To do otherwise would put Trumpers and Bernie Bros on the same side: Against the Democratic Party.
The Enemy of My Enemy
What do Bernie Bros have in common with Trump supporters? Conventional wisdom says very little.
Bernie Sanders supporters fall firmly on the liberal progressive side of the ideological spectrum. They espouse universal healthcare, free college for all, the Green New Deal, abolishing ICE, relaxing immigration laws, tightening gun restrictions, and raising taxes on the wealthy.
Whether or not they actually call themselves Democratic Socialists, as Sanders does, the policies Sanders fans support are heavily socialistic. Most of the ideas Sanders touts would involve more government control of private industries and higher taxes on the working and middle class.
Trump supporters fall on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, holding fast to conservative ideals like individual freedom, free market capitalism, lower taxes and less government regulation.
What these two groups have in common is rage against the status quo.
People who voted for Trump in 2016 wanted to “drain the swamp”. People who want to vote for Bernie Sanders in 2020 want the same thing. Most know that business as usual in Washington isn’t working for everyone. Some even think business as usual in Washing is working for no one.
It is no secret that the current state of the Democratic primary field has the party between a rock and a hard place.
With Biden hopelessly lost in the weeds, billionaire Michael Bloomberg is starting to look better and better to Democrats. At least, his billions are looking better and better.
Should the party nominate a centrist like Bloomberg and risk alienating young, progressive and still-idealistic voters? Or should the party nominate a lightening rod like Sanders, knowing that the socialist label he carries could alienate older voters and ultimately sink his chances?
The Democratic Party might not know it yet, but the decision has already been made. It was made in 2016 when the DNC denied the nomination to Sanders, favored Hillary Clinton and lost the race anyway.
Sanders fans want their rematch in 2020 and nothing else can possibly satisfy them. Liberal Democrats who were denied Sanders in 2016 were told to shut-up and get in line behind Hillary Clinton. And most did.
And the rest, as they say, is history: Donald Trump won.
With 2016 an indelible part of its track record, what the Democratic Party must not do, what it cannot now do, is allow the nomination to fall to anyone other than Bernie Sanders.
Nothing but Sanders as the nominee will satisfy young progressive liberal Democrats who will not go quietly into that good night and meekly fall in line to vote for Michael Bloomberg.
This time, they will rage against the dying of the light.
And they won’t have to do it alone.
There is another large and vocal group who thinks the Democratic Party is rotten to the core: Donald Trump and his army of Trump supporters.
Donald Trump has already tweeted his views on the Democratic nomination process, and has even hinted repeatedly that Democrats will try and cheat Sanders out of the nomination as they did in 2016.
The Democratic Party must not create a situation where furious and disenfranchised Bernie Sanders voters and Trump supporters are united against Democratic Party leadership.
And the media.
CNN’s shoddy treatment of Sanders during the last debate has already driven too many liberal progressives into the camps of waiting Trump supporters. Now both groups, though opposite on the idealogical spectrum, agree that the media is not neutral, and isn’t even really liberal.
That the mainstream media has been carrying water for the Democratic Party is something Republicans have been saying for years. Now, they aren’t the only ones saying it.
Registered Democrats don’t generally pay much attention to what Republicans and Donald Trump are complaining about.
But they will pay more attention to fellow Democrats whose liberal progressive champion was stamped out- again- by a party so out of touch with its base that it was willing to let Bloomberg buy the nomination. This time, everyone will hear about it too, because Trump won’t stop tweeting about it.
And no one ignores Trump’s tweets, as much as they might want to.
In 2016, an estimated 12% of Bernie Sanders supporters rage-voted for Donald Trump. If the Democratic Party again refuses to let the nomination go to Sanders these voters might leave and never come back.
And while they may not be willing to join up with the Republicans, their refusal to vote Democrat will make Trump’s reelection a certainty. Their deflection might deliver another Republican president after Trump.
Sanders may not be a perfect candidate. But he is the best candidate Democrats have in the race right now.
He has managed to secure the lead while fighting two major political parties, including his own, and suffering a heart attack. His supporters, unlike Democrats supporting Biden or Elizabeth Warren, are loyal and their faith in Sanders seems well-nigh unshakable.
Ideologically, Sanders is a true liberal progressive. Unlike other candidates trying to emulate him, the liberal progressive mindset is his default setting.
Does the Democratic Party believe in these things or not?
Bernie Sanders says Michael Bloomberg has no right to buy the nomination from him. He has a point. Allowing Bloomberg to become the nominee goes against everything in which the Democratic Party claims to believe.
The Democratic Party must cease all efforts to stop Bernie Sanders and let the process the work as it is supposed to; by revealing the most popular candidate. The Democratic Party needs to field its best candidate; not the candidate it thinks most likely to defeat Donald Trump.
The latter criteria, as Hillary Clinton so disastrously demonstrated in 2016, is ephemeral, unknowable. The first criteria, however, couldn’t be plainer.
Sen. Bernie Sanders is the best candidate the Democratic Party has in 2020. He is the candidate that most closely reflects the progressive values of the Democratic Party.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)