Is Bernie Sanders the leader of the Democrat Party? That seems to be the case, given his outsized influence over the reconciliation process. He’s also getting results. Last night, Nancy Pelosi had to back off her promise to hold a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal because progressives revolted.
Today, the 80-year-old communist is doubling down on the delusion that he has leverage, and he’s also showing how terrible at math he is.
2 senators cannot be allowed to defeat what 48 senators and 210 House members want. We must stand with the working families of our country. We must combat climate change. We must delay passing the Infrastructure Bill until we pass a strong Reconciliation Bill.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 1, 2021
Let me drop a fact-check here. It is not, in fact, “2 senators” who are looking to defeat 48 senators. Rather, it’s 52 senators who are looking to defeat 48 senators. The GOP exists, and those 50 Republican senators are all opposed to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that Sanders supports. You might even call that “democracy” in action, a thing Democrats often bandy about when it fits their narrative. On the House side, the 210 Democrats who are for the massive spending spree also represent a minority of the chamber.
So what is Sanders asking for? Is he really suggesting the minority should be able to override the majority to pass a bill that fundamentally changes (and helps fiscally destroy) the country? I wouldn’t want him to be accused of fomenting insurrection or anything with such a thought.
Of course, what Sanders is actually suggesting is that all Democrats should vote party line regardless of what their state’s constituents want and that Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are really bad for not doing so. What makes that especially rich coming from Sanders is that he himself…is not a Democrat. He’s an Independent, yet he’s operating as the de facto leader of the Democrat Party right now by exerting control over the progressive wing.
But what’s the end game? That’s a question I keep asking and not getting an answer to. The progressives, for all their big talk and insults, do not have the power to push this bill through alone. Manchin and Sinema have no reason to help them do so. If they keep blowing up the bipartisan bill, all they are doing is shutting down the entire process, which means Democrats get nothing. As a Republican, I’m totally fine with that, but is that really a position that is tenable for Sanders and his cohorts going forward?
Perhaps it is, but while Sanders can exist as a rabid ideologue who never actually accomplishes anything, there are a lot of other Democrats heading into 2022 who aren’t in the same position. In that sense, his delusional pursuit is hurting his party in the long term.