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If Sanders rolls to the nomination, will there be a Never-Bernie movement? On the one hand, Bernie is an ideological nutball who could lead his party to disaster (or disaster to his country, if he wins) and a number of Democratic campaign pros and elected officials have said so. On the other hand, there are no “strange new respect” MSM prizes from dissident Democrats as there are for RINOs. And Democrats are much better at enforcing party loyalty.
Democrats have traditionally finessed their affinity for socialism, turning the ratchet slowly while giving lip service to the free market and property rights. But now, like Skynet becoming self-aware in The Terminator, the hard left under Bernie wants no more pretense or gradualism. The mask is off.
The great thing about being a socialist is that no matter how badly your programmatic ventures fail, it is never the fault of the ideology that spawned them. The ideology teaches you to double down. And once it becomes clear that a centrally-planned utopia is really a stagnant nightmare, the main task becomes a punishment for anyone who notices. Big Brother is a feature, not a bug. There was never going to be a NeverStalin movement.
So, when The Bern crashes and burns, it is not likely that his party can ever go back to gradual, surreptitious government expansion while feigning fealty to the Constitution and our freedoms. It is likely that, like their Corbynista or Chavista counterparts, Bernie Bros will always be incapable of requisite self-examination. It will be the fault of evil, ignorant opposition or that the great Marxist wheel of history is just turning a tad slower than expected. The last vestige or variant of the old, largely successful Democratic Party political coalition first forged in 1932 will be gone.
If there is a Never-Bernie movement it will likely have to be a third party to survive. United with the remaining many dozens of NeverTrump Republicans, they could resurrect the old John Anderson coalition or something like the Alliance-SDP of the UK. The party would stand for the proposition that they are smarter than you are, that the Reaganesque rubes on the right and Bernie commies on the left should just shut up and let clever deep state people run things without tiresome oversight or accountability from lesser types. Probably not a winning coalition even with Kristol and Rubin writing its manifestos.
But a major American political party is never down forever. The secret weapon of both Democrats and Republicans is that their opposition is invariably a bunch of idiots. Don’t get cocky, conservatives, as Glenn Reynolds is fond of saying.Published in