The 2020 Democratic primaries were disappointing for progressives. There was a week or two of genuine excitement, but that was it. Super Tuesday on March 3 took the steam of Bernie’s campaign, and in effect the progressive movement.
Bernie’s endorsement of Biden also seems to have come without any sort of policy concessions being extracted (we can only speculate at this point as Senator Sanders may have received some sort of concession in private conversations with the ‘presumptive’ nominee).
So is the progressive movement dead?
Ideas don’t fade, especially those which are approved by a majority of Americans. Poll after poll has shown that progressive ideas remain popular. However, progressive leaders are not trusted to win elections. This the biggest challenge for any progressive who runs for president in the future.
Also Read: Why Do Progressives Lose?
There was another interesting development during the primary cycle which many missed. Everyone expected the DNC establishment and mainstream media to smear the Sanders campaign. Unhinged attacks from people like James Carville and Chris Mathew weren’t as stunning as they were cringe-worthy (and frankly hilarious at times).
A new level of dislike was visible on the faces of elites this time. The elites have always hated Trump, but they feared the election of Bernie Sanders more than four more years of Trump.
What Nominating Joe Biden Says About the Establishment?
Joe Biden, even the version we saw two years ago, could be a decent candidate to pit against Trump (from an establishment perspective). The Joe Biden 2020 Edition is not capable of fighting a nasty campaign against Trump. We are not the only ones who see this. The elites know this as well.
What does it say about people like Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar? Both are smart individuals who see the deterioration of Joe Biden. Surely this is not the shape of a man who can win an election in November. Even if Biden manages to pull off a victory in 2020, is there a way Biden can survive the presidency for four long years? If not, why is the Democratic establishment falling in line for Joe Biden?
There is one possibility. Maybe they don’t care. Perhaps the establishment doesn’t care if former vice president Joe Biden is not mentally equipped for the position. Maybe they don’t care if Biden loses.
Maybe all they care about is keeping Bernie from the nomination.
Why Bernie Scares the Elite?
The elites who have tried to make this a ‘Stop Trump’ election don’t care about beating him. Besides the stupid things Trump says from time to time, he basically operates like a normal Republican president (tax cuts for the wealthy, appointment of conservative judges, gutting social services, and the rest of the Republican shtick). The reason they don’t like Trump is that he makes the world they operate in seem as uncouth and disgusting as it really is.
The one they fear more is Sanders. Unlike Trump, Sanders is not a textbook politician. He will fight for his policy positions from the moment he takes oath for office. He would rein in Wall Street, break up the big banks, make the pharmaceutical industry irrelevant, and take progressive steps in foreign policy.
This scenario scares the elites more. This type of change would end the decadence in our country’s political institutions, and the elites cannot abide by this.
A lesson progressives must carry forward to future elections is to not try and make friends with the media and DNC elite. If they prefer Trump over Sanders, they cannot be won over. Sanders made this mistake in this election cycle. Here’s to the hope that progressives don’t repeat this mistake again.