On Face the Nation this morning, Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Barack Obama for having failed to follow through properly on his 2008 election victory. If you elect me, Sanders suggested, things will be different.
Sanders’s argument was a familiar one. There was, he proposed, a “grassroots movement” that was ready to insist upon the enactment of Obama’s progressive agenda. But instead of taking advantage of it and “looking Republicans in the eye,” Obama chose to “sit down with Mitch McConnell” and “negotiate.” This, Sanders said, was a mistake, for the Republicans in Washington D.C. just wanted to “obstruct.”
Such a mistake will clearly not be repeated when Bernie is in the White House. Why? Well, because a Sanders presidency will manage to magically obviate our present political divisions and to usher in the broad, sunlit uplands of socialism. Sure, the country is currently split right down the middle. But if Sanders were to win, the American people would come quickly to speak as one in favor of increasing taxes, providing more generous social security benefits, adopting single-payer healthcare, and raising the minimum wage. Before long, Sanders suggested, we would have “a mass grassroots movement that looks Republicans in the eye.” And if those Republicans continued to disagree with a slim majority of the people of Vermont? They’d be “outta here.
Sanders did not explain in detail how his radical platform would yield different results than Obama’s more modest attempts at national transformation. Since 2008, the Democratic party has lost “11 governorships, 13 U.S. Senate seats, 69 House seats, and 913 state legislative seats and 30 state legislative chambers.”