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    • This article does a good job summarizing my key concerns with Bernie. Too many skeletons, I'm afraid...

      The author of that Op-Ed is Gabriel Schoenfeld, who was a a senior advisor in the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign and is currently a senior fellow at the conservative think tank, Niskanen Center.  Nikansen views agree with “conservatives’ belief in the wealth- creating power of free markets, and libertarians’ skepticism about the ability of technocratic elites to solve complex economic and social problems.” (Nikansen conspectus)

      So I think it’s fair to say that they would be attacking Sanders even if his record wasn’t as perfect as Joe Biden’s.

      In 2016, even Michael Bloomberg felt Senator Sanders was electable: he said Sanders would’ve crushed Trump.

      Lastly, the below 👇happened two years ago versus almost 50 years ago with the McGovern issue.

    • I know that Biden started the campaign as the biggest champion of unions and was expected to receive the largest support of unions. There’s also the talking point that unions would lose their gold plan healthcare with Medicare for All. However, Sanders currently has the most union endorsements with 29 to Biden’s 9. (Source)

      There’s also the reality that employers can take healthcare benefits away when unions go on strike.

      And some unions see Medicare for All as a way to negotiate for higher wages.

      Our members in Southern California enjoy high-quality, affordable health care coverage. Room attendants have full family coverage with no deductible, and co-pays are capped at $25 per month. We even have a dental center that only serves union members. Perhaps our plan’s most important feature is the eligibility requirement: members need to work a minimum of 80 hours per month to become eligible. Eighty hours a month is 20 hours a week, meaning a part-time server working three shifts a week has affordable health insurance for her family. 

      Given these high-quality health care benefits, why would we support a Medicare for All system?

    • So the only hope to beating Trump IMO is getting the moderate republicans and independents to vote for a Democrat.

      Can someone explain why the same requirement wasn’t placed on Hillary Clinton, i.e. her ability to attract moderate Republicans?

      The 2016 exit polls show she was a dumpster fire as far as achieving any significant conversions: Trump converted the same percentage of Democrats to his side.

      Photo Source: CNN 2016 Exit Polls

    • Can someone explain why the same requirement wasn’t placed on Hillary Clinton, i.e. her ability to attract moderate Republicans?

      My understanding is it should have been and her campaign didn't listen to her husband who actively pushed to spend more time in OH, MI etc.

      (I just googled to find an article supporting my argument but here's one)

      His comments in Michigan marked the last leg of a lonely, one-man war he launched earlier in the election to appeal to working-class and white rural voters, whom senior Clinton staffers reportedly told him were not worth the time or effort. (Source Bill Clinton's lonely, one-man effort to win white working-class voters)

    • Good point about the author being a conservative. I have a cousin who is a dyed in the wool Democrat who fears Bernie’s past may be used against him, so it’s not like only conservatives would take issue. I do think the author is correct that’s the playbook the Republicans will use on him. Maybe it won’t be as effective as I think it will.

    • I would vote for Mitt Romney over Bernie Sanders.

      I like Romney too. And Jon Huntsman. I like to think of myself as non-partisan as I have admired many Republican politicians like George H.W. Bush. Back when climate science was settled in the 80s, before the massive misinformation campaigns, he put together the Clean Air Act, which did a lot of good. His version of the Iraq war was well defined, for good purpose, constrained, and well executed.

      Romneycare in Massachusetts was the inspiration for Obamacare. The Obama administration chose it in part to solicit Republican support since it was a Republican plan.

    • Stephen,

      My understanding of the "centrist strategy" is that it is focused primarily on the independents and only partially to the other party. Notice the relatively large percentage of independents who gave no answer as compared with those who are registered with a party?

      I don't think that Trump's 2016 win was primarily due to the "republican base." It was primarily due to his "appeal" to the "disaffected." Historically, the disaffected tend to be independents and reluctant party members. Consider for example, those who supported Perot.

    • I may be wrong, but I think that George H. W. Bush was influenced by the 8 years that he was in Reagan's administration. He wasn't ever a "hard right" candidate, but I think that he was less of a centrist after being VP than he had been in 1980.

      As for Romneycare, some GOP people think that States should be "big government" but that the national should be "small government." Since Romneycare was a state program, there would be some GOP's that would like that. (An apostrophe is allowed when pluralizing an acronym or an initialism.)

    • I remember Bill Clinton being a complete shit show during the 2016 campaign whenever he opened his mouth in public, however, he was smart enough not to call Trump supporters “Deplorables.” I wonder if Hillary would’ve just antagonized undecided voters if she campaigned like that in Ohio.

