As the Democrats’ race for the White House heats up, a Bernie Sanders surge is looking ever more likely. Those of us who spent years thinking that a socialist would never come close to power have voiced our horror quietly, but we’re beginning to see more public expressions of what Sander’s rise means.
Remember Bill Bennett? He served in different capacities in the Reagan and Bush (41) administrations, and he wrote the Book of Virtues, among other works. Bennett appeared on Fox News earlier today and made a statement about the state of today’s Democrats that makes perfect sense.
“This is a party that has gone to the left. … This is a shock of recognition: they’ve become a left-wing party,” Bennett told “America’s Newsroom,” rejecting the notion that Sanders’ competitors in the Democratic field are moderates in comparison.
Bennett went on to say that he believes that the Democrats’ direction will make it easier for President Trump’s reelection.
“You remember that debate early on where they said how many of you will support government benefits for illegals and I think everybody raised their hands eventually on that stage? That’s just not something that’s going to fly in America,” he said, arguing that a candidate cannot be seen as a moderate just because they’re not as far-left as Sanders.
Who else is speaking up? National Review‘s Rich Lowry, who penned an op-ed in the New York Post about what Sanders’ emergence as a front-runner represents.
The Democratic Party could soon be taken over by a leftist who has never formally been a member (even if he signed a pledge to govern as a Democrat should he make it to the White House).
Lowry makes a further point that gives us plenty of perspective: the Democrats’ leftward push is indicative of what’s already been going on in Europe. Formerly center-left parties are dropping the “center” and just going left.
If it’s any consolation to Democrats, it’s a version of the same wrenching dislocation that has beset the center-left throughout the Western world.
One reason Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic nomination is entirely imaginable is that it wouldn’t be a freakish occurrence outside the experience of other advanced democracies. In fact, it would be entirely consistent with the travails of traditional center-left parties from France to Sweden.
The rise – and subsequent fall – of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK’s Labour Party is a close example to ours. Corbyn is a graying leftist who somehow captured the fancy of young voters who thought more government control was the answer to the world’s problems. (Long story short: Corbyn’s anti-semitism and Boris Johnson’s Brexit surge became Labour’s undoing, and Corbyn no longer leads the party.)
One of the hallmarks of these leftward drifts is the youth vote. Lowry points out that young voters who have become disillusioned by capitalism are driving this push to the left.
If Sanders does indeed win the nomination, these kids who aren’t all right will be the shock troops of his revolution. In New Hampshire, Sanders crushed among young voters, winning an outlandish 51 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 and a solid 36 percent of voters ages 30 to 44. (If there were no Democrats over the age of 45, Sanders would sweep all before him.)
(So much for “Ok, boomer” – although technically, Bernie predates the baby boom.)
Regardless of the cause, it’s crystal clear that the Democrats are no longer a party that appeals to the center-left. Witness the embrace of the Green New Deal, the doubling down from candidates on government-run healthcare, and the shaming of pro-life Democrats.
Lowry and Bennett have a point: the Dems are a far-left party now. What that means for the 2020 election remains to be seen, but God help us if Sanders makes his way into the White House. We need to pray and fight.