On Sunday evening, NBC News reported that former Secretary of State John Kerry, while stumping for former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa, was overheard in a Des Moines hotel describing the steps he would have to take to run for president, given “the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole.” If true, Kerry’s remarks are just the tip of the iceberg in highlighting the general discomfort felt by many establishment figures within the party.
Although Kerry responded with a profanity-laced tweet denying the allegations (later deleting the tweet and replacing it with the PG version), the notion that establishment Democrats may in fact be fearful of a Sanders candidacy is not new. Now, I don’t feel bad for establishment Democrats scrambling to find a left-of-center candidate to challenge the surging self-declared socialist rising in their midst. For years, Democrats in Washington have played footsie with the avante garde Marxists within their party, yet now have the audacity to feign shock at the possibility that these Marxists might actually seek to run the party.
For months, Democratic leaders, as well as big Democrat donors, have expressed consternation at the thought of a directly socialist candidate leading the Democratic Party. The New York Times reported in April of last year about the growing discontent felt among the Democratic donor class about a Sanders nomination, while AP reported mere weeks ago about the rising crescendo of fear within the Democratic party, citing a host of Obama administration veterans and Democratic leaders who believe Sanders presents a “tough” platform for Democrats across the country to run on.
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who once worked as a senior aide to President Obama, pointed to the difficulties of a Sanders’ candidacy, given the senator’s identity as a democratic socialist and staunch support of radical health-care redistribution, like “Medicare for All.”
Even President Obama has joined the anti-Bernie fray. Back in November, Politico reported that President Barack Obama privately assured that he would “speak up” to stop Sanders if it looked as if the Vermont politician were going to clinch the Democratic nomination.
But again, it’s hard to feel sympathy for establishment Democrats fearing a socialist wave. These are the same individuals who championed the rise of the socialist-laden “Squad” and shamed anyone for daring to question the communist-like “Green New Deal” proposed by one of their members. These are also the same people who have championed government-run medicine since at least Hillary Clinton during the early ’90s. In a Soviet-like maneuver, these are the same individuals who reinvigorated class warfare rhetoric to challenge President Trump’s tax cuts, the repeal of net neutrality, and basically any anti-socialist policy.
Indeed, Speaker of the House and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi sat idly by as members of her own party proposed abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reminiscent of the sort of borderless world rhetoric that emanates from those chasing a socialist utopia.
When conservative figures attempted to warn the left about the rise of socialism on college campuses, they were summarily dismissed and their speakers chased off those campuses. Democrats saw the potential for young voters to keep them in office and consequently did their utmost not to criticize rabid left-wingers, exhibiting the sort of desperation that you would expect from the Resistance.
As it stands now, polling reveals that the majority of Millennials and Generation Z tend towards socialist policies. According to an Axios poll conducted last year, almost three-quarters of Millennials and Generation Zers support socialist health care, funded by the government. Nearly 70 percent believe taxpayers should pay for all college costs. Half of them state that they would prefer to live in a socialist country, and more than 40 percent support abolishing ICE.
While it’s comforting to see establishment Democrats alarmed at the radical left’s takeover of the party, the recognition is simply too little, too late. If Sanders wins the nomination, it will be because the left didn’t take the threat of socialism seriously and embraced it for political gain. Someone savvy should ask Pelosi whether her Rolling Stone cover with the “Squad” was worth the destruction of her party. I have a feeling her answer will be interesting.