Bernie Sanders’ big victory in the New Hampshire primary is also a major win for President Barack Obama’s goal of fundamentally transforming America.
As Breitbart News noted after Sanders’ dead heat with Hillary Clinton in the Iowa primary, the success of Bernie Sanders is not due to his good looks, charm, or attractive personality. Nor is old-white-man Sanders racking up votes because he represents something demographically new.
Bernie Sanders’ appeal is ideological— Sanders is an unabashed socialist.
As in Iowa, Sanders was overwhelmingly popular with young voters, who have been weaned on two generations of cultural leftism that has dominated the media, entertainment, and academia. This is the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter generation who have been sold T-shirt socialism in the form of hipster memes about income inequality and racial prejudice; the spoiled children who have reaped the benefits of the technology and general prosperity of our vaguely capitalist mixed economy.
Bernie Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton in this demographic. As Breitbart News reported, NBC’s exit polls showed Sanders getting a stunning 83 percent of the under-30 vote.
As a piece from today on leftist news site Vox trumpeted: Bernie Sanders is the Future of the Democratic Party. Writer Matthew Yglesias is realistic about Sanders’ flaws as a candidate, but he sees that the current Democratic Party as exemplified by Hillary Clinton just isn’t far enough to the left, and that the GOP is ideologically in lockstep.
The success of the Bernie Sanders campaign—not just in Iowa and tonight’s polarizing victory in New Hampshire, but also nationally— shows that Yglesias has his finger on the pulse of the Democrats when he writes that “There’s robust demand among Democrats — especially the next generation of Democrats — to remake the party along more ideological, more social democratic lines, and party leaders are going to have to answer that demand or get steamrolled.”
Yglesias, like many young Democrats, sees the party as too moderate. He chides the Establishment Democrats, saying:
…they behave more like a centrist, interest group brokerage party that seeks to mediate between the claims and concerns of left-wing activists groups and those of important members of the business community — especially industries like finance, Hollywood, and tech that are based in liberal coastal states and whose executives generally espouse a progressive outlook on cultural change.
Sanders’s core proposition, separate from the details of the political revolution, is that for progressives to win they need to first organize and dominate an ideologically left-wing political party that is counterpoised to the ideological right-wing Republican Party.
New Hampshire could be Hillary Clinton’s wake-up call to bring her campaign even more explicitly to the left.
To beat Sanders, she would need to embrace her inner radical and stake out positions on issues like reparations for slavery or single-payer health care that would put her in better stead with the radical faction that has been energized by the presidency of Barack Obama.