Good News About the Democratic Primary

Bernie Sanders

After Saturday’s caucus in Nevada, I was shocked to see people get so worked up. Of particular note was Chris Matthews. But all I could think was, have these people been living in a cave?

The Real Clear Politics average going into the caucus had Sanders with twice the support of his nearest rival, Joe Biden.

So how did the first vote compare to the polling average? Shockingly well:

Candidate Poll Vote
Sanders32.534.0
Biden16.017.6
Buttigieg16.015.4
Warren14.012.8
Klobuchar9.59.6
Steyer9.09.1

In other words, everyone did just about as well as they were supposed to. I understand that most people don’t pay attention to this. But political commentators? I guess they were living in a dream world.

But okay: a bunch of people freaked out. Luckily, a lot of people stepped up. In particular, I was impressed with Paul Krugman who wrote a short twitter thread, Bernie Sanders Isn’t the Left’s Trump. Sadly, the initial reaction was not good.

Most people got hung up on one thing that Krugman said, “Bernie Sanders is now the clear favorite for the Democratic nomination.” How dare he say that?! The same people who were freaking out because Nevada supposedly made Sanders inevitable were now freaking out that a gentle call for perspective included the fact that Sanders was the frontrunner.

The Sun Came Out

And then something changed. I can’t quantify it. There are still a lot of people who hate the idea that Sanders will likely be the nominee. But it’s different. There’s a certain resignation and acceptance that maybe he isn’t that bad — and certainly, he’s nowhere near as bad as President Donald J Trump.

I should point out, however, that the people who are against Sanders are not, in general, against him because they think he is horrible and will be successful in stealing the Democratic Party. Mostly, they are concerned that he will lose.

This is a reasonable concern. My biggest concern about Sanders was always that a large fraction of powerful Democrats would sleepwalk their way to the general election. But I no longer believe that.

It seems that the anti-Sanders forces are pragmatic (Who would have guessed?!) and understand that Trump poses an existential threat to this republic. And the last couple of days have shown that the process has begun for everyone to get behind whoever wins the nomination.

(To be honest, I don’t know about the other side of this battle. Sanders supporters seem to be younger and more volatile. I see a lot more “I will never vote for…” from them than I do from the other side. If Sanders starts to lose, I’ll face that then.)

Just Like the Democrats

I was thinking recently that Sanders getting the nomination is the most normal outcome for the Democrats as one could imagine. We tend to like justice. In 2016, we nominated the second-place finisher in 2008. And in 2020, we are heading to nominate the second-place finisher in 2016.

I think we can all take some solace in that. Krugman also wrote, “America under a Sanders presidency would still be America, both because Sanders is an infinitely better man than Trump and because the Democratic Party wouldn’t enable abuse of power the way Republicans have.” Sanders is no radical.

And if Sanders gets the nomination and loses the general election, that’s too bad. We have a system. It isn’t perfect. Nor is it clear that any Democrat will beat Trump in November. So yes, I think I am reversing on Bernie Sanders Won’t Unify the Democratic Party.

Regardless, we persist.


Bernie Sanders by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

6 thoughts on “Good News About the Democratic Primary

  1. I am not going to tell you my view because it will just cause a fight beyond to say “you are wrong.”

    • I have definitely seen a thawing on Twitter. Max Boot would choose Sanders over Trump because he sees that Sanders is a regular politician and Trump is a fascist. If long-term Democrats aren’t as open-minded as Max Boot, there is no Democratic Party to support.

  2. Well, I don’t interact with Sanders supporters online, only IRL. And the one candidate who most of them would have real trouble voting for is Bloomberg. I understand. If he somehow succeded in buying the nomination, I’d do my duty and vote for him, then put the pen I used to fill out my absentee ballot in a hazmat bag, soak it in kerosene and torch it on a giant pile of cow dung.

    • All the Sanders supporters I know are perfectly fine. There is something wrong going on online. The truth is, a lot of liberals are behaving horribly. It isn’t just Sanders supporters. And frankly, I’m angry about it. People need to get a fucking clue.

      I need more information about Bloomberg because I am not sure I can vote for him. Would we be exchanging the inefficient authoritarian we know for the efficient authoritarian we don’t? It would also set up a terrible example. I’m not saying I won’t vote for him, but I have major fears that he is worse than Trump. I’ll think more about it. Democrats who think he is our savior are clueless.

  3. I’ve never run into a major Democratic candidate who gives me the absolute shivers so much as that guy. Not just policy disagreement (had those with ’em all), nor just moral repugnance at certain things he’s done (had those with some I voted for). Bloomberg’s simply got some creepazoid vibe I can’t quite identify.

    To put it in New York terms: you know when somebody follows you into an alley, not to try buying/selling sex/drugs, you’re unsure what it is, but you know it’s not good? And you hope they made a mistake and will turn back, but they don’t? You don’t even need to look back, you know they’re still there? That’s Bloomberg’s level of spooky. He’s whistle, air horn, yelling “what the FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM” scary.

    Of course, those noisy deterrents only work if the intended perp is A) conscious of doing something wrong and B) fearful of being caught. I’m unsure Bloomberg is either.

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