Bernie Sanders is toast. The senator from Vermont is an old man out of luck. He has started to look like the old, crazy man he always was. His latest poll numbers show this. The question is: why did this happen and what does it mean?
An interesting observation has been made about the rise and fall of Bernie Sanders: he was an exciting foil for the voters who were tired of Hillary Clinton. His rise in 2016 perfectly explains this. The Democrats, who wanted a new direction for their party, found Bernie’s ideas new, gutsy, and perfect for their vision of what government should be. However, he was unable to maintain control over the policies he favored and was unable to maintain his popularity because of it. His policies—especially Medicare-for-All. Bernie’s policies have all been taken on by the majority of the Democrats running for president as their very own.
Take Elizabeth Warren, for example. Every single one of her policies has been something Bernie Sanders proposed, either in 2016 or after. She hijacked Bernie’s ideas and made them her own and left Bernie in the dust. As we see Warren rise in the polls, we see Bernie fall. There is no energy to his campaign because the excitement for it fell off. There is no more “new car smell” for Bernie. This is why his campaign looks to be over already.
Who knows though? Maybe he will survive and regain his popularity. However, with so many other candidates just as left-wing as he is, it doesn’t seem that many in the Democratic Party want him to be their nominee.
This brings up a problem. Bernie’s popularity in 2016 and Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the general election convinced the Democrats that the problem was not who the nominee was, but what her positions were. Bernie Sanders nearly beat Hillary in the primaries, and there was a strong possibility he could have defeated Donald Trump in 2016. The excitement Bernie had and the lack thereof for Hillary among voters convinced Democrats that they needed to move further to the left in order for them to win elections. This is why so many of Bernie’s original ideas are now central to the party, and the candidates who support are the ones on television all the time. The popularity of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, and Rashida Talib are examples of this.
The Democrats have convinced themselves that Bernie Sanders had the right ideas, but they came at the wrong time and from the wrong candidate. They have convinced themselves that this push further to the left and a candidate that fits into their intersectional mold were the key ingredients to winning back the House of Representatives in 2018, and will be the combination that wins them back the Senate and the White House in 2020. Never mind the fact that the majority of Democrats who won their races were moderates, and that the President they were running against was both unpopular and his party was in power.
Election day 2020 is seventeen months away, and many things will happen between now and then. Bernie Sanders could regain his popularity and still be fighting for the nomination even a year from now, but it does seem unlikely.
Conservative columnist George Will likes to say, “Barry Goldwater won the election of 1964. It just took them sixteen years to count the votes.” If a candidate with the same positions as Bernie wins the nomination and the presidency in 2020, we can say that Bernie truly did win the argument, but the results just came four years too late.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.