Bernie Sanders 2020 is Now Trump 2016, And It Will Not End Well For the Country
Despite warnings from a few people like me, after the Nevada Caucus, the Democratic Party, whether it likes it or not, now has Bernie Sanders as the clear front-runner for its presidential nomination. The similarities between where Sanders is now, and where President Donald Trump was in 2016, are so striking they almost defy belief.
The ultimate outcome, no matter how it all pans out, will likely be worse for the country than even 2016 ended up being. And, contrary to what most so-called experts seem willing to admit, there is already likely very little anyone can do about it now.
Sanders 2020 is so similar to Trump 2016 that it almost comical. Just consider that…
- Both were total outsiders from their own party, of which they have never even really been a part, who ran insurgency campaigns while backing politically fringe-like policies.
- Both were very well known before the race, but had never actually endured legitimate media scrutiny or vetting because they were never taken seriously as a presidential contender, and they made for good content and narrative.
- Both had rabid, populist and cult-like followings which, once they became the front-runner, made it nearly impossible for them to be taken out because it would mean causing many of their party’s most passionate voters to get irate and stay home on election day (an advantage exacerbated by the fact that the looming general election opponent was so feared and despised that their party was willing to literally endure anything to not risk losing to them).
- Both benefited tremendously from an impotent party establishment that was way too late to take them seriously, and too powerless to do anything about them once they finally did.
- Both were helped by having too many candidates who clogged up the field and allowed them to win early primaries with less than one-third of the vote. Those opponents then selfishly stayed in the race too long as they delusionally believed that the front-runner would somehow implode.
- Both are now reportedly being aided by the Russian government.
- Ironically, they are even similar on one of their greatest differences. Sanders is a wealthy man pretending to be poor, and Trump is a wealthier man pretending to be super-wealthy.
The 2020 Democratic casting isn’t just identical to GOP 2016 when it comes to the lead character. The rest of this year’s primary players also have close comparisons to that of the 2016 passion play.
- Joe Biden is much like Jeb Bush, the establishment/legacy candidate who underperformed expectations and could never get any real momentum (though Biden is doing much better than Bush did, and is now probably the only candidate, other than maybe Mike Bloomberg, with a theoretical chance to stop Sanders).
- Elizabeth Warren is playing the part of Ted Cruz, the ideological purist who stayed in the race too long because of ego and an overestimation of their own chances of taking out the front-runner, once the party surely, finally came to their senses.
- Pete Buttigieg is similar to Marco Rubio, the young, well spoken, future of the party who could have won had the breaks gone their way, but who never quite caught on like they might have.
- Amy Klobuchar is much like John Kasich, the earnest/credible/experienced/working-class moderate who would have done very well in a general election, but who couldn’t create enough excitement in a political world now dominated only by those who can appeal to the extremes.
- Michael Bloomberg’s role is reminiscent of that of the “GOP Establishment,” which was supposed to ride in on its white horse and save the day by making sure that Trump didn’t take over the party and lose to Hillary Clinton. Only, just like that establishment, it appears to be turning out, at least based on his dreadful first debate performance, that Bloomberg, for all of his money, was really just a paper tiger.
- The news media is largely reprising their role of Trump’s enabler. With few exceptions, even those liberals in the media who know Sanders is a horrible candidate to go up against Trump are extremely hesitant to attack him. Why bother? You get the wrath of Sanders’ cult, and, since it looks like he is going to be the nominee, you will look out of touch. Plus, anything that provides them with another four years of Trump’s ratings and content (or, if Sanders were to win, a whole new exciting government dynamic), thus keeping them employed, sounds pretty good to the news media, especially in comparison to a boring Joe Biden presidency.
- Similarly, Vladimir Putin is still playing the role of Vladimir Putin. He just hasn’t yet decided to whom he will give his general election endorsement.
For the record, it is still possible for Sanders to be denied the nomination at the Democratic Convention, but that would cause such a bloody war within the party that, much like what happened to the GOP in 2016, no one will have the power or the guts to pull the trigger on that seemingly plausible scenario. Also, unlike most conservative commentators, I am not convinced just yet that Sanders is a for-sure loser to Trump.
However, I am totally persuaded that a Sanders vs. Trump matchup (probably with some sort of third-party effort) is now extremely likely and quite possibly inevitable. It would also be absolutely horrendous for the country, regardless of the final outcome it produces.
John Ziegler is a senior columnist for Mediaite. He hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at [email protected]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.