Let it be told that Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic Primary not on Super Tuesday, but shortly after his victory in Nevada. For it was at that time that The Bern committed two needless, imbecilic own goals.
First, Sanders hectored both AIPAC and Israel’s PM Netanyahu, calling both the conference and the PM “racist”. Usually, “racist” is an epitaph reserved for, well, actual racists, like David Duke. This was no doubt a delight to to the cadre of Islamic supremacist anti-Semites such as Linda Sarsour and Reps. Omar & Tlaib that the Bern Out has surrounded himself with, who know a good dhimmi when they encounter one. For the the preponderence of American Jews, and one suspects “swing” suburban women, calling a conference that all of Bernos fellow candidates attended (save The Liz) one way or another, is absurd and obnoxious, even if many may not like Bibi himself.
El Bern followed that up by cheerleading Castro’s Cuban literacy program in a 60 Minutes interview. True, he made an obligatory ho hum denouncement of the whole authoritarian thing, but that clearly was not where his joy was. For many Cubans, that small matter of the dictatorship aspect of Castro’s Cuba makes celebrating its literacy akin to enjoying the punctuality of Mousslini’s train service.
Having stuck his thumb in the eye of broad swaths of Jews, Cubans and other latinos, Berning Man not just lowered his chances of winning Florida in the General, he took Florida off the map. One suspects, this was the “oh shit” moment that finally coalesced the Moderates around Uncle Joe.
Berns burn out was avoidable.
With AIPAC, Bernie could have sent in a milquetoast taped address and gone on with his “proud to be Jewish” (as a “good Jew” of course, not an uppity Zionist one) subterfuge or just said nothing and skipped it. The Castro bit was a more complicated gotcha, but Bernt could have said that the positive of literacy programs he mentioned in the 80s in no way excuses the horrors of dictatorship.
Instead, Bernmetheus doubled down on rhetoric that did nothing to expand his base while pre-emptively losing a bell weather swing state.
Why would a professional politician make such a blunder?
During this crucial stretch, the New York Times produced a fascinating overview of “The Dirt Bag” left, Ur-Bernie Bros that have a popular, pugnacious “teabagger for the left” (Thus Dirt Bag), podcast and road show hosted by a fivesome called the “Chapo Trap House”.
“During the three-hour show, there is little vision laid out for what they want, beyond a Sanders presidency. There is a vision for what they want destroyed and how good it will feel to do that. The idea of actually taking power is terrifying, and they say so.
“’What’s scary is the idea that this could end,’” Mr. Biederman said. “What’s scary is we’re not just tossing catharsis into the void, that this is something real. We are there.’”
Of course winning is horrifying! The Chapos make a combined 168K per month just from their podcast. Assuming that is their only revenue stream (which seems unlikely) then they are raking in north of 2M per year. Split five ways, that’s 400K apiece. Unless MC Hammer is managing their finances, almost assuredly the Chapos are all ‘mill-yon-aaahrs’, as is Bernito himself.
That is the ultimate tasty irony of Bernie Sanders and his most stout Sandernistas: They Are Businessmen! Like any good Capitalists that have built a strong brand, they are ferocious in defense of that brand. The Bernie Brand is one of uncompromising purity as a perch to heckle impure moderates and rage against systematic establishments and lambaste a “billionaire class” (that apparently includes almost every black person in the deep south) to be “Anti” to, while promising grande and even laudable ideas that have no chance of becoming law. Ah, but that’s where the true sizzle of Brand Bernie pops off of the steak: You see, the grand strategems will all come to pass once the the revolution arrives in the form of million upon millions upon millions of new, mostly younger, voters. The Bernvoluton, like all revolutions, shall be pure!!!!
As an electoral strategy, The Youth Vote is dubious. Young people passionate about politics is a wondrous thing. They fill rallies, knock on doors, persuade peers, contribute beer money, and invigorate by their presence. They just don’t vote. In 2008 Barak Obama, a once in a generation political talent running at the perfect moment, increased the youth vote by about 10% comparable to 2004, or ~2.3 million votes. That’s a lot, but Democrats actually won back the gerrymandered House in 2018 by winning moderate suburban women. Bernie is an effective and inspirational leader. He truly does have a powerful brand. But Bernie Sanders, you’re no BHO.
Still, the revolution that never arrives is the perfect Ghost in the Machine for Brand Bernie. It allows all of the outrageous promises, it makes it unnecessary to be diplomatic towards AIPAC (Abu Mazen is apparently the only billionaire Bernie likes) or forcibly denounce Castro or do any of the frustrating (and grossly impure work) of actually succeeding and getting anything accomplished. And then, when the revolution does not arrive all that is needed is to warm over some Gramsci theorizing about how elite bourgeoise institutions thwarted the revolution by controlling mass culture, and then go back to sneering at liberals, heckling moderates, fulminating against Israel, snarking the impure, being bitter about rigged establishments, and all of the other simplistic drivel that stands in the place of actually doing the grim work of moving the ball forward on issues you purport to be passionate about.
Indeed, a 40 state loss in The General would be the best outcome possible for the Bernie Brand. Just think of the power structures to blame, the legions of petit bourgeoises that were fooled and can be mocked, and oh the glorious dreams of what could have been if only.
For the USA of course, untethered President Great Pumpkin and a Republican House, Senate and Supreme Court would be a nightmare. But Businessman Bernie and his Capitalist Bros will be laughing all the way to the Credit Union.