What is needed, I think, is a retreat from endless parsing of The Data and a little common sense. Bernie Sanders has been for years the most left-wing member of the Senate, from the second-smallest state in the nation. He ran on extremely aggressive and easy-to-understand left-wing policy. In contrast to the other white man in the race, the young, handsome, and (before the primary started) much more famous Martin O’Malley, Sanders stubbornly embraces one of the most toxic labels in American politics. But he completely blew O’Malley out of the water, and gave Clinton a serious run for her money, on the strength of colossal margins among young people — most of whom have come of political age in the worst economic environment in 80 years.
Surely some of that support is due to raw anti-Clinton animus or other distasteful characteristics, just as some of Clinton’s support can be chalked up to a selfish refusal to pay the higher taxes that Sanders’ program would require. But anyone who can talk themselves into thinking that his candidacy does not represent a resurgent American left has another thing coming.
I’m on the road and cannot comment at length regarding the comment thread here. I do however think that things are a bit extreme in both directions. I believe that most of the people in the party are of goodwill. And from a policy perspective neither Clinton nor Sanders are that different. What Sanders has as an advantage is a clear and consistent message. That doesn’t make Clinton disingenuous. I admire both candidates.
The point of posting this comment was to make a point about the people in the Democratic Party not the leaders of it. I do believe that the Democratic party is moving in a liberal direction. And that is not just a matter of the young people. If Bill Clinton were to become president now he would be much more liberal than he was then because the party itself is much more liberal than it was then.
Finally I want to say that James is my Digby. As you may know she got her start as a commenter on Atrios’ blog long before going on to start her own that greatly surpassed his. I appreciate his role as peacemaker even while remaining opinionated and interesting.
But as ever: play nice!