Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, with his wife Jane, raises his hand as he speaks during a campaign event in San Antonio, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
As Bernie Sanders walked away from Nevada, there were explosions and probably a really rad guitar solo. IT was just that impressive for him.
It’s not so much the percentage behind the win, although that itself was fairly impressive. It’s the fact that one of the biggest names in the Democratic party, a man who is probably the closest thing the Democrats have to an elder statesman, was behind the push to oppose him.
Harry Reid was reportedly the guy who was mobilizing the culinary union, among others, to oppose Sanders. Reid is the kind of strategic politician Chuck Schumer could only dream of being. He is ruthless, powerful, commands the respect of his party, and shows no weaknesses. He will do what it takes to win, even if that includes mobilizing entire unions against a member of his own party’s primary to ensure what he believes is the right course of action.
And despite all of Reid’s power and respect within the Democratic Party, Sanders walked away from Nevada with more than double the voters Joe Biden, the second-place finisher, received.
That’s a pretty big sign that the Democratic Party is shifting away from what the older leaders have wanted it to be. While there are few differences in actual ideology between most of the top Democrats today, there is a lot of difference in strategy. Sanders is running on a blow-it-all-up platform that is even more extreme than the drain-the-swamp platform Trump ran on four years ago. Most of the other Democrats do not see Sanders’ extremism as the way to win hearts and minds from the voter segment they actually need, which is somewhere in the middle of the general electorate.
Sanders’ problem is that he thinks Americans are tired of the way things are. While most of the other candidates are not doing much better – trying to run against Trump rather than on ideas – Sanders’ ideas are simply way too far left for most Americans to feel comfortable with. The Harry Reids and the Joe Bidens of the world understand that, but with the loudest voices now belonging to Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and others, their own influence is waning.
This is potentially good for Trump, in that the success of the economy is the perfect way to counter what Sanders is pitching. Why seek a fundamental transformation of the American economy when everyone – especially minority communities – are winning under the economy we have? There is no logic to that kind of change, and barring a recession of any kind, Trump’s odds of re-election are higher than most would give him credit for.
That is not to say Trump 2020 is inevitable. The fact is that his approval rating is not all that great, and he continues to be his own worst enemy (though, granted, his other enemies appear to be the most inept enemies a politician could ask for) when it comes to public comment and social media. There are plenty of events that could threaten his re-election efforts, but it is hard to see those events occurring between now and November.
If the Democratic Party goes with Sanders, you will see the Trump base respond like never before AND you will also see an uneasy electorate drift toward the Republicans for another term. As long as Trump can just maintain his current status quo (or improve it), there is little chance he would lose to Sanders, despite what current polling says.