February 24, 2020

Nevada Caucus

On Saturday, Bernie Sanders won the Nevada Democratic caucus. As of Sunday night, Sanders led with 47% of the vote; Joe Biden was second with 21% and Pete Buttigieg third with 14%. New York Times

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From the Left

The left sees Sanders as the clear frontrunner and urges the party to come together.

“Sanders’ Nevada victory definitively disproved one of the most enduring myths about his campaign: that it could attract left-leaning young white people, but was incapable of drawing in a diverse coalition. In fact, voters of color were a primary source of Sanders’ strength in Nevada; he received the majority of Latino votes. Entrance polls showed Sanders winning ‘men and women, whites and Latinos, voters 17-29, 30-44 and 45-65, those with college degrees and those without, liberal Democrats (by a lot) and moderate/conservatives (narrowly), union and non-union households.’ The poisonous concept of the white ‘Bernie Bro’ as the ‘typical’ Sanders supporter should be dead.”
Nathan Robinson, The Guardian

“The New Deal was made possible with a new electorate. And just as the mass entry into politics of first- and second-generation Eastern European immigrants brought Roosevelt (and the CIO) to power, Latinos — who are solidly behind Sanders — could very well be the force that helps bring social democracy to America. Bernie’s staunch anti-establishment outsider appeal and his platform focused on workers’ issues is winning non-partisans, new voters, young voters, and working-class immigrants. That’s not just a savvy coalition for winning the Nevada caucuses, it’s how Bernie Sanders becomes president. Face it, establishment Democrats — it’s his party now.”
Dustin Guastella and Connor Kilpatrick, Jacobin Magazine

“What Bloomberg and his apologists fail to understand is that challenging political power brokers has significant appeal among grassroots Democrats and independents. Notably, in Nevada, of the 17 percent of caucus-goers who identified as independents, Sanders won 50 percent. The next-closest contender, Buttigieg, was at 13 percent, and no one else was in double digits… an antiestablishment message is electable.”
John Nichols, The Nation

“[Mainstream Democrats] worry at times that Sanders would simply prove too extreme to get things done as president. And, indeed, on occasion his campaign lapses into rhetoric that suggests an unreasonable aversion to compromise. But it’s worth remembering that Sanders is a 30-year veteran of the US Congress…

“Sanders has sometimes staked out lonely, courageous stands (against the Iraq War or the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred same-sex couples from enjoying the same federal benefits as married couples)… But he’s never pulled a Freedom Caucus-type stunt… He voted for President Barack Obama’s Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization bill in 2009, and again for the Affordable Care Act in 2010. He voted for the Dodd-Frank bill and every other contentious piece of Obama-era legislation… there’s no reason to be worried that Sanders is a deluded radical who doesn’t understand how the government works.”
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Yet “Unity is nowhere in sight. Sanders’s Friday tweet — ‘I’ve got news for the Republican establishment. I’ve got news for the Democratic establishment. They can’t stop us’ — showed he’s in no mood to pull this fractured party together. This breach of party solidarity alarmed down-ticket Democrats hoping to keep control of the House and win the Senate — and must have delighted Trump, whose Saturday night tweet announced how he’ll exploit the opposition’s fractiousness, no matter what’s next. He congratulated ‘Crazy Bernie’ on his Nevada victory, adding, ‘Don’t let them take it away from you!’”
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post

“His campaign really should be having an internal debate at this point about what can possibly be gained by railing against the elites of a party that he looks to be on the verge of conquering and which made a number of changes to its nominating system after 2016 at his express request. Remember: They might be the establishment in a few months.”
David Faris, The Week

“Clinton promised a ‘third way,’ distinct from traditional Democratic or Republican policies. Bush ran on compassionate conservatism. Obama said that red and blue America shared more in common than pundits claimed. Even Trump, radical as he is, flouted Republican orthodoxy by sounding like a populist Democrat on Social Security, Medicare and trade… Can you think of one way that Bernie Sanders is signaling respect to voters outside of his base?… turning every compromise into an existential moral failing is not a smart way to practice politics. It comforts the persuaded while alienating the persuadable.”
David Leonhardt, New York Times

From the Right

The right sees Sanders as the clear frontrunner and predicts negative consequences if the Democratic establishment denies him the nomination.

