Ethics & Public Policy Center

Establishment Democrats Still Fundamentally Misunderstand Bernie Sanders

Published in The Washington Post on February 25, 2020


Establishment Democrats are deeply afraid of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) becoming their party’s presidential nominee. They may be right to be concerned, but they are still thinking politics is between left and right. Sanders, like Trump, understands that the new politics emerging worldwide is more about ins vs. outs.

Sanders’s politics may be socialist, but his appeal is that of an outsider. He tells the people dissatisfied with America that tinkering around the edges isn’t enough; the country needs radical change. The fact that he has never been a Democrat is, for his supporters, cause to trust him. There’s a reason the PAC spun out of his losing 2016 effort is called “Our Revolution.”

The establishment is, by definition, a collection of insiders. They benefit from the current system and favor only incremental change, not revolution. They may support some of the same goals as Sandernistas, but they aren’t fundamentally angry about America itself. That’s one reason they find it so difficult to respond to Sanders’s challenge. It’s also a reason blasting Sanders as extreme or unelectable won’t make his army smaller.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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