Although Sanders nosed out a victory in New Hampshire, the results should cheer the hearts of Berniephobes like me. This is a state which he won handily in 2016 -- a state which ought to be friendlier to him than any other, aside from Vermont. If memory serves, he got 60 percent of the vote four years ago -- yet in 2020, he barely eked out a win.
Here are the numbers
as of this writing -- numbers which will no doubt shift by morning, though not by that
With 82% of expected vote reporting, as of 10:46 p.m. ET, Bernie Sanders is currently leading with 26%, followed by former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with 24% and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, with 20%.
MSNBC had Biden at 9 percent, which is pretty disheartening. Joe's not my favorite candidate, but I don't want him to lose this
way. That is to say: I don't want him to lose because Trump's smears proved effective.
Let's focus on Bernie vs. All Others. The current numbers tell us that, this
time around, the candidates considered moderate (Amy, Pete, Joe) received roughly 60 percent of the vote. This isn't 2016. 2020 is the "Beat Trump" election, not the "Socialism now!" election. Only a quarter of the NH electorate looked at Bernie Sanders and thought: "Yeah, this is the guy who can beat Trump."
David Corn makes much the same point here
The bottom line: There was a winner, but Sanders does not at this point hold a dominant position within the Democratic cosmos. With no single candidate staking a claim on more than about one-fourth of the vote, there is plenty of incentive for other candidates to stay in the hunt. This may be especially true since the two leaders at the moment each trigger questions among some voters about their electability. Sanders would be the first Jewish and socialist presidential nominee of a major party, and Buttigieg is a gay nominee with modest political experience.
If Biden and Warren flicker out
, Klobuchar becomes our only real choice. I don't care for either of the billionaires, though Steyer is preferable to the baggage-laden Bloomberg.
Biden will bounce back in South Carolina, though I'm not sure that he'll bounce hard enough. I'm comfortable with Klobuchar: She may not be the most charismatic candidate in history, but she speaks well, she wears
well, she has a moderate/liberal persona, and she has the experience that Mayor Pete lacks.
Warren remains my personal favorite, and her apparent fall saddens me immensely. She and Bernie vied for the hard left vote, and she lost that contest. Too bad: She's the brightest, best-prepared, most inspiring of the candidates, and -- unlike Bernie -- she could plausibly veer toward the center during a general election contest.
Unlike Bernie, she was always bright enough not
to call herself a socialist.
My problem with the "socialist" label has little to do with policy, though I would appreciate it if Bernie offered clearer ideas about how to pay
for all of those promised goodies. My problem concerns the word itself. This story
from last year destroys the oft-heard argument that BS is the new FDR: Roosevelt was always too canny a politician to align himself with the S-word. His example proves that any American politician must contrive to escape that label if he wants to enact ideas that a zealous F.A. Hayek fan might consider unforgivably socialistic. This situation isn't fair, but reality is reality is reality
: The S-word will always reek of Bolshevism to the American nose, and no amount of "education" will deodorize the terminology.
The Jeremy Corbyn example should terrify us all. I'd like to share a few observations from this Reddit thread
One of the reasons Corbyn suffered a catastrophic defeat - the worst for Labour in 80 years - is because Corbynites were more focused on demanding liberals bend the knee than in fighting Tories.
they thought that because they were able to bully people through brigading, swarming, shouting-down, shitposting, trolling, banning and downvoting in threads on reddit and social media they had 'won the argument'
they turned major subs here into echo chambers by doing this
they could only hold the upper-hand by bullying people - rather than by genuinely engaging in substantive discussion - so for all their effort they went into the general with totally unprincipled arguments that often defeated each other when tested
imo, that's the most damaging and dangerous similarity between corbyn and sanders that we need to recognize now
And in their worship of Corbyn they ignored the fact that he had major flaws that made him profoundly unappealing to those outside of their bubble.
Someone else pointed it out, but once you see it you can't un-see it.
Pre-election Corbyn and Sanders were two peas of a pod, hardly able to tell them part. After all they were both olde tyme lefties who are going to deliver electoral victory and FULL COMMUNISM NOW. There supporters always loved to point out how similar they were.
Right until Corbyn got dumpestered by an inbred Ronald McDonald clone wearing a mop as a wig. Then the two were nothing a like.
BuT wE cAn WiN iT WiThOuT yOu!
That last bit was meant sarcastically.
Actually, I doubt that anyone
can win it without Bloomberg's promised billions. Although I'm not a Bloomberg fan, I must admit that his commercials have been incredibly effective, and I was heartened to learn that he will run anti-Trump ads even if he loses the nomination. But will he truly work hard to elect a billionaire-basher like Bernie? I don't think so.
"Beefsteak" Bernie Bros...?
The elections that brought Hitler to power offer us a profound warning from the past. The left-most German party was the KPD; we may consider those voters the Bernie Bros of their time and place. They concentrated not on defeating Hitler but on weakening the center -- on weakening democracy itself.
Believe it or not, the prospect of a Hitler victory appealed to many within the KPD. They said: "After Hitler, our turn." It didn't occur to those naive ninnies that they would never get a turn because Hitler would eliminate the vote. The Reichstag fire was a trick that the KPD-ers did not
Once Hitler consolidated power, a surprising number of KPD rank-and-filers decided to join the Nazi party. They were derisively labeled "Beefsteak Nazis" -- brown on the outside, red on the inside. Before not too many years had passed, the browning had gone all the way through.
I wonder how many Bernie Bros have the potential to turn into Beefsteak Nazis? Quite a few, I'd reckon. Consider the example of H.A. Goodman.