    • I have a cousin who is a dyed in the wool Democrat who fears Bernie’s past may be used against him, so it’s not like only conservatives would take issue.

      I think your dyed in the wool Democrat cousin will vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is, because the alternative is four more years of Trump. I just don’t see any party loyalists becoming “Never Sanders” and voting for Trump instead.

      If it was Romney versus Sanders, as in @Chris’s hypothetical, then I could definitely see Moderate Dems crossing over and voting Republican: Romney implemented his own version of the Affordable Care Act when he was governor of Massachusetts and he is the only Republican US Senator to admit that Climate Change is real.

    • I've always thought there was a lot to admire with him. HIs career, work in the church, his family, his success with organizing the olympics, his governorship of Mass... Smart guy, good guy.

    • I would like to think that ignorance can be overcome.

      Four years ago, Medicare for All was a crazy idea from a hippie congressman from Vermont. Today, over 50% of Americans support Medicare for All. (January 30, 2020 The Hill poll)

      Of course, like @Chris’s family members, some people will prefer M4A over socialist “Sanderscare.” 😉

      You also have a generation of Millennials with soul crushing student debt, or an inability to afford the university education or trade school required to get a decent job.

      So compared to four years ago, it’s significantly easier to sell these “socialist” ideas to the disaffected voters that @Shewmaker has talked about. These are the same voters who voted for Obama and then Trump because they hoped there would actually be real positive change in their lives and in their children and grandchildren’s lives.

      I’m not saying it would be easy and there’s obviously no guarantees. But when you look at all the other candidates, they all have plenty of baggage that can turn off swing voters: sexual orientation, racism accusations, former Republican, prosecuted innocent black individuals, East Coast Elite, a woman, age (too young or too old), progressive, in the pocket of Wall Street, etc.

      I mean, do any of the Moderate Dem candidates even come close to Obama in electability?

    • Of course, like @Chris’s family members, some people will prefer M4A over socialist “Sanderscare.” 😉

      Yep. Sanders might be better off if he just emphasized the policies themselves rather than talk about socialism in the abstract. Paul Krugman had a good observation in the NYT:

      So why does Sanders call himself a socialist? I’d say that it’s mainly
      about personal branding, with a dash of glee at shocking the
      bourgeoisie. And this self-indulgence did no harm as long as he was just
      a senator from a very liberal state.

      Krugman distinguishes social democrats from socialists, and believes that Bernie is really the former. I agree with that, but I think Krugman may not be giving enough attention to what motivates populist crowds. I mean, imagine the following call and response:

      What do we want?

      Social democracy.

      When do we want it?

      Sometime in the not too distant future if we can manage to take the senate, too.

      It's the truth but it doesn't scan, does it? Sanders does know how to get a crowd excited. Actually, I'm not at all comfortable with mobs, but if that's what it takes to win an election, I'd rather they be left wing than right.

      The whole article is here:

      I mean, do any of the Moderate Dem candidates even come close to Obama in electability?

      I think you really ought to avoid thinking in terms of electability. It's worth recalling that in 2008 a bunch of pundits wondered if the US was "ready" for a black president. I also remember when there were doubts about JFK because he was Catholic. Trump violated political norms in so many ways that it should now be obvious that conventional wisdom is merely conventional, not wisdom.

    • Yeah, Bernie's biggest problem is what you said: The perception that he's a socialist. He actually identifies as a democratic-socialist, which is different from a socialist. The problem is it still has the word "socialist" in it, which is enough to scare people away.

      However, what does bode well for Bernie is the fact that there is a good chunk of the electorate that wants radical change and he certainly offers that. Plus, he has a pretty strong base following of his own. I also think Bernie has more potential to expand his base than Trump, whose base hasn't grown and if anything shrunk a little since he took office.

    • I dunno, 6 in 10 Americans say they are better off 3 years after electing Trump, according to Gallup, and they give him credit for it. He is now tied with Obama as the most admired man, again according to Gallup. His approval has soared to 49% since his acquittal.

      Obama had similar approval for his re-election but a worse economy and a stronger opponent in Romney and still got reelected. And he didn’t have 6 in 10 people saying they felt better.

    • True, but it’s no guarantee of re-election: Bush, Sr. had about the same approval rating after three years and was a one-term president.

      In 1992, 61% said they were at least as well off as they were at the start of 1989 when President George H.W. Bush took office, compared with 38% who said they were worse off. Bush nonetheless became a one-term president and lost to Bill Clinton. (Source: above article)

      Of course, telling people “Read my lips: no new taxes”—and then violating that promise—may have been Bush’s undoing.

