I really like Erik Loomis. He’s a brilliant academic and I’ve learned a whole lot about the labor movement from him. But he really annoyed me yesterday with this article, So What Would Happen if Bernie Sanders Won? For one thing, it is part of the genre that I’ve come to despise: “I love Bernie Sanders but…” Give it a rest. If you want to support Clinton or Martin O’Malley, support them! They are both fine candidates. The Democratic Party is truly blessed to have such fine candidates. And out of a dozen and a half Republicans, they can barely find someone who isn’t a bigot.
Erik Loomis begins by noting that the most important thing the president does is make appointments. And Sanders’ grand rhetoric has made Loomis believe that this means that Sanders is as clueless about this as Barack Obama was. Well, maybe. What I think is what I’ve been saying for months: from a practical standpoint, there wouldn’t be much difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years! He does know the system a lot better than Obama did when he came into office. It is presumptuous of Erik Loomis to simply assume (and that’s all he’s doing) that Sanders is going to be lackadaisical about this like Obama was.
But this isn’t Erik Loomis’ big complaint about Sanders. No, the big problem will be that “his base would almost certainly abandon him within a year.” You see, “The left has learned nothing since 2008.” Really?! Was the left all excited about Obama? I don’t remember that. I remember the left thinking that he was a standard variety centrist Democrat — just like Clinton, although mildly more liberal. Actual leftists thought his “hope and change” rhetoric was a joke. They didn’t think or expect much of him and they were fully satisfied.
Now if Loomis wants to say that the whole Democratic base will be disappointed with Sanders, fine. That’s kind of like saying that after a storm, the sun will come out. Everyone is always disappointed with their politicians, because that’s what politics is like. But you will notice that even all those Obama true believers from 2008 still showed up to vote for him in 2012. So liberals will be disappointed with Sanders within a year? And that matters why? Liberals will be disappointed in Clinton on the same time scale. Who cares? This is not an argument for Sanders or Clinton or Donald Trump for that matter.
The truth is that by election day, the Democratic base will be very happy about their candidate — whomever it happens to be. So it is going to take a little time for the base to become discourage. Is it supposed to go something like this? Clinton steps into office, and makes a middle of the road budget deal with the Republics. The entire Democratic base, having such low expectations of her (but still managing to drag themselves out to have elected her) will rise up and cheer, “She’s living up to our low expectations! Hooray!”
As for the almost daily articles that liberals write complaining about Democratic politicians? Well, this is called content creation. It’s an industry. Things that people would have just groused about in private now show up on Huffington Post because God knows nothing more 12 hours old is ever worth reading.
I’m a Sanders supporter. But I have real concerns about him. His association with socialism scares me a bit. His age scares me even more. Yet I will almost certainly vote for him because I think he is the best candidate for the things that I care about. I have no problem with people disagreeing. But the fact that if elected, Sanders will disappoint the Democratic base — just like every other president ever — is stupid.
Do you know what Erik Loomis’ article reminds me of? Something he would just grouse about in private if he didn’t feel that he has to keep the content flowing at Lawyers, Guns, & Money.