It appears as if the Bernie revolution in the Democrat Party has been confronted by the Establishment and the dictators within the party have won the day. After losses in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois on March 17th, coupled with losing 10 of 14 states on Super Tuesday, it has been reported that Sanders is “assessing” things. Of course, there will be pockets of resistance to be mopped up by the Democrat establishment. The revolution did manage a minor skirmish win in Illinois when a more socialist Democrat defeated Dan Lipinski in his primary for reelection. In effect, Illinois’ Third Congressional District went harder Left in 2020 (the district encompasses the southwest part of Chicago).
There may be other targets out there. Rumor has it that the face of the Democrat socialist resistance- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez- is not exactly well-liked by the establishment in DC or New York. Some are suggesting that come redistricting time, her district will be eliminated and drawn into unfriendly territory. Before then, she faces some competition within her party, and although it may be a huge leap, there are even Republicans running in NY-14- daring to go where no Republican has seriously gone before. Most likely, the Squad should be laying low right about now since their god-hero, Bernie, has essentially been taken out. They too might have huge targets on their backs should they step out of line. AOC recently tweeted a sort-of surrender suggesting that everyone should “support the Democrat nominee” whoever it was. Good girl!
As for the rest of the Squad, well Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) is too busy worrying about hair loss, Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is thinking up the next anti-Semitic comment to stay relevant, and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is preoccupied funneling campaign funds to her new husband’s firm. Thankfully, her latest husband is not her brother.
So why did the Bernie revolution peter out? It certainly was not for lack of enthusiasm. After all, he had the Squad and the Bernie Bros behind him. They are a passionate lot. But perhaps, at the end of the day, they simply had an outsized voice compared to their numbers. That is, they were great at hooting and hollering, but sucked at retail politics and actually casting a ballot.
We are seeing in 2020 what we saw in 2016 with the Democrats. An unabashed socialist emerges from the wilds of Vermont to lead a revolutionary charge only to run with his tail between his legs when he came up against the Democrat establishment. Those super-delegates that handed the nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016 were neutered in name only, but they are all mostly still there. Knowing his enemy better this time around, Sanders went down to cowering defeat. As the leader of a “revolution,” he is no George Washington. His inevitable call for Democrat unity to defeat Trump in 2020 will put him more in the company of a Benedict Arnold.
What we saw in 2016 and what we see in 2020 is the antithesis of events in the Republican Party. The 2016 Republican nomination process was the most bizarre and unorthodox campaigns this writer has ever witnessed. One could say it was “revolutionary.” Emerging as the leader of the revolution- begrudgingly so on the part of the GOP establishment- was the most unlikely of candidates: Donald Trump. The difference between Sanders and Trump in 2016 is that the latter fought to win. It started almost from the beginning when Trump said he would not vow to support the eventual GOP nominee. That was a signal he was in it to win. Of course, the GOP establishment pouted and stomped their feet.
Move ahead four years and it becomes even more obvious that Trump is not only continuing the revolution, he is again to playing to win. His campaign has serious plans to expand the electoral map and is making noise in Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Minnesota- states he lost in 2016. The last time an incumbent Republican was up for reelection is also instructive.
In 2004, when George W. Bush was up for reelection largely uncontested like Trump is in 2020, one cannot recount too many Bush campaign rallies being held. Maybe he was too busy managing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or maybe he just thought (correctly) John Kerry was a joke. Whatever the reason, Trump is leaving nothing to chance. As many political analysts have noted, GOP turnout in support of Trump in primaries and caucuses far exceeds the numbers seen in 2004 when Bush ran for reelection and even rival, or exceed, the numbers seen on the Democrat side when Obama ran uncontested in 2012. These are considered rubber stamps for incumbent Presidents running for reelection, but 2020- on the GOP side- is a rubber boot of support.
Bernie Sanders may have been revolutionary in policy, but not in style. Conversely, Trump has been revolutionary in both aspects. Whether it is his justified running battles with the media, the judiciary, or the regulatory state, Trump has succeeded where no Republican has before: putting the Left and the Democrats on the defensive. It is why they lash out with silly accusations. His policies of remaking the judiciary have been well-noted on these pages. He managed to stick to campaign promises of scrapping NAFTA, pulling out of the Iranian nuclear accords and the Paris Climate Change Agreement. And even though there is currently a spat between China and the US over the coronavirus, he has shown that they are the lying, cheating economic monopoly he claimed in the 2016 campaign. He scaled back government regulations and reformed the tax code. Most importantly, he is perhaps the most pro-life President we have ever had, and that includes Reagan.
Unlike Sanders, who feigns fealty to party unity, Trump has sometimes successfully weeded out the traitors in the revolution. It would be nice to see some wearing orange jumpsuits, but watching them insult Americans and make spurious charges against the man Americans put in the White House on CNN and MSNBC is fodder for further ridicule. Trump has befuddled the Left by taking the Alinsky playbook and turning it back on them.
For many who called or considered themselves “conservative,” Trump has exposed their hypocrisy. They may keep their jobs with newspapers and television outlets that no one really reads or listens to anymore, but they have been neutered like stray dogs at the pound. He showed that their bark was way more than their bite when the chips were down. Some have even wormed their way into the Democrat Party where they belonged all along.
For this writer, the biggest worry is that come 2024, the old GOP is just biding their time and waiting in the wings. They will fall back on the “muh principles” line of thinking and electioneering and guarantee defeat. Whether the next Donald Trump is Mike Pence or Nikki Haley or even someone who has not emerged yet, we do not know. But, it is comforting to know that currently we have someone who will actually fight in word and action to advance a conservative agenda.