Look, I know people aren’t going to be happy about this, but I’m not feeling it where Bernie Sanders is concerned.
I like Sanders, really I do, I’m glad he’s in the Senate. I’m glad he goes on and on about “billionaires” and such. But he seems way out of his league where presidential politics is concerned. And while the stuff he says shows that we agree on what’s wrong, it just smacks too much of him telling progressives what they want to hear. None of it is grounded in reality, in the reality of what a president can actually get accomplished. Have people been asleep for the past 8 years?
I spent some time going through his January Twitter feed. Mostly it’s him railing against Wall Street and such, serving as a progressive cheerleader: “We will no longer tolerate an economic and political system that has been rigged by Wall Street to benefit the wealthiest Americans.” That’s fine, every candidate needs their fist-pumping moment. Rally the troops, etc.
But then there’s some stuff that’s just undiluted, Trump-like bombast. It’s, “I’m gonna wave my magic wand and change will just happen by virtue of my awesomeness!” Dude, that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works!
None of these are things a president can actually do. Surely he knows that his Supreme Court nominee, assuming they get confirmed, can’t just magically undo Citizens United, right?
How can anybody take this guy seriously? Jamelle Bouie at Slate tried. Bouie took Sanders’ “revolution” rhetoric at face value and concluded that it will take more than that for Sanders to accomplish any of the stuff he says he wants to do.
Let’s set aside reality and pretend for a moment that Bernie Sanders wins the White House. As Bouie notes,
…the world where a self-described socialist wins the presidency is a world of tremendous political change, where untapped and new voters flood the polls to lift Sanders—and his Democratic fellow travelers—to victory.
But even if thousands of new people show up to vote on election day and lift Sanders to an unprecedented win, that doesn’t change a gerrymandered House, it doesn’t change partisanship, it doesn’t change the country’s ideological divide or the Republican Party’s intransigence, it doesn’t change the Tea Party’s existence, it doesn’t change any of that. The idea that by merely electing Bernie Sanders (and down-ticket Dems) we’ve created the change that will usher in the progressive agenda is just such horseshit.
Please don’t tell me that it’s going to be different this time, that Bernie Sanders is a transformative candidate who brings all of these new people into the process, the “millennials” and such. Yeah, those same millennials who can’t be bothered to vote, ever, until we invent a cool app for them. Look, that’s what we said about Barack Obama. And yes, Obama got elected — twice! — and we also lost the House, the Senate, a whole bunch of state legislatures, and saw the rise of the Tea Party.
So I just can’t take this shit seriously. I’m a pragmatist and a realist. I don’t have time for fairy dust and magic wands.