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28 Jan, 2020 17:26

Sanders storms ahead as Democrats confront their worst nightmare – and it’s not Donald Trump

Sanders storms ahead as Democrats confront their worst nightmare – and it’s not Donald Trump

As Sanders gains in the polls, Democratic leaders are getting nervous, arguing the ‘democratic socialist’ has no chance against Trump. The reality, however, is that they are terrified of their radical fringe gaining power.

Bernie Sanders has been a cross between an enigma and a bad joke in Washington DC for his entire political career. The disheveled intellectual, who colleagues would invite to cocktail parties just so they could crack jokes behind his back (“What’s the most optimistic thing Sanders has ever said? It can’t possibly get any worse!”). Today, however, nobody is laughing. The independent senator from Vermont is now the life of the party – the Democratic Party, that is.

Less than a week away from the Iowa caucuses, Sanders has pulled far ahead of his fellow presidential wannabes at 39 percent; Elizabeth Warren inhabits the next closest galaxy at 21 percent, while Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden are light years away, dodging space junk at 12 and 11 percent respectively.

Is this sudden surge in Sanders’s popularity a reflection of dissatisfaction with the lackluster field of candidates, or is his message of social equality beginning to strike a chord with the electorate? Whatever the case may be, the establishment movers and shakers must feel like they are trapped in 1989 Hollywood comedy ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ as they try and figure out what to do with a ‘dead candidate walking,’ at least as far as defeating Trump in November is concerned. So now the media jackals are piling on, trying to drag Sanders back to Earth.

In a strategy disturbingly similar to the one they have deployed against Donald Trump and his base of ‘deplorables’, the media has gone on the offensive against Sanders supporters.

When Mr. Sanders’s supporters swarm someone online, they often find multiple access points to that person’s life, compiling what can amount to investigative dossiers,wrote The New York Times this week in a lengthy article entitled ‘Bernie Sanders and His Internet Army.’ “They will attack all public social media accounts, posting personal insults that might flow in by the hundreds. Some of the missives are direct threats of violence...”

Sanders is no more to blame for the behavior of his Twitter followers, however, than he is for winning the support of super-popular podcast host Joe Rogan, who has expressed harsh opinions about the transgender movement in the past. This PC sin triggered ‘woke’ Joe Biden to virtue signal on behalf of transgender people, even though he spoke out in the past against gay marriage.

Also on rt.com ‘Issue of our time’: Biden tries to win over transgender community with a tweet while Sanders deals with Rogan endorsement fallout

In any event, attacking a candidate’s supporters is low-hanging fruit for indolent journalists who are sending the message that Sanders, who boasts some nine million followers on Twitter alone, should somehow be able to control the individual send buttons of his many supporters. That is, of course, ridiculous. The fierce criticism being hurled at Sanders and his team, however, goes much deeper than just some mindless fools talking trash on social media. The media smears are symptomatic of what is essentially an ideological struggle inside of the Democratic Party.

Democrats feel the socialist Bern

In 2016, following his failure to win the Democratic nomination, pundits were quick to consign Sanders to the graveyard of political has-beens. Now they are grappling with the realization that not only may the die-hard progressive be the last hope for denying Trump another term, but he is also serving as a lightning rod for rallying the radical progressive fringe inside of the Democratic Party. For the veteran Democrats – the Pelosis, Schumers, Nadlers and Schiffs – this presents a direct threat, both to their grip on power and the future of the Democratic Party.

The face of the Democrats’ progressive left is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who in 2018 became one of the first female members of the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the US, which has witnessed since 2016 a surge in membership following the election of Donald Trump. Despite being a congressional freshman, Ocasio-Cortez, together with three other relatively young women of color (Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, collectively known as ‘The Squad’), has publicly clashed with veteran party leaders over a number of issues. At the same time, they are advocating aggressively on new policy plans encompassed by the so-called Green New Deal, which aims to tackle climate change and economic inequality.

In the event that Bernie Sanders emerges victorious against Trump in November, it would be hard to overestimate the massive Category-5 changes that would occur inside of the Democratic Party. Because ‘The Squad’ has hitched its star to Sanders’s rickety wagon, there exists an energized coalition to forward the democratic socialist’s aggressive agenda that includes, among other things, cancelling student tuition debt and providing free healthcare for all, while reducing America’s military footprint around the world. In America, that is about as close to communism as you can get.

Considering how American politicians on both sides are massively indebted to their lobbyist paymasters, few have the freedom to sign up to such radical proposals even if they wanted to. Thus, without admitting to their subservience, the Democratic elite say their fear of a Sanders presidency has nothing to do with his mega-progressive agenda. Rather, they say, Bernie would stand no chance of defeating Trump.

Bernie Sanders is a fragile candidate,wrote David Frum in the Atlantic, in an article tersely entitled ‘Bernie Can’t Win’. “He has never fought a race in which he had to face serious personal scrutiny. None of his Democratic rivals [are] subjecting him to such scrutiny in 2020.”

Also on rt.com The media hates Joe Rogan because they don’t understand him

Are Frum and other Democratic apologists correct? Will Trump, the ultimate capitalist, eat Sanders for lunch in November before asking for seconds? Or is Frum downplaying the reality, which is that America is totally prepared for a socialist future?

Can Sanders dethrone Trump?

Although Bernie Sanders talks a big game about social equality, redistributing the wealth and all that, he is in fact the epitome of the so-called “limousine liberal.” In 2016, perhaps as a consolation prize for his campaign loss, he forked out over $575,000 on a lake-front home in Vermont. He also owns a row house in Washington DC, and another in his home state. His personal wealth is estimated in the millions. Thus far, his extravagant lifestyle has not hurt his socialist message, but Trump will certainly not waste the opportunity to mock it.

Another reason Sanders would struggle against Trump is that the US economy is roaring, at least on paper. While many of the biggest gains are being consumed, as usual, by the wolves on Wall Street, it is undeniable that the US economy has been on a roll ever since Trump entered office. How much of that is attributable to the Obama years is a matter of debate, but unemployment under Trump is down, and wages are up, while the stock market continues smashing new records. In other words, what can a democratic socialist really offer the American people at this point? Sanders’s socialist message would have been tailor-made for addressing the post-2008 financial crisis, for example, but at a time when the economy is speeding along on cruise control Americans will have trouble trading in their entrenched capitalist values for socialist ones.

It should not be forgotten that there are few words more grating to American ears than ‘socialism.’ Although public opinion is gradually changing in favor of greater government involvement to address the country’s long list of social ills, Trump will take great pleasure in connecting Sanders to the radical progressives of the Squad – otherwise known as the 'Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse.'

Also on rt.com Paging pot, this is kettle: ‘Nobody likes him,’ Hillary Clinton says of ‘divisive’ Bernie Sanders

At present, the Republicans can afford a hearty chuckle at the expense of the Democratic Party’s radical progressive fringe, and even shrug at the prospect of an election fight against Bernie Sanders. But how long the laughs will continue is another question. Trump and the Democrats seem to share a common enemy, and that is the fledgling outgrowth of socialism in the most cutthroat capitalist country on earth.

How will the Democrats address the ‘problem’ of a democratic socialist shaking up their ranks? Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised by the last-minute inclusion of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic contest. At this point in the game, the Democrats have absolutely nothing to lose, aside from the likely prospect of Bernie refusing to declare his support for the Democratic matriarch for a second time. 


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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.