February 5, 2016

Bernie-Mania and Reality

Bernie-Mania reminds me of the excitement over Eugene McCarthy in 1968. From that, and from McGovern later, I learned that excitement don't get the cows milked. The country paid an extremely high price for Nixon, both domestic and foreign. And those defeats (1968 and 1972) may have caused many people to back away from activism for the rest of their lives.
     Bernie's "insistence on fairness" is fine rhetoric -- even necessary rhetoric at this time in our Second (Third?) Gilded Age -- but I firmly believe that his calls for "revolution" are a pipe dream. I believe he is living in a bubble, where he fancies that he represents a "silent majority" that agrees with him entirely. My reading of the American public is that they are far more centrist than the Bernie Bros. We have not yet reached the tipping point where Bernie's vision can become a reality, not least because he cannot and would not have a Congressional majority.
     Democratic candidates for President must develop specific, feasible plans to establish Democratic majorities in Congress and in State governments. Democratic voters do NOT show up for off-year elections, which gives the GOP control of the states, and thus control of decennial gerrymandering. (The Obama team focused so hard on Obamacare that they first failed to sell it to the public, and then neglected the 2010 elections entirely. Disastrous for them and -- in my view-- for us.) Those facts are as much at the root of our problem as the campaign finance issues that Bernie harps on.

In a recent speech, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the following:
"When voices in the Conservative movement demand things that they know we can't achieve with a Democrat in the White House, all that does is depress our base and in turn help Democrats stay in the White House. We can't do that anymore."

I would say:
"When voices in the Progressive movement demand things that they know we can't achieve with a Republican Congress, all that does is depress our base and in turn help Republicans stay in command of the Congress and the States. We can't do that anymore."

This is why I look on Bernie-Mania with a jaundiced eye. If there is to be a revolution, it cannot take place only at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Here's Barney Frank on why Bernie is antagonizing Congress-people, even on the left:

And here's former Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin on Bernie's indifference to gender-equality issues: