Let’s all agree, for all serious purposes Bernie Sanders campaign for President is over after last night. And personally, I don’t really care how long it takes for Bernie to land the plane. He fought his heart out, and losing is hard. And the more passionate you are, the harder the loss is. Give him time.
But Steve Kornacki on MSNBC last night jolted my head back when he made some side by side comparisons to Sanders performance in 2016, and his performance so far in 2020. There were several things that stuck out at me, but what stuck out the most was that seemed to be another comparison that could be made.
In 2016, Bernie mopped up with lower middle class rural voters, and also scored well with white non-college educated voters. Sanders successfully wooed them with things like a minimum $15 an hour wage, and Medicare for all insuring them healthcare coverage. He also mopped the floor with young, first time college age voters, and swept the table in college towns. He did this by offering them things like a free 4 year college education, and forgiveness of student loan debt. Sanders also cleaned up by selling a sense of grievance, the rich get richer, everybody else gets fucked, and it’s time that they paid! Sanders was able to ride this wave all the way through the primaries.
But it turned out that Joe Biden was Bernie Sanders’ worst nightmare. In a crowded field, Biden was the only one who had name recognition that could match Sanders. In side by side comparisons in states like Illinois, Michigan, and Florida, the contrast was striking. In 2020, Biden beat Sanders in college town after college town. Not necessarily by flipping the college vote, but by energizing the white suburban, formerly GOP in the surrounding area. And in the lower middle class and rural areas, Biden cleaned up where Sanders had dominated in 2016. Sanders spoke to them of grievance, but Biden spoke to them with familiarity, and a non confrontational positive vision for the future.
There is one more thing that turned the tide in my opinion. Timing is everything, and Biden had it. By the time that the primaries had reached South Carolina, Democratic primary voters had heard enough, and they had had enough of all of the indecision. They were finally ready to stop being pundits, and coalesce behind one candidate. And when the African American population launched Biden out of South Carolina from a cannon, the momentum cast the die. Biden rolled in Super Tuesday, and with California and Texas being moved up to Super Tuesday, Sanders lost two valuable firewall states that he could have relied on later in the calendar, if Biden’s momentum slowed.
So, what does this have to do with November? Only this. Back in 2016, another presidential campaign was waged. And in this one, a tubby, poorly dressed, loud mouthed caricature of a candidate farted his way down a schlock golden escalator, and announced his run for the presidency by exploiting hatred and bashing Mexicans. Remember that ass gasket?
Like Sanders, Trump ran on grievance, but not a grievance against rich shitpokes, of whom he counts himself a member in good standing, if only a leech. His grievance was against minorities of every stripe, alternate lifestyles, religious bigotry, and Democrats. Trump ran on the grievance that elitist, coastal Democrats were turning this country browner, gayer, and less like Selma circa 1950’s. And it was just enough to carry him over the top.
What made Joe Biden Bernie Sanders worst nightmare is exactly what makes Joe Biden Donald Trump’s worst nightmare, and Trump has known it all along. Because, in these Democratic primaries, Joe Biden is winning the voters that Bernie Sanders won in 2016 to jeep him in the race. And guess what folks? Those are exactly the same voters that Donald Trump won in 2016 to put him over the top!
Joe Biden is energizing African American voters, which Sanders couldn’t do twice, Trump couldn’t do in 2016, which helped to turn the tide when Hillary didn’t sufficiently energize them in 2016. But Biden is also energizing those white, mostly college educated former GOP suburban voters who turned on Trump in 2018, and were critical to his success in 2016. But Biden is also winning the lower middle class voters in the rust belt which Sanders won in 2016, as well as the rural voters that were the backbone of Sanders campaign. These are also incidentally the same voters that Trump used to such good effect in 2016.
I’m not predicting anything here. But when you look at Bernie Sanders’ stunning reversal from 2016 to 2020, and when you look at the voting swing patterns that made it possible, you can see why Trump was so desperate to keep Biden from getting the nomination in the first place. Because Biden has taken from Bernie exactly what Trump is scared shitless that Joe will take from him! And Biden has a secret weapon at his disposal against His Lowness. And that’s the fact that everybody who isn’t a slobbering, MAGA capped moron is so sick of Trump’s shit that they can’t stand it anymore! And Biden’s calm, folksy, down home, competent, presidential demeanor is as soothing as an ice bag over a national black eye.
To know the future, look to the past.before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen