If Bernie becomes the nominee, support among Democrats will become mandatory. Anyone hoping for a Corbyn style renunciation is kidding themselves because…
1. The anti-Corbyn cause in the UK had backing within the media and from elites because of Corbyn’s ambiguity on Brexit and because there was a third party alternative that was viable in a parliamentary system. And Corbyn wasn’t up against a hate figure as compelling as Trump. Finally, paradoxically, ideological discipline and political correctness have become tighter in the US than the UK. There’s more room for dissent on a variety of issues in the UK than there is in the US. Even though many deviations can be legally punished. But the American Left seems to have become more centralized and powerful than its British counterpart. And heterodoxy simply isn’t tolerated. The mob effect of social media and its dominance of American politics may be a major cause.
2. Opposition to Sanders is largely about electability. Few criticize his views on their own merits. That’s risky because his views are those of the Left. They warn that a candidate with those views will lose to Trump and hurt the down ballot candidates. If he becomes the nominee, the entire line of argument will be moot. And few Democrats will sit this one out, at least publicly, over principles.
3. The Democrat leadership thinks that there are good odds that Trump will win anyway. Incumbents often do. So the stakes are lower in 2020 than they would be in 2024. The crowd of Dems who piled into the 2020 clown car and destroyed their careers was a baffling phenomenon largely attributable to the conviction that Trump was very vulnerable and that great resources would be deployed to beat him. Instead the promising candidates burned out, turning this into a race between 3 candidates in their 70s with no future. If Trump is going to win anyway, letting the Sanders camp launch a suicide mission seems like a good way to burn them off. Except that it’s likely to have the opposite effect. If Sanders wins, the Democrats become a socialist party. If he loses, his acolytes blame the Democrats for betraying him and redouble their efforts to take over the party. So it’s a lose-lose scenario. That’s a good definition of socialism.
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