ART BY JOSEPH MENDOZA
As the bid for the presidency unfolds, the future of the Democratic party becomes more uncertain.
As more states begin to hold their caucuses and primaries–with Iowa and New Hampshire already hosting theirs–the upcoming months will become imperative to the future of the country. Heading the Democratic party are the front-runners Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg; simultaneously, the two represent the party’s polarizing divide that has emerged in the past decade. With Sanders just narrowly beating Buttigieg in the New Hampshire primaries, it’s becoming blatantly obvious that the contender facing Trump in 2020, like the 2016 election, will be from either the progressive or moderate camps.
For many Democrats, the divide is ideological versus practical and such a divide is potentially detrimental to the party. With relatively disparate front-running candidates, there is a fear that the Democrats will blow their chances in the 2020 election by electing a “far-left” candidate: Sanders. As centrists outnumber the liberal candidates, the “establishment” has made a clear intra-party enemy out of Sanders—just like four years ago.
Sanders, a Vermont Senator and touted “democratic socialist” has a wide and expansive track record in politics–serving as a mayor and holding positions in Congress. While technically an independent, Sanders is ideologically closer to a Democrat. Unbeknownst to most, Sanders was a back note in political America before running in the 2016 election. Regardless, from his days as a protestor in the Civil Rights Movement to the arbiter that he is today, Sanders has always upheld a populous platform, even in the ire of capitalist-America.
At the heart of the issue, Sanders is a threat to both Democrats and Republicans for a shared reason: a misunderstanding of socialism. To the economist, especially on the global scale, Sanders policies barely hit left from center; to the establishment and, as Sanders calls his main detractors “corporate media”, they are radicalized socialism–the likes of seizing the means of production. Yet, this misunderstanding is tantamount to ignorance, a result of Red Scare fear-mongering. Sanders is not arguing for a return to normalcy nor is he banking on tired platforms that have done little but stagnate the country, he is spearheading a plan to revolutionize the socioeconomic stratum.
Even with Sanders’ unprecedented five million individual contributions, the narrative instituted by corporate media is that he is an unlikely candidate to win. Though already stated, yet central to the core of this case study, take, for example, the New Hampshire primary results. Occurring earlier last week, Sanders’ narrow margin of victory solidifies his place as the candidate of choice that progressive democrats are rallying behind, as opposed to, say, Senator Elizabeth Warren. Indeed, as the three centrists candidates on the platform of bipartisanship amassed up to 53 percent of the New Hampshire democrat-vote, Sanders encapsulated half of that. Polling at 25.7 percent of the vote, Sanders would receive the most delegates from the state—which will be sent to the national convention to decide which candidate to represent the party. This is imperative. The 2020 race is more competitive and populated than 2016, it intersects at the crossroads of ideology and practicality; electing someone to represent the people or electing someone to defeat Donald Trump–and this is clearly illustrated by Sanders controlling 60.1 percent of New Hampshire’s vote in 2016.
Yes, 53 percent of voters in New Hampshire identify with a centrist candidate, yet, as the moderates contenders continue to split their vote, Sanders continues to make gains across the country. As Sanders’ electability is starkly criticized, his ideas are transcendental. Ironically, as the only prominent candidate in 2016 running on a progressive platform, Sanders’ policies have coalesced to transform the ideological landscape of 2020. As ideas such as Medicare for All and free college have been integrated even into the moderate camp’s objectives, it is clear that Sanders is a transformative force in modern-day politics–which, I might add, is as, if not more, important than beating the current regime.
In the era of Trump, populism will be a force that will continue to grow, take, the elections and continued support for progressive congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Ilhan Omar, for example. Politics is a complex but continually growing subject, and progressivism might be the new norm–for the Democrat party that is.
As the favorability of moderate powerhouses such as Joe Biden plummets, or as candidates like Kamala Harris drop out, Sanders remains a consistent and powerful force for the past four years. This “threat” in the eyes of the establishment Democrats to elect a progressive candidate is painfully obvious as they stumble to find a moderate candidate to place their support behind. Ironically, policies such as Medicare for All that Sanders put into the mainstream are now proliferated by moderate candidates. The openness by center democrats to accept such “radical ideas” illustrates that the ideas are popular among the people, and chiefly, it is indispensable for our democracy to follow the will of the people.
With the highest individual donors, continual gains in Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as a strong performance in 2016, it is clear and obvious that Sanders is the candidate for the people.