Bernie's Legacy

The whole time of his campaign, it has been said that even if he didn’t win, he would bring a lot of good changes to the country. What are the changes going to be? He has already gotten a few states to give up superdelegates. He may have pulled Hillary more to the left in the debates, but will she stay there?

Almost no legacy. Superdelagates aren’t going away, the rise of Trump confirms the need for them.

Minnesota has abolished their caucus and I hope more states follow.

The online fundraising was nice, but it follows in Obama’s 2008 footsteps as well as Jerry Brown’s 800 number.

I imagine he will go back to being an ineffective gadfly in the Senate.

We got rid of our Caucus here in Maine too.

His legacy will be shining a light on the number of Americans who want free stuff without having to work or pay for it.

What Bernie has done is show the traditional Democrats that there is a significant number of the electorate that is not afraid of the possibility of a more “socialist” political & economic system. That electorate happens to vote Democrat because of a lack of any real alternative. If the Democrats are smart, they will continue to appeal to those voters in order to better contrast themselves from the far right voters to whom Trump is most appealing. In a way, both Sanders and Trump helped make the case.

Will Hillary appreciate that fact and permanently shift towards that agenda? No. She lacks the guts and imagination. Which likely means these lessons will have been wasted on her.

His name is writ in water.

Once she secures the nomination, which is a certainty: she herself has said it’s all wrapped up and any formal selection is merely acknowledgement of what has already been decided; and if she loses to Trump, which is a lot less certain, she doesn’t have to do fuck all on promises she made or pledges given under extortion of receiving less votes. Who’s going to hold her to account ?

The Republican Congress ? The Supreme Court ? The great mass of The People who had voted her in ? Even if they wanted too, which is doubtful since progressives are a minor element in a right-wing society and the Democrats are as fearful and hating of change as the GOP, there’s nothing they could do.
The majority of the population will be happy under either she or Donald, providing the Rich are taken care of, and there’s no structural change to the status quo. If this was not the case, they’d have voted for more radical candidates.

You know… Trump supporters.

I hope we see a groundswell of young, progressive candidates at the local level, who are now energized to fight for the things Bernie is fighting for. But I won’t hold my breath.

I think the same general question was asked of Ralph Nader when plenty of Bernie supporters were in elementary school. Only then, it was posited as, “Gore lost because he wasn’t lefty enough. Will Nader’s ultimate impact be to convince Dems to move further to the left?”

The answer then was that Nader would have basically no legacy. And in two elections, Americans voted pretty convincingly for Obama, who is a lot more like Clinton than he is like Sanders or Nader.

Bernie who?

The Democrats have been put on notice that there are a lot more progressive voters out there than they had thought. Hillary is cautious and conservative by nature, but she’s not stupid and she likes winning, so I definitely think her Administration will pursue somewhat more progressive policies than it would have had Sanders not run such a strong campaign.

In the short term, I’m hoping to see reform in the nominating process, getting rid of superdelegates and closed primaries. This is what happened in 1968, when outrage at Humphrey’s nomination led to the dawn of the modern primary system, which led in turn to McGovern’s nomination in 1972. That didn’t work out so well in the short term, but the alliance of progressives and minorities accounts for a much larger percentage of the voters now than it did then.

Given the demographic split we saw in this primary race, it appears that all the momentum in the long run is with the progressive side. Of course this could change, but I feel I have more reason to be optimistic about the long-range trends in American politics than ever before.
I am hoping that Sanders will be remembered as the Goldwater to some near-future socialist President’s Reagan.

As a small-c conservative in though, my default assumption in our political system is any single person is going to have a very small impact. Likely much less than is assumed at the apex of their importance.

There’s reason to believe that Bernie will follow in a similar vein, I think a lot of people are either a) young, or b) have short memories. Bernie isn’t the first insurgent candidate to reveal there are a lot of voters on x spectrum. Perot, Jerry Brown, Jesse Jackson, McGovern, Goldwater, Nader, Dean, John Anderson, George Wallace. I’d argue none of these “insurgents”, some who had a lot of success (McGovern and Goldwater actually won nominations, George Wallace actually won electoral votes) necessarily turned their support into any kind of meaningful political movement that evoked lasting change. Except perhaps Goldwater and McGovern–but in the opposite sense, in that their insurgent campaigns, that actually won nominations, ended up being so disastrous for their party that their party took steps to try and avoid such things from ever happening again to mixed results if you note we have Trump nominated on the GOP side and had Dukakis in '88–although Dukakis isn’t really that similar to McGovern, he was actually beating Bush in polling for a long time and was basically torn apart by a well oiled attack machine and some political stumbling; McGovern on the other hand never had any chance of beating Nixon.

Something I think that probably hasn’t been recognized is that Sanders may not even be that much more popular than past insurgents (well, we know he’s less popular than the insurgents like McGovern that actually won nominations, or arguably even guys like George Wallace who won electoral votes–I don’t think Sanders as a third party would win a single state other than Vermont.) The thing is Sanders realistic chance of winning the Presidency ended on Super Tuesday. In fact, other candidates in similar vote outcome situations have simply ended their campaigns. They could’ve kept going and eked out more delegates, but simply didn’t see a point in being Don Quixote. Jerry Brown is an example of someone who kept going all the way to the convention even when it was long obvious he was done. I should note that of course an establishment candidate, reliant on traditional fundraising, often doesn’t have the choice of continuing because their funding dried up.

So Bernie is unique somewhat (although again Jerry Brown raised a lot of money through his 1-800 number) in that not only was he obstinate enough to stay in the race when a traditional candidate would’ve conceded, he actually had the money to do so competitively. But even running it out to “go the distance” he still never meaningfully changed the math after Super Tuesday, he was never really seriously in striking distance after that time. So Bernie may not even be more popular, he may just have had more money to keep his campaign going. Howard Dean was really popular in 2004, but his campaign didn’t have the sort of fundraising apparatus that Bernie did and after a few rough primaries he just couldn’t realistically continue. Dean also had a moment (that he’s talked about) when he was hit with some realism by an adviser and realized he had no chance. My perception of Bernie is he’s extremely brash with his staff, and does not tolerate people who would give him advice like that.

Caucuses in general are pretty stupid, but they’ve been a minority of the contests (I think they’re down to like 25% of the delegates now come from caucus states) for a long time, so less caucuses isn’t a meaningful “achievement” of Sanders. It’s also a weird one, since caucuses have been very kind to him (primaries less so.)

I think that insurgent Presidential candidacies are actually poor ways to achieve meaningful intra-party change. I think history shows that building up a caucus of elected legislators tends to actually be what effects major intra-party political change. In fact that’s the only way I think you normally see subsets of a party wield significant power, and there are many, many examples of this. South Democrats (Dixiecrats) before they became Republicans, Tea Party Republicans today, and if you actually look at the transitions from one party system to another historically (like from the era of Good Feelings to the Whig/Democrat era, to the era right before and during the civil war) it’s largely been coalitions of elected officials within a party that have lead to systemic changes in the party.

The problem with these Presidential campaigns, that represent a subset of the party, but without any real elected officials at the high state or Federal level, is it’s basically a movement with a head but no legs.

So, what we need is a much bigger Progressive Congressional Caucus?

Well, or a functioning one. There are more House caucuses than I can count, but a lot of people belong to like 10 of them and they wield almost no power (this is true on both sides of the aisle) and of course some people have overlapping and contradictory caucus memberships. Take a look at this list. So it isn’t just “say we have caucus x and people in it”, because that really means nothing.

It’s more that they have to function as a bloc of power–the best modern day examples that still wield any meaningful power at all would be the House Freedom Caucus (the vehicle through which the Tea Party operates–note that there’s also a Tea Party Caucus that still exists, but these days is largely inactive as its membership essentially transferred operations to the House Freedom Caucus), other ones off the top of my head would be for example the Congressional Black Caucus, the Blue Dog Coalition (dead as a politically relevant force c. 2010), and the powerful Republican Study Committee (the bastion of mainstream fiscal conservatism among the House GOP.)

But if you look at that long list of Congressional Caucuses it should be obvious that many of them you’ve never heard of them and most are probably largely irrelevant. The Congressional Progressive Caucus probably isn’t 100% irrelevant, but it’s not particularly powerful–even within its own party. It takes more than just establishing a caucus (the CPC is some 25 years old at this point), it has to actually act as a cohesive political force and its members need to largely be heavily invested in it. A caucus that left-leaning congresscritters are in but don’t care much about, doesn’t do much for progressive causes.

His whole campaign was built on the foundation that the Democratic party was corrupt and needed to change. I supported him from the beginning, and strongly agree with that statement. Over the last few weeks, he has been asking the superdelegates to switch to his side. You know, getting the “corrupt party leaders” to go against the choice of the voters. The exact thing he was working to stop.

Most reform candidates’ idea of change begins and ends with them being put in charge, no matter how much rhetoric they dress it in.

If you thought this was what his campaign was about you clearly haven’t paid attention; his campaign was primarily about substantive policy differences with Clinton.


I’m merging this thread with your last Bernie thread. Please try to restrain yourself from starting too many threads on one topic in a short amount of time.

One his main hammered at points was Wall street money controlling politics. You don’t have to connect many dots to conclude Democratic party corruption.