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Readers Respond to the Sanders' Surge, Pt. 1

For the record, I do not support Bernie Sanders. I have many of the same reservations about him that I think you, and many of your readers share. I’m a Warren supporter. One that (like many, I’m sure) is confused, and a little miffed about why she doesn’t get more traction. I say I don’t support or fully trust Sanders, but I do understand where he comes from, and I would welcome his nomination well above that of Biden, or any of the other “safer(?)” candidates.

I feel like your stance on this is far too narrowly focused on the horse race, and you are missing badly on a much more important broad point about the political era we are entering. Yes, Donald Trump is a threat. Yes, removing him from office is of paramount importance. I understand the importance of the moment. But if the Democratic Party offers up “going back to normal” as a response to this moment, we all stand to lose.

Maybe not this election. I can see how a return to something familiar might drive enough vote to win a cycle. But in the long run, nothing about the status quo of the Democratic Party platform over the past forty years is going to save the country from the underlying decay that laid a foundation for the rise of Donald Trump.

We all have to take a step back, and realize how the capitulation to the conservative Overton Window shifting over the past 40 years has led to this point. As politically active liberals, we share in some of that blame. We allow the easier path of the moment to silence our own better judgement. Because of that, public policy has slid ever further to the right, and the Democratic Party has become less and less vocal about how they intend to fix the issues that we all know exist. The very issues that foster the rise of the authoritarian right in our country. We are strengthening the paralysis destroying our system. When we pick safe, and don’t actually argue the merits of our vision, we cede to our opponent that maybe our vision isn’t so great after all.

At some point, we have to start playing offense. At some point we have to take the big risk that we won’t win, rather than being too scared to try. Sanders at least represents an unvarnished and unapologetic response to the problems of our time. He at least attempts to offer a counter argument to the people that we have spent forty years just accepting won’t vote for us, while snidely deriding their judgement. Smugly decrying their willingness to vote against their own interests, while failing to boldly offer them a platform that explicitly benefits their self interests.

If we offer up the status quo, we are damned to live in the toxic stew that fostered Donald Trump’s rise. I’m not prepared to live on my knees with that anymore. The first few primary states seem to be showing us that I’m not totally alone here. i fear that the naval gazing brought on by a focus on the horse race math is going to doom us again. I at least have to point out my distaste for that.

About The Author


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.