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The Democrats have unleashed a nuclear bomb meant to destroy their Public Enemy Number 1, Trump, but instead realized – possibly too late — that the plan is backfiring. Bernie Sanders was given free rein to energize the base for a turnout centered on defeating, as he put it following the New Hampshire primary, “the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.”
But after eight years of building a coalition around former President Obama then ceding ground to the democratic socialists to counter Trump, does the Democrat establishment run the risk of blowing up its own party because of the mad ravings of a far-left radical?
During the eight years of the Obama administration, the left got what it wanted: a president who ushered in a new-wave urbane air. Barack Obama appealed to political class elites who are more interested in rubbing tuxedo-clothed, globalist elbows than the plight of the working class. At the same time, he exuded a hip vibe and baller attitude to attain hero-worship status from Hollywood celebrities and Brooklyn hipsters.
With the help of a compliant media, he was successful at straddling the line separating the Democratic Party establishment and the new radicals. Repeat something enough in Television Land, whether by “journalists” or political sycophants, it must be true, and so we have the Obama myth of a scandal-free administration, a healing of racial divides, and an America that was welcomed with open, loving arms by sophisticated world leaders.
The election of President Trump played an important role in exposing these undisputed “truths” as nothing more than a high-gloss finish without substance. Joe Biden is the last heir to the Obama legacy, and he’s the perfect fit: not much behind the flashy smile and word-salad speeches.
Perhaps “No Malarkey Joe” was banking on his BFF Barack (they do have matching bracelets!) to lend him his coattails, then combine it with a narrative that his experience, moderation, and appeal to the working class would allow him to coast through the primaries. What he didn’t anticipate was the consequences of the Democrats’ indulging in a move ever-leftward, led by Bernie Sanders. The Democrats used Bernie to signal their commitment to get Trump out of office. They knew from the fiasco during the 2016 election run-up he was a spoiler and a divider, but in the era of #Resist, he was a useful tool to wield – until he wasn’t.
Like the nuclear warheads headed straight for Russia in Dr. Strangelove, the Establishment Democrats sitting in the War Room thought they could just enter in the recall codes, and Bernie would end his mission, being a useful deterrent to the enemy. His part was to strike fear by bringing the party to the brink of the progressive war but not cross it. Except the establishment lost the codes. Bernie is hardwired for his own mission and has the momentum of the young and hip and radical on his side. And his believers don’t care who the DNC or the party elites think has the moderate appeal to overtake Trump in a general election. Theirs is a mission of destruction at any cost; collateral damage is a necessary aftereffect.
Bernie surrounds himself with what has long been the trademark of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party: a shot of youthful vigor and idealism aimed at the Establishment in order to replace it. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Linda Sarsour embody the movement. So too the celebrities disproportionately drawn to emotional rage causes. Cynthia Nixon of “Sex in the City” fame and her own failed attempt at the New York City mayoralty said Bernie “changed the terrain and the conversation” of the country. He certainly has. Where once socialism was a term from which Democrats shied away, Bernie made it into a t-shirt. (And would probably sell it for campaign cash – yay capitalism!)
Once the bomb-doors were opened, Bernie never looked back; he uses the socialist moniker as his badge of honor. Far past the simple goal of defeating Trump, Bernie wants to drop his payload on the very foundations of American institutions that make us a free country. Replacing all private health insurance with government plans, banning fracking and oil exploration, decriminalizing illegal immigration and advocating for open borders, giving free healthcare to illegal immigrants, eliminating ICE, free college, erasing college debt, etc. Why honeymoon in Soviet Russia when you can bring Soviet Russia to our own shores?
While the Democratic Establishment was doing all it could do to win in order to retain its Obama-era glory and power, the Bernie nuclear bomb went rogue. While the sights were set on Trump, Bernie had his sights on becoming the leader of a new progressive movement. The Democrats went with him too long in the hopes of capturing the support of his followers while keeping a moderate off-ramp available to use in the general election. But Bernie burned that bridge leaving establishment candidate Joe Biden spinning his wheels and hoping a good showing in South Carolina would put him back in the fight and defuse the bomb that could blow up the party he helped build.
But I’m not going to worry about Bernie just yet. I still think his ideas are the antithesis to the great American experiment and primary season has just begun. The Democrat primaries are meant to pick a candidate who would best defeat Trump, but are evolving into a fight for the very survival of the Democratic Party as we know it. I’m not saying it’s impossible that Bernie could win the nomination – Donald Trump defied conventional wisdom in 2016 – but I never underestimate Democrats in power to use the threat of mutually assured destruction to keep that power. For those of us bearing witness to the war, we’re stuck with our popcorn while we wait to see if anyone on the left can take a stand against the radical left, or if they feel the burn of the Bernie bomb that will surely change the political landscape of America going forward.Published in