in light of products shipped directly from the orient (with shipping charges subsidized by the USPS) for far less than we can make it for here. But if it comes to pass, we’ll muddle through. That said, I predict within a couple of years (after prices have climbed to offset this new reality, e.g. a Whopper cost $10), left-of-center Democrats will want to go back to the well of trying to legislate poverty out of existence once again (perhaps next time with a $25 minimum wage), then all I want is a clear understanding this is a one time experiment. Hmmm, maybe we ought to just go for $25/hour from the get go so there won’t be any argument in future when it doesn’t work that we were too parsimonious. Anyway, despite my certainty it won’t work, this won’t stop me from voting for Senator Sanders because I know at least his heart is in the right place. Basically, I’m willing to let him try, and thus, Republicans had better not count on me to stand in his way (but only if we can learn something from it because I don’t want America to be the next Venezuela).

    Finally, with respect to Medicare for All? Actually, I support this. I know, it’s inconsistent with my position regarding minimum wage. Nevertheless, it needs to be done . . . and if I were King-for-a-Day, everybody (prince, pauper, or member of Congress) would have the exact same plan. I.e. none of this monkey business where insurance companies are still shilling added gold, silver, and bronze coverage for a price. I will support a pure one-for-all and all-for-one Medicare plan, or nothing.

    As for the rest, it’ll come out in the wash because just as the world didn’t come to an end with President Obama, we’ll survive President Trump, and we’ll do so once again with President Sanders.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      A $15 minimum wage is only stupid in the context of Forced Free Trade with countries of less-than-$15 minimum wage. Abolish Free Trade and restore Protectionism and a $15 minimum wage won’t be stupid anymore.

      And I am not sure it is in all cases stupid even now. Paying semi-slaves a semi-slave sub-wage so low that they cannot buy more than a fraction of what they would like to buy assures that economic activity stays stunted at the lower class base of the body political-economic. Some jobs cannot be offshored. Jobs like restaurant work, health care work, etc.

    2. johnnygl

      You don’t need a wall. You need higher minimum wages in Mexico. Manuel Lopez Obrador is your man in Mexico who wants to deliver those higher wages. You also need an end to the drug war, or at least a big reduction in the violence of the war.

      If Lopez Obrador can find a way through Mexico’s rotten political machine to win in 2018, it’s game on.

  22. Jim

    There are some deeper structural questions which must also be asked in parallel with the question of “what would happen if Bernie Sanders ran for President in 2020?.”–based on the assumption that you can’t build a better society if you don’t know how the system you are trying to change actually works.

    Is it true that contemporary neo-liberals mask the role of power (i.e. the Gov/ State) through the confusion of marketization of government functions with the shrinking of the State? This shrinking of the State interpretation of neo-liberalism was the narrative initially favored on this blog until the writings of Mirowski were examined more closely.

    A portion of the MMT thought collective (those who agree with Bill Mitchell) have apparently come to accept the Mirowski interpretation of contemporary neo-liberalism but are presently constructing an alternative narrative that justifies an even more powerful state, although somehow under supposed democratic control. Some of the assumptions of this MMT faction appear quite similar to those of neo-liberals:

    They seem to hold, like the neo-liberals, that their own vision of a good society must be constructed and that it does not come about naturally, in the absence of concerted political effort and organization.

    They, like the neo-liberals and marketization, are also developing various arguments for the existence of an even stronger state as both producer and guarantor of stability and growth but somehow, in contrast to the neo-liberals, more democratized–although this process of democratization is never spelled out.

    They, like the neo-liberals, are now concerned with the challenge of first seizing the State (one avenue being the potential election of Bernie Sanders) and then potentially retasking the State to play an more predominant role in domestic economic growth and development.

    Is this primacy of politics assumption valid? Social democrats have long hoped/believed that some type of socialism could be expanded on top of capitalism?

    To what extent is the institutional transformation of American society driven simply by the logic of capitalist development, in itself?

    Is the Polyanian assumption of the primacy of politics under capitalism(which I am sympathetic to– too optimistic? (The writings of Wolfgang Streeck, for example, tend to support a much more pessimistic outlook.)

  23. sharonsj

    As someone who went to the same high school as Bernie Sanders and graduated around the same time, I object to ageism. Besides, Bernie supporters care about his stance on issues, not his age. I still support Bernie and Elizabeth Warren over any candidate proposed by the Dem establishment. I saw Warren on C-Span talk about her new book for about 45 minutes and her speech was electric. The two of them on the stump would generate enormous enthusiasm.

    I absolutely hate the Republicans and despise the Democrats (and I’m a lifelong registered Democrat). I have sent small amounts of money to progressive candidates and told the DNC to get lost (not that they pay attention). But the anger that led to Trump’s election is still out there. By 2020 I doubt Trump or the Republicans will have done anything to alleviate the social and monetary problems of the rest of us (the crappy tax “reform” bill won’t help either). The Dems might be able to retake the WH and Congress if they’re willing to relinquish their hold on power, but personally I don’t think they will. Times might finally be right for an actual revolution.

    Finally, I was over at my credit union today, needing copies of some old 1099 forms regarding my mortgage. The bank manager brought them to me and then said wryly, “Who knows how long you’ll be able to deduct this” and rolled her eyes. We both agreed that everything sucked but neither of us could bring ourselves to discuss Trump or politics anymore. The bank manager, for God’s sake.

    1. johnnygl

      Re: your last paragraph…trump’s biggest mistake is leaving the repubs congress in charge of writing legislation. They are throwing their own base under the bus because the donor class said so. Congressional repubs will try to make trump own it and he will probably have to take some blame.

      Trump was able to offload blame for healthcare onto congress. I don’t think he can pull that trick twice.

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