When in 1992 Queen Elizabeth had been asked how she felt after Windsor Castle had suffered a severe fire gutting 100 rooms, she responded, “Awkward.”
Moderate Democrats and recovering progressives likely consider Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders’ primary losses to former Vice President Joe Biden a propitious sign. Many Democrats are silently wishing Sanders will have the good grace to slink off silently into obscurity after he had been decisively rejected by voters. The association of the party of President John Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt with Sanders’ batty socialist ideas has been awkward. And why, friends of the Democrat Party are now asking, should Sanders cast a shadow over Biden’s presidential prospects when every Democrat’s nightmare, President Donald Trump, is waiting in the wings for four more years?
Super Tuesday washed most of the lesser Democrat presidential aspirants out of the primary race. Licking his wounds after primary losses in Missouri, Idaho Mississippi and, most importantly, Michigan – supposedly Sanders’ San Juan Hill – Sanders addressed reporters in Burlington, Vermont. He acknowledged he was “trailing badly in the race to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination before the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee,” according to an Associated Press (AP) account.
Teasingly, Sanders added, “While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability. That is what millions of Democrats and independents today believe.” Sanders and his clamorous supporters still believe he has a better chance of wrestling Trump to the ground in a general election race: “Trump must be defeated, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens. On Sunday night, in the first one-on-one debate of this campaign, the American people will have the opportunity to see which candidate is best positioned to accomplish that.”
Sanders’ message to the Democrat Party establishment is that his socialist programs appeal to young people supporting his candidacy: “Today, I say to the Democratic establishment, in order to win in the future, you need to win the voters who represent the future of our country. And you must speak to the issues of concern to them. You cannot simply be satisfied by winning the votes of people who are older.”
The AP notes, “Sanders has indeed been widely favored over Biden by voters under 30, but he has not delivered on his strategy of getting them to the polls in great numbers, according to AP VoteCast surveys of voters in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries. Also problematic for him: Sanders showed no overwhelming strength with voters age 30 to 44, typically a larger share of the vote than the young, in Michigan and Missouri.”
Moderate and liberal, as opposed to socialist, Democrat voters obviously have not been persuaded by Sanders’ extreme leftist ideological prescriptions, and many traditional Democrat politicians tend to disagree with Sanders’ leftist spiel -- when they are not fishing in progressive ponds to pull in leftist votes. It is one thing for U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal to appear with a socialist leper on a public platform during a primary, quite a different thing to embrace the leper by endorsing him. Biden’s ascendancy among a majority of Democrat voters show that Sanders has lost the ideological argument, while it still may be an open question whether he or former Vice President Joe Biden are better able to defeat Trump in a general election, assuming Trump is not defeated by the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak first.
Democrats have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Trump before and since he had been sworn in as President nearly four years ago, yet Trump, though embattled, remains unbowed. Can a microbe do what prominent impeachers such as Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators, Blumenthal and Chris Murphy -- not to mention a Democrat dominated U.S. House that provided a bill of impeachment rejected by the Republican dominated U.S. Senate -- failed to do?
There are Democrats who believe that Sanders never wanted to be president. His ideological path, increasingly rejected by Democrat voters, will not lead to the White House. But Sanders is a booster rocket for destructive socialist policies in the US. He views himself as an ideological precursor to some future, transformist, socialist autodidact, and as such his self-removal from the Democrat primaries appears less and less likely. Sanders cannot defer and cultivate the far left extremist wing of the Democrat Party. He is now in a position to press his ideological points to the bitter end.