As a part of the Democratic Party establishment, I certainly see -- how could I miss it? -- that the party establishment and many of its leaders are having a nervous breakdown over Bernie Sanders. Like, they're on the threshold of a psychogenic fugue state, "characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality" (thank you, Wikipedia!).
“In 30-plus years of politics, I’ve never seen this level of doom. I’ve never had a day with so many people texting, emailing, calling me with so much doom and gloom,” said Matt Bennett of the center-left group Third Way after Sanders' win in Nevada (Politico).
I have good and old friends in the Democratic Party far and wide, and many of them agree that Bernie Sanders is an existential threat (God how I hate that term) and that a Sanders nomination will equal a Trump second term. Many Republican Party activists and operatives also believe it, that they're headed to a GOP landslide if Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee. "Why, we could take back the House!" Can't you imagine the advertising: "Socialist! Socialist! Socialist! All the way to the bottom of the ballot."
Democrats since the Age of Reagan are terrified of being tarred by words. Lib. Libtard. Hippy extremist. Latte elite. Democrats were never as good as the Republicans at labeling the enemy. I get it. I've always understood the vulnerability of candidates, especially the ones who really don't have mature political philosophies and are already afraid of their shadows, but damn it! I also understand the folk wisdom of "sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never kill me." You either take a stand or you don't.
So some of those good old friends of mine maybe think I've slipped into early onset pudding-brain, as I acknowledge openly that a political meteor is about to smash our ground. It's too late to turn it back. A meteor doesn't brake. People are fed up. They already were in 2010 too and got what they most desired in 2016. Trump's triumph was not just Russian bots. It was also people fed up with some of the same shit I'm fed up with, only their fed-upness is layered in with God and guns and abortion, and that's not my bag. Plus they worship dictators. But can't you recognize the resistance and instinct for revolution among the MAGA crowd as at least a cousin to the new voter resistance and rebellion now fueling the Bernie Sanders movement?
Meanwhile, with some Democratic presidential candidates trying to make nice with corporate power, courting the big bucks by being "moderate," or while even being billionaires themselves, billionaires with plenty of buying power, the panic in the establishment is that the old pitches don't sell, the moderate, "Third Way," "radical pragmatism," DLC-backed brand that Bill Clinton embodied. The Democratic pragmatism that made Clinton a Wall Street co-dependant and told Obama he couldn't have single-payer healthcare. That brand of "progressivism" doesn't play any more because it was -- or became -- a fraud.
People are fed up. Many of them haven't even bothered to vote in the past. Many aren't registered to vote, but they're getting registered -- youth, minorities, single women, and Millennial professionals who've seen their prospects trend downward. They could rise in numbers that might swamp the authoritarians now in power. Can it happen? Will it happen? I don't know. Neither do you. But that's what I'm rolling the dice for.
People are fed up. Since at least 2010, they've intended to force a reshaping and realignment of the American power structure. For Trumpsters, that means putting in a strong man authoritarian. For the new voters of 2020, it means maybe putting in a democratic socialist. Those fed-up people, maybe already an overwhelming majority, either gets a major political overhaul of the power structure, or we really do face the butt end of the Republic with a butt as dictator.
Choose what you fear. I cannot fear an emerging democratic majority.