Suck it, Bernie Bros — the socialist dream is dead
There’s at least one lethal contagion that will not be rampaging through America in 2020. So long, socialism. Buh-bye, Bolshies. Farewell, Fidel. Ciao, Mao.
Like V.I. Lenin, whose preserved corpse remains on display in Red Square, the Bernie Sanders campaign may have appeared lifelike, but it’s been dead for a long time. Way back on March 3, Sandersista hopes got steamrolled under the 5 mph momentum of Slow Joe Biden’s No Malarkey bus. A whole month ago, way back on March 10, Biden not only enjoyed a clean sweep but romped across Sanders’ beloved proletarian-heavy Michigan, winning by nearly 20 points. Sanders famously won Michigan in 2016, which started the urban legend that Sanders was actually popular with workers. It’s now obvious that the only reason Sanders managed to stir up any mischief whatsoever is that Hillary Clinton was such an exceptionally awful candidate that even a lot of Democrats were desperate to support anyone else, even a guy who spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union.
Yeah, about that: After proudly describing himself as a socialist for 50 years, Sanders, in the last few months, tried to rebrand himself as a “democratic socialist.” And the media dutifully played along. What made it painfully obvious that Sanders was an extremist was that he kept passing up opportunities to come out strongly against the not-so-democratic socialists. Sanders was the front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination on Feb. 23 when Anderson Cooper served him up the softest of all softballs by mentioning Cuba. Anyone who was born before the average college sophomore knows what an American politician does when the name Fidel Castro comes up: You denounce, denounce, and denounce some more. Sanders’ answer to the question was, “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know? When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
Well, Adolf Hitler gave us the Autobahn and the Volkswagen but that isn’t what we remember him for. What kind of stooge cites official statistics in a land that in 2004 was labeled the world’s second-leading jailer of journalists, surpassed only by China? What kind of buffoon doesn’t know that there are no votes to be gained, but a great many to be lost, by praising Communist literacy programs? Bless Bernie, he couldn’t dissemble. He kept saying what he really thought, and because what he thinks is completely bonkers, even the semi-bonkers Democratic Party said, “Eh, maybe not.”
Sure, Joe Biden went along with some of Sanders’ crazy-pants positions, but he probably doesn’t remember them and certainly won’t fight for them. A guy who called Strom Thurmond “one of my closest friends” and whose idea of a hip cultural reference is Fig Newtons isn’t going to push hard for the revolution. He’ll be a caretaker president, and also a caretaken president, expertly guarded from sharp objects by a loving staff of advisers and home-health aides. Biden thinks of the White House as a sort of super-posh nursing home where he can say things like, “We cannot let this, we’ve never allowed any crisis from the Civil War straight through to the pandemic of 17, all the way around, 16, we have never, never let our democracy sakes second fiddle, way they, we can both have a democracy and elections and at the same time correct the public health” and everyone around him will nod politely and ask, would Mr. President like his applesauce now, or after watching “Matlock”?
Without a candidate as despised as Hillary Clinton around, Sanders stood exposed as a niche item whose only real constituency was the “Chapo Trap House” army of beardy liberal arts majors who think America should retroactively pay for those four-year vacations from reality they took at Bowdoin. Sorry, Bernie Bros, you may write 10,000 more angry blog items about “late capitalism” while Mom serves you Chips Ahoy, but it’s socialism whose time is up.
Kyle Smith is critic-at-large for National Review
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