Joe Biden’s refusal to enter the Democratic Primary likely ended Bernie Sanders’ slim chances at winning the Democratic nomination, as almost every poll indicated that Biden pulls his base of support from people who would otherwise be Clinton voters. Nevertheless, the contest isn’t over until the pantsuited lady sings, which means that we will be treated to an endless buffet of insight into the new Democrat voter.
One example is this Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll of Iowa Democrats. Top line result of the poll shows Clinton leading Sanders 48%-41%. That’s not super interesting, and reflects not much of a change. What is super interesting is what exactly is hurting Bernie Sanders’ chances of winning.
If you click down into the specific questions that the poll asked, you find a fascinating thing. First, voters were asked whether it made them less supportive of Bernie Sanders that the man called himself a socialist. By an astounding 81-17 margin, Democrat voters answered no. In other words, the fact that Bernie Sanders will not even defend capitalism is a matter of absolutely no import to Democrats.
On the other hand, voters were asked whether the fact that Sanders “has voted against waiting periods and background checks for gun buyers” makes them less likely to vote for him, Democrat voters responded yes by an equally astounding 60-39 margin.
Look, Bernie Sanders is not good on guns. If he were a Republican, he would be among the worst. He’s cast a few marginally pro-gun votes in a 30 year career, but even a small amount of heterodoxy on this issue is genuinely hurting Bernie Sanders right now.
So, to recap, opposing capitalism doesn’t bother modern Democrat primary voters one whit. On the other hand, having even the smallest amount of respect for the Second Amendment is a political death sentence.
I bring this up because for all that people talk about the way that Washington has changed and for all that people moan about how Obama has overstepped his executive authority (and he has), it’s equally important to understand that Washington is merely reflecting the fact that America has changed. And for all that the media focuses on how the congressional republican caucus is being squeezed by extremists on the right, it’s even more true for Democrats and the extremist fringe that dominates their party.