I’ve written extensively on this site about America’s failure to have a reconciliation of the Bush years. We have sort of passively endured the fallout and let time pass. We’re to the point where picking at the scabs may inflict its own damage, but the wound is obviously infected. Consider:
• No substantive changes came about after the Bush years except arguably the ACA
• Not only did Jeb Bush have to drop out early despite being arguably one of the two most qualified Republicans in the race, he had to drop out because the leading candidate abused him and his brother’s record as President
• Trump and Sanders are both attempting to entirely reconfigure their parties. Trump is more successful so far, because of or despite his attacks on Bush
The problem is that people have become so enthralled with Presidential politics that they don’t realize that it is no forum for a revolution, at least not by itself. You need the presidency, but you also need a Congress that supports the agenda. Electing a revolutionary president isn’t what our constitution has in mind for better or worse.
Neither Trump nor Sanders will be able to deliver on their promises or meaningfully reshape politics in their favor under our system of government.
Revolutionaries in this country are largely lazy.
They are repeatedly trying to shoot the moon by winning a Presidential election (Nader, Kucinich, the imagined Howard Dean, the imagined Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and now Bernie Sanders) which is both extremely unlikely and almost entirely useless on its own.
In order to meaningfully change politics, you need a party that can compete in every congressional district, every senate election, and that can also tell a compelling narrative of their vision while moving in that direction, leading the public, but not lapping it. You need to remove interference from the Supreme Court. And then you need to repeat this at the state and local levels.
This is a long, hard slog and it is one that Democratic presidents have been trying to bring about for decades, only to have their efforts dismissed by impatient revolutionaries. Once that effort bore fruit with the Congressional zenith of the Democrats in 2009, the passing of a once in a generation piece of reform legislation left everyone cold (except the millions of newly insured…)
Now there is a once in a generation chance to change the direction of the Supreme Court and get it out of the way. Because that is a precondition of a revolution, it should be handled first.
The myopia of the revolutionaries also sounds in their issues. Other than climate change, which is an issue that isn’t going to go away, chances are that the economy will heat up, at least for a while, and take some of the pressure off of this issue. There are worrying signs that decades of decreasing crime is at best hitting a dead-cat bounce, at worst on the upswing. This will change the conversation about criminal justice reform. If this issues persist, then they will create more energy. But the demand that these issues trump climate change or anything else is just more of this impatience. Get in line.
If the revolutionaries were ready to work and endure, by the time their work was completed no one would even sense there was a revolution. Think of the persistent, steady, patient labors of the gay marriage movement. It took 20+ years. It worked. And when the Supreme Court finally went their way, no one was surprised in the slightest.