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Supporting Bernie Sanders is a Mistake, No Matter Your Reason

Supporting Bernie Sanders is a Mistake, No Matter Your Reason

by D.J. McGuire

I’ve said relatively little about the party I joined in the aftermath of Trump’s election victory — besides warning the Virginia branch not to get too complacent about recent election victories. The Trumpster fire that is the Republican Party has, for what I think are understandable reasons, dominated my attention.

That doesn’t change the fact that the Democrats are in danger of making a very serious mistake in whom we nominate for president. Bernie Sanders, should he be nominated, wouldn’t just be the least likely Democrat among the viable field to win in November; his Administration risks enabling the Trumpified GOP for decades — even as he, Sanders, advances much of Trump’s agenda.

I will not spend much bandwith insisting Sanders “can’t win,” because I’m not sure of that. His path to victory is very narrow (Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — while giving up any chance of Arizona, North Carolina, or Florida) while requiring the party to play defense in states that have been moving its way (Colorado, Virginia, and possibly even New Mexico and Minnesota), but not impossible. What is being ignored — ironically, because so few pundits think Sanders can beat Trump — is what would happen if he does.

For starters, voters looking for a dramatic departure from the Trump Administration would find — to their chagrin — that they won’t get one. On some of the major issues America faces in the world, Sanders and Trump are in agreement.

They both support — and, indeed, personify — the rise in isolationism that is exceedingly dangerous to America. The revulsion felt by many Americans at Sanders’ potential nomination will be shared by our allies at his potential election.

Indeed, a Trump-Sanders race by its very existence is likely to weaken NATO and our other democratic alliances, to say nothing of our partners in the fights against the Taliban and against Daesh. The lesson of 2016 — namely, that leaving Russia to its own devices means allowing them to attack our elections as well as our interests around the world — will be lost. Our allies will take note, and further distance themselves from us.

There are similar problems on international trade. To some extent, the rest of world has been holding its breath, trying to see if America’s protectionist turn is permanent or not. A Sanders nomination would make than an unequivocal “yes” — and they will act accordingly. Tens of millions of Americans who also support freer trade will be effectively silenced, but the biggest problem is that a failed and backward economic theory will be validated without even so much as an argument.

Meanwhile, the Trumpenproletariat will simply bank the policy victories and go all-in on outrage caused by their differences with a Sanders Administration — one whose re-election chances are nearly zero. Whether you subscribe to the Bitecofer Theory (Politico) about negative partisanship dominating the electorate, or look to economics (where a long-delayed recession is almost certain to hit in the early 20s), the Republican nominee for president in 2024 will be in a very competitive position.

Who would that nominee be is less important than what the Republican electorate wants of them. Trump has exposed a dangerously wide authoritarian streak within the GOP. No 2024 nominee can ignore it. More likely, they will embrace it. Even assuming Trump himself doesn’t attempt a rematch, he could put forth one of his children as his successor. Ironically, that may be the best case scenario, as neither Junior nor Ivanka has the dark genius of Josh Hawley or Tom Cotton.

Either way, Republicans in 2024 will be able to run against a president who promised the moon and delivered only what Mitch McConnell would let him – namely, zilch. All the while the damage Trump has done to our international standing would continue, because the policies that created the damage would be continued.

Democrats still have numerous options before them in 2020: Barack Obama’s Vice President, a youthful mayor untainted by Washington, a moderate Senator from the Upper Midwest, a successful Mayor of New York City, and a policy wunderkind. They have their weaknesses, too, to be sure, but all of them would be a better general election candidate than Sanders.

More importantly, all of them would make a better president than Sanders.

D.J. McGuire – a self-described progressive conservative – has been part of the More Perfect Union Podcast since 2015. He is also a contributor to Bearing Drift.

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8 comments on Supporting Bernie Sanders is a Mistake, No Matter Your Reason

  1. george lewis says:

    How many of you know the saying “repeatedly doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result, but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity”? Isn’t that what we have been doing as a nation, for years. We vote for democrats because the republicans are far worse. Only dumbasses vote republican, unless you are rich. However the rich own both sides, republican and democrat politicians have been selling us out, year after year. Now finally! We have a chance to elect somebody that wants to work for “we the people” and nay sayers are saying it cant be done ! We never would have been a free nation because the nay sayers said nobody could defeat England. We did it ! Now the old powers seek to retain their hold on both of our parties, as usual. Now is the time we need to do something different, because doing the same thing that we have done in the past is leading the working class and poor to a dungeon. Please vote for Bernie ! He has the ideas and he has the right heart and experience for the job !

  2. Christopher Stewart says:

    Any other Dem nominee but Senator Sanders, and I’ll be donating and volunteering for the Greens. Again.

    Your neolibs and their mythology of unlimited growth sell us deferred taxation deficits year after year. When that bill comes due, which it most certainly will in this generation, it’s going to be all the pain of socialism with none of the benefits.

  3. Jeff says:

    Sanders is so far from being like trump take this crapp off their this is fake news

  4. Jasper says:

    You realize that the “failed and backwards” economic system you described is implemented in America already and gets implemented to save us economically every time the predominant economic system fails, as it is SUPPOSED to by design, right?

    Of course you don’t. If you actually researched socialism, you wouldn’t be here arguing what you are.

  5. Judith says:

    Sanders is in no way like Don. Bernie has a heart and soul and is on the side of the ordinary American. He has no plans to use or manipulate them. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

  6. Micki Pease says:

    Well, that’s assuming Moscow Mitch wins re-election. I know he probably will, but I deeply hope and wish he doesn’t. I dislike Mitch more then Trump and believe that Mitch is really more powerful and corrupt. He deserves to be hit by a comet, run over by a truck with spikes on its wheels , dipped in acid and covered in fire ants. Twice!

  7. Stephen Gossman says:

    Total hog wash. You center of the road Democrats are trying to keep us going down that same road that we have for the last fifty years with the only people getting ahead are the very rich and corporations. The average American has paid for this year after year. If you want to make improvements for all Americans steer this country a little to the left.

  8. Hmm, interesting, but Bernie is no America-first isolationist, albeit our allies may suffer some anxiety over whether he will be willing to commit to military action when necessary. Nor does the old socialist’s position on NAFTA equate to Trump’s.

    You’re likely right about Sanders being a one-term prez though, whether he lives through his first term or not–if he makes it into the Oval Office in the first place. The greatest probability of any parallel to Trump will likely emerge over his attempts to use his office to force through his agenda.

    If he does more than point his finger and kvetch about not getting his way, threats of government shut-downs will likely be a fixture in his budget battles. And he has demonstrated no inhibitions about singling out any Dem who doesn’t side with him, which was not a potential problem while he was an obscure Senator from VT. The bully pulpit will amplify his kvetching, and he has a record of careless disregard for the politics that mandate the positions taken by moderate progressives, regardless of whether they represent swing states or red states.

    He may not sound the death knell for the advancement of progressive policy, but he will send it to the ICU for another decade–whether he wins or loses.

    BTW–He is right about the course taken by our military adventures in the Middle East. I opposed them for the same reasons, and other reasons he has not mentioned. We could side with populist revolutionaries, as we did in Lybia and Syria, with little backlash, but that has its own set of drawbacks.

    The power vacuum in Lybia at least does little to heighten resentment to the US, but it creates a unique set of problems. Backing the Kurds in the conflict in Syria complicated our relationship with Turkey, but handling that diplomatically should have been possible. Unfortunately, Trumplomacy only soothed over the rift by betraying the Kurds, and Russia’s takeover of the Crimean Penninsula now facilitates their force projection into the Mediterranean.

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