The right sees Sanders as the clear frontrunner and predicts negative consequences if the Democratic establishment denies him the nomination.

“Democrats are now one step closer to having an avowed socialist at the top of their ticket. At a time when unemployment is at a 50-year low, they’ll be running against a capitalist system that is responsible for spreading more freedom, ending more hunger, and lifting more people out of poverty than any other system in world history. If the time is ripe for Sanders’s socialist revolution, most American voters don’t know it yet… people in the United States currently have record-high confidence in their personal finances…

“So great are the blessings of capitalism that it enabled Sanders to join the ranks of the top 1% by having established himself as the country’s most famous socialist. Yet now, he wants to become president so he can tear that system down.”
Editorial Board, Washington Examiner

“Democrats are waking to the prospect of a nominee who wants to eliminate private health insurance, raise taxes on the middle class, ban fracking and put government in charge of energy production, make college a taxpayer entitlement, offer free health care to illegal immigrants, raise spending by $50 trillion, and tag every down-ballot Democrat with the socialist label…

“The other candidates have contributed to this predicament by failing to challenge Mr. Sanders and his socialist agenda. They dispute his Medicare for All math, and his electability in November, but ever so gently. They all offer some version of Bernie Lite, and none speak up for the private economy… Mr. Buttigieg finally put the boot and some edge against Mr. Sanders into his remarks on Saturday night in Nevada, but the question is whether it’s too late.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“As of now, the same kind of nightmare that gripped the Republican establishment during Trump’s 2016 primary sweep is haunting Democrats. They are no closer to finding a single challenger to take away Sanders’ front-runner status than Republicans were to blocking Trump from getting the GOP nomination four years ago… As of now, none of the moderates in the Democratic race has a compelling reason to drop out, because at this point none stands out from the pack as a strong challenger to Sanders…

“If Sanders keeps picking up delegates in a large Democratic field and goes into the party’s national convention with a plurality of votes, the Democratic establishment risks a massive backlash from his followers if he is denied the nomination because the party’s superdelegates coalesce around one of his competitors.”
John Fund, Fox News

“While there’s doubt about whether Sanders goes into the Democratic National Convention with the majority needed to become the nominee on the first ballot, it’s becoming increasingly hard to see how anybody goes into the convention with more delegates than he does…

“Nominating a socialist as their standard-bearer no doubt carries significant political risk for Democrats up- and down-ballot in November. But even if there’s somebody else who is in theory a safer bet, in practice, we’ve reached the point at which Democrats may be taking an even greater risk by handing somebody else the nomination and alienating Sanders supporters.”
Philip Klein, Washington Examiner

Some argue that “The establishment can live with the consequences of a second Trump term… In 2022 Democrats will be better off in the midterms with Trump in office than with a member of their own party in his place. Midterms tend to be reactions against the president’s party, and six-year midterms tend to be especially bad for them. Democrats’ chances of winning the Senate and holding the House would be solid (assuming neither chamber changes hands sooner). This would set Democrats up for 2024 with control of both the House and the Senate… If an establishment Democrat can win the nomination that year, he or she should be the favorite in November…

“A Sanders defeat come November is a defeat for the left, and a Trump victory followed by Republican overreach — which is what the center-left predicts with night absolute certainty — would soon set the stage for defeat of the right. And all of this follows exactly what the center-left’s self-understanding is meant to be predicated upon: the belief that extreme views can’t win (Sanders) or will fail when turned into policy (Trump). So what’s the Democratic establishment so afraid of?
Daniel McCarthy, Spectator USA

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