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)
Well, according to The Washington Post at least.
A new piece in the Post paints Sanders as a transcendent figure who has remade his party, just as the Gipper once did. I’m gonna go out on a limb and opine that this comparison is a bit thin.
Perspective: Bernie Sanders is the new Ronald Reagan.
He remade his party with an outsider youth movement. https://t.co/tZKvRbh4px
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 3, 2020
The comparison looks implausible. The genial, soothing, archconservative Reagan, with his Hollywood polish, script-reading skills and two terms as governor of California, seems a long way from the cantankerous socialist senator, with his accent scraped off the Brooklyn sidewalks and his following formed in tiny, remote, hippie Vermont.
But Reagan was also labeled a fringe figure — of the right, not the left. Mainstream Republicans viewed him with alarm and ridiculed his proposals as simple and kooky. Like Sanders, Reagan shrugged off his detractors. Like Sanders, he bore little allegiance to the party. Like Sanders, he was said to appeal to only a narrow slice of voters. The two have something else in common. Both waged a hard-fought battle in a previous presidential primary contest, seeding their insurgent movements and building bases of young voters undeterred by the candidates’ advanced ages. Reagan was a spoiler turned tribune to a new Republican Party. Sanders, a spoiler in 2016, is on his way to remaking the Democratic Party.
Eh…I’m gonna go with a no on this, if for no other reason that Bernie looks poised to now blow his second shot at the nomination. In order to make this comparison, he needs to triumph and triumph is looking less and less likely.
But the more obvious reason there’s no comparison is that Bernie is a communist, whereas Reagans views (despite the claim above) were never really “fringe” in any real respect. Yes, they were more insulated within the base until he rose to stardom, but conservatism was brewing within the Republican Party long before. Further, his ideology was clearly vindicated while Bernie’s has no chance of such. Simply being different doesn’t make one’s views viable.
Then there’s the fact that Bernie is an angry, divisive geriatric while Reagan was almost ten years younger and far more relatable. There’s a reason he not only won the first time, but went on to win 49 states the second time.
Honestly, the only comparison I’m seeing here is the insurgent comeback angle, except Bernie isn’t even looking like he’ll comeback like Reagan did.
So yeah, I’m gonna have to give a thumbs down to this comparison.