Sometimes the Obvious Thing Is True: Bernie Sanders Is Just Too Liberal

At the risk of stating the obvious—and the even greater risk of stating it a little too obviously—the most likely reason that Bernie Sanders is losing has nothing to do with his strategy or his toxic followers or Elizabeth Warren refusing to drop out. It’s because he’s too liberal. That’s it.

Even among Democrats, there’s not a majority who identify as liberal, let alone mega liberal. Maybe there will be someday when Millennials and Gen Z take over, but not today.

I know I’m a bit of a broken record on this, but the whole Bernie phenomenon is very much a part of the Twitter bubble. Or maybe it’s just the “online blatherer bubble.” In any case, I belong to a few progressive listservs and support for Joe Biden in those places is approximately zero. On Twitter, you’d think there were no human beings in the country who supported Biden. Even in the more traditional media, there’s an assumption that Biden is just sort of a default choice for some people, but that nobody actively likes the guy.

Maybe so. But out in the real world I think there’s more grass roots support for Biden than he gets credit for. It’s not as loud or as enthusiastic as Sanders or Warren get, but neither is it “establishment” support, as Biden’s weak fundraising shows. Rather, it comes from Biden’s experience; his