The Democrats were neoliberal partners in Trump’s ascent; now they seem determined to ensure the second term of a presidency that could ring the death knell for what’s left of U.S.-American democracy. Loathe to impeach the impeachment-worthy Trump since they think (correctly perhaps) that action would enhance his chances for re-election in 2020, establishment Democrats are working hard again, as in 2015-16, to undermine the presidential candidacy of the Democratic contender who is most able and ready to rally the disadvantaged constituencies who will have to turn out if the orange monster is going to be removed by ballot in 2020.
That candidate is the neo-New Deal progressive-populist Bernie Sanders. He is the target of a multi-pronged “Stop Sanders” movement within the Democratic Party and across its many establishment media and non-profit outposts. This reactionary operation includes at least ten related lines of attack:
+1. Flooding the primary campaign with such an absurdly large number of candidates [Buttigieg] that Sanders will likely be unable to garner the majority of primary delegates required for a first-ballot nomination at the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.
+2. Coordination among the Democratic Convention superdelegates—the more than 350 county and state party bosses and elected officials who are granted delegate status without election—to vote as a bloc to stop Sanders on the convention’s second ballot. (These superdelegates exist precisely for the purpose of blocking challengers to the party’s corporate establishment.)
+3. Ongoing efforts to change state party elections from caucuses to primaries, as caucuses are friendlier to progressive challengers. (Sanders won 11 of the nation’s 18 caucus states three years ago.)
+4. The disingenuous theft of many of Sanders’ sincerely held progressive policies by corporate candidates who have no intention of fighting to implement them if they attain the presidency.
+5. Appealing to the name recognition of the right-wing corporatist-imperialist Joe Biden, along with the public’s misplaced nostalgia for Barack Obama’s Wall Street-captive presidency—both of which will be wielded as weapons against Sanders’ progressive populism.
+6. Repeated identity-wielding “gotchya” efforts to make Bernie seem indifferent to Black and female voters.
+7. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s sickening decision to block contracts with campaign consultants and other political vendors who agree to work for progressive challengers in the 2020 primaries. (Besides seeking to protect Congress itself as a corporate preserve, this move aims to deny Sanders congressional allies and undermine his ability to govern if elected.)
+8. Recurrent claims that Sanders “isn’t a Democrat” even though Bernie has long functioned essentially as one in Congress and Vermont politics (his “Independent” status is for show).
+9. Smearing Sanders’ popular social-democratic policy agenda as “fantastic,” “unaffordable,” “unrealistic” and too dangerously “socialist”—this while Democratic elites refuse to acknowledge the fascist tendencies of the president they helped elect in 2016.
+10. Branding the eminently electable Sanders “unelectable” on the grounds that he is an “extremist” who is “too far left” for the U.S. electorate generally and independent voters specifically. In reality, the opposite is true. Sanders appeals to independents (who are nowhere near as conservative as is commonly reported), people of color, infrequent voters and the white working-class that has largely abandoned the Democratic Party. His anti-establishment message, coupled with his long record of representing rural voters, makes him highly competitive with Trump, not only in the Rust Belts states where Hillary Clinton faltered but even in some dark red states like West Virginia. (Even Karl Rove believes Sanders could defeat Trump in 2020.)
It’s nasty stuff, but it’s nothing new and nobody should be surprised. The Democratic Party exists to serve its corporate clients. Consistent with their party’s Big Business bankrollers’ bottom line world view, establishment Democrats would rather lose to a fascistic white-Amerikaner right than to even the mildly social-democratic left within their own party. It’s why the late left-liberal political scientist Sheldon Wolin labeled them “the Inauthentic Opposition.”