    • "Identifies as democratic-socialist"

      I am frequently both amused and exasperated by the idea that what a person alleges they are is what they are.

      Let's look at the word "democratic" and its usage by those who historically "identified as" democratic.

      Democratic People's Republic of Korea (only one on this list still known by this name)

      Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (and the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan)

      Democratic Government of Albania (from 1944-1946)

      People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

      German Democratic Republic

      Somali Democratic Republic

      People's Democratic Republic of Yemen

      "Identifies as" simply means "claims to be," it doesn't mean that the claim is true.

    • I'm not discussing the factuality of Bernie Sanders's claim. I'm referring to the statement made by slamdunk that including the word "democratic" shows that there is a difference. But the word "democratic" does not clarify a distinction because those who were farther left than Sanders claims to be also used it.

      Because I don't vote, I don't pay a lot of attention to the differences between (as an example) Warren and Sanders, let alone the difference between Sanders and Hugo Chavez. I don't have a bone to pick in that battle.

      I'm referring to a societal shift that has occurred recently. It used to be a maxim that calling a calf's tail a leg doesn't make a tail become a leg. But in our society today this is no longer viewed by many as legitimate.

      The left wants to persuade the right and the center to shift but the left is itself fracturing and its hard to convince others to agree with the left when the left doesn't agree among itself.

      There currently is a big battle in the Radical Feminist movement over whether a biological male who identifies as female should or should not be allowed to compete in Women's Sports. There are some Radical Feminist who claim that allowing a biological male who identifies as female to compete promotes patriarchialism.

      This would not even have been an issue among supporters of Lesbian and Homosexual rights in the 1960s, but society has shifted.

    • Social democrat has a clear political meaning, at least in European politics. Generally, it refers to the center-left, which emphasizes progressive taxation, social welfare protections, civil liberites, and labor rights, among other things. Up until recently it was the dominant ideology, though now it is being threatened by the right. Bernie's policies are fairly similar, except possibly regarding international trade--I'm not too sure of where he stands on that these days, but he used to be a protectionist, I think.

    • Bernie's policies are fairly similar, except possibly regarding international trade--I'm not too sure of where he stands on that these days, but he used to be a protectionist, I think.

      From what I’ve read, Sanders opposed NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the NAFTA replacement (USMCA), because there was no inclusion in the trade deals that (a) would require fair labor practices and protections for all signing countries and (b) would require Climate Change actions by the signing countries. As a result, NAFTA allowed US companies to move production to Mexico where the labor protections and environmental regulations were weaker.

      In the 1970s, Germany’s auto unions tried to get the UAW to increase their pay and benefit demands so that they would both benefit long-term. Instead, the UAW refused, believing they would get more of the production work as the lower labor cost provider. The UAW succeeded in the short-term, until other countries developed their infrastructure enough to become the new lower labor cost provider. China is dealing with the same issue as Vietnam and Bangladesh have started to become lower labor cost providers. IMO, most of the trade deals have been a race to the bottom, benefitting countries with the worst environmental protections and working conditions.

    • IMO, most of the trade deals have been a race to the bottom, benefitting countries with the worst environmental protections and working conditions.

      To be fair, that's the purpose of globalization and trade efficiency - to provide goods and services of equal value for the lowest cost to the consumer. So this is working exactly as people always thought it would, and it's a 'benefit to the consumer'. The fact that balance sheets don't factor in such things as employee health and pollution (which are fawned off on the state, other communities, or the open sea to take care of, for the most part) has always been a problem, IMO. For this reason I've always argued there's no such thing as an open market - open markets require transparency, and someone is always hiding something.

    • I found this Rolling Stone interview from the 2016 election in which Sanders answers the question what is “democratic socialism.”


      To address America’s economic imbalance, you’re proposing a platform of democratic socialism – what does that mean to you?

      Our goal should be a society in which all people have a decent standard of living, not a society in which a few people have incredible wealth while 47 million live in poverty. What it means to me in English is a national health care program that guarantees health care to all people. It means high-quality public education from preschool through graduate school – and one of the important points of the platform that we’re running on is to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. Anybody in this country, regardless of their income, should be able to go get a higher education.

      It means dealing with the fact that significant numbers of people in this country are paying a very large proportion of their incomes in housing. It means that if you’re gonna work 40 hours a week, you don’t live in poverty; that we raise the minimum wage to a living wage.

      Look, nobody knows the magic formula to happiness. But if you have economic security, your life is a lot better than people who are struggling every single day. And I want to create that type of economic security in America.