So with both Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, and – finally – Elizabeth Warren – having endorsed Joe Biden now is perhaps not the worst time to give my take on US politics in the Current Year.
As I observed when I left the US in 2016, the bipolar party system had come under strain because there are, in reality, five major ideological factions or sooner clusters. Loosely going from left to right, these include socialists, liberals, centrist conservatives, Christian evangelicals, and Trumpist nationalists. Only the latter seem to really “mesh” without much conflict. Otherwise, there is plenty of vitriol to around, not just between the two main camps but within them – between the centrist conservatives (“cuckservatives”) and the Trumpists, as well as between the socialists (“Bernie Bros”) and the liberals (libs; “read another book“).
Now Bernie’s fundamental problem is that the “socialist” wing is still ultimately a minority within the Democratic Party – not so amongst millennials and probably Generation X, but overwhelmingly so amongst boomers. However, this need not have been a critical handicap, on account of the weak and heavily splintered gaggle of candidates fielded in the Democratic primaries this season, as well as Bernie’s likability – even Republicans tend to like him more than generic Democratic politicians – which is all the more remarkable given the radicalness of Bernie’s program.
- Green New Deal has a price tag of $16 trillion (for comparison, even Germany spend just $0.5 trillion on its renewables boondoggles in the past decade).
- Federal jobs guarantee isn’t something that even the most leftist European parties campaign on. It’s Soviet-tier.
- Likewise, no European social democracy criminalizes private medical insurance that I’m aware of.
- 8% wealth tax on the ultra-rich is an order of magnitude higher than what exists in any other European social democracy.
But it wasn’t that which foiled him.
So why did Bernie fail? Well, I don’t really have much to add beyond what has been said by “dissident” pundits from the left (e.g. Michael Tracey) to the far right (e.g. Eric Striker), but to summarize:
(1) Abandoned working class whites for SJW careerists like AOC. This neither endeared the Blacks to him, while losing the original base that made him so competitive against Hillary in 2016.
(2) Enthusiastically promoted Russiagate, so it’s only fair he was Russiagated out of the nomination by a billionaire who had spoken with understanding about Russia’s actions in Crimea in 2015.
I agree with Tracey that other explanations, such as the DNC “ratfucking” him, are a cope. Bernie had much more money than Biden, a huge grassroots support network (e.g. via the DSA), universal name recognition, and four years of campaigning for the Presidency under his belt. He also only had his share of the vote (partially) siphoned off by Warren, whereas the centrists were splintered between several major candidates.
Ultimately, it was Bernie’s own failure 100% – and I think it ultimately came down to psychology. I have called him America’s Zyuganov, and that means he doesn’t really want to win. Jill Stein and even Donald Trump did more for Bernie’s campaign in terms of attacking Biden than Bernie himself. This lack of ambition and verve also manifested in a lack of ideas. Lack of ambition manifests itself in lack of ideas. For instance, I consider it an “achievement” of sorts to come out in favor of cash payments to citizens during the lockdown only after having been outflanked on that issue by everyone from Ilhan Omar to Romney, Mnuchin, and Cotton.
I would also note that many Bernie supporters subsequently bitterly criticized the other candidates – most prominently, Yang and Tulsi – as they endorsed Biden. But neither owed anything to Bernie, especially Tulsi, whom Bernie had never even defended from the Russiagate freaks (unlike Yang). In any case this point has since been made entirely moot by Bernie’s own endorsement of Biden, which Tracey noted was notable more enthusiastic than Tulsi’s.
- Andrew Yang. Thanks to Corona-chan, at least the idea of Universal Basic Income has become normalized across the political spectrum.
- Bloomberg. KO’d Bernie out of the contest. The half a billion he spent on the campaign is an amazing ROI given what he stood to lose from a Bernie tax plan.
- Pete Buttigieg. You don’t have to like him to acknowledge that going from small town mayor to household name in politics is a major accomplishment.
Orange vs Vegetable
Whence now? I am not alone in getting Chernenko vibes from Biden. He is clearly losing it, though Trump shouldn’t hope for a meltdown in the debates; amphetamines can work wonders.
Besides, the “Trump is Putin’s puppet” will vote for a doorknob over Trump, anyway.
A month ago, I wrote:
OK, I like the Blomph memes as much as anyone, but Trump is really in a Catch-22 situation.
Shut down the US – and torpedo economy. Or let Corona rage & preside over a mega-Katrina. In an election year.
He can’t win. Only viable candidates now are Biden and Corona-chan.
But since then, a major change occurred. First, Trump has clearly shifted to a strategy of blaming China for everything to do with Corona. More importantly, and something I didn’t anticipate, is that Americans have lapped it up, with even a majority of Democrats now believing they are somehow entitled to reparations gibsmedats. Consequently, so far as public perceptions go, it’s not so much a Katrina as a 9/11, so assuming he can get the economy going again by autumn I’d say he does stand a good chance. Of course this also means that the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans are now all but assured.
FWIW, the gamblers currently have Trump on 50% vs. 44% for Biden.
That said, things are in such deep flux – there is an emerging Red/Blue divide between continued lockdown and “liberating” the economy – that who knows anything really.