Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. (AP Photo/John Locher)
With Bernie Sanders now in control of the Democratic nomination (although Biden has shown a touch of life lately), a moment of clarity has hit the Republican party they haven’t had since perhaps the Kavanaugh hearings.
Suddenly, all the mean tweets and Trump braggadocio seem much less important in the face of an actual communist possibly becoming president. Perhaps that level of proportionality should have always existed? Being upset by Trump’s personality was never much of an excuse for voting for any of the current Democratic field, though that seemed likely among some on the right until Sanders’ rise became apparent. Amy Klobuchar isn’t going to be there to provide an out in November.
From the first session at CPAC today, the theme of opposing socialism has dominated. Senators Joni Ernst and Marsha Blackburn spent ample time on it, VP Mike Pence made it the thrust of his speech, and Matt Gaetz hit it again in the afternoon. Even Diamond and Silk were riffing on its evils. There’s no question a congruent message has formed on the right.
There’s little doubt that when President Trump takes the stage in two days, he’s going to continue to hammer that theme, and he should.
Politically speaking, the clearer the choice, the easier it is to make the case for the “right” one (assuming those views are at least marginally mainstream). In a scenario where someone like Joe Biden can muddle through as a mostly status quo alternative, it becomes more difficult, though certainly not impossible to beat him. Sanders represents a much simpler, yet much riskier task.
You can feel the worry on the right for a possible Sanders’ presidency. It’s palpable here at CPAC and throughout right-leaning media. Those worries are well founded. Maybe this was the shot in the arm they needed after sleepwalking through 2018? Regardless, it can only help messaging and organizing as we head into election day 2020.