Saturday, March 7, 2020

Why Bernie Scares Me

There is certainly no more idiotic example of both siderism than the claim, heard from Republicans and a significant part of the mainstream press, that Bernie Sanders is the left wing Trump.  Sanders is a principled man who has taken reasoned positions on the issues and stood by them for years, and Trump is nothing but a criminal.  Still, there may be a similarity, pointed out by Paul Krugman in a tweet this week, about why Sanders has succeeded while the more qualified Elizabeth Warren did not:

"And it didn't win over the Bernistas anyway, because they're only partly about progressive policy; they want someone who channels their sense of grievance. Warren wasn't their type precisely because of the thoughtfulness that attracted her supporters"

And there is the story.  Bernie is not just about the issues, he is about chanelling his followers' anger and sense of grievance, and in that respect, he is indeed like Trump, who built his whole appeal around anger and grievance.

And we should have learned from Trump what a  malign thing it can be to create such an enraged base, whose emotions inevitably overwhelm any sense they had.  This toleration of the lower instincts of his voters is what enabled him to move past Warren, but it is just as unforgivable a thing to do as it was for Trump to have done it.  If both sides in this country give in to hatred and anger, we really are doomed, and as far as I can see, Bernie is willing to unleash that genie if it gets him what he wants.

I find myself thinking the inconceivable the last couple of days.  Biden would be, I think, the most lame President in American history, but I have had the notion that maybe I would prefer him to Bernie and his army of angry intolerance.


KanaW said...

Thank you for this. I hadn't thought about it that way, but I do believe you're correct. The fanaticism of both their supporters is apparent once noticed. And that's probably why Warren didn't get support - she's too wonky for them. Someone who has ideas and ways to back them up isn't nearly as exciting as someone who has ideas and taps into the lizard-brain.

I don't think Biden will be bad, especially if he builds a good cabinet and advisers, which I trust him more to do than the others. I also think that if we have a more progressive Congress, that he'll be willing to sign many more progressive bills if they're sent to his desk.

Poll P. said...

I think you are right.

Anonymous said...

Good analysis. If I survive the coronavirus, I don't know how I'll survive another four years of hatred and rage from either side.

Jack Vance said...

I agree. I never thought I'd end up "ridin' with Biden," but here I am. I won't pretend to be happy about it, but I now believe he's the best choice remaining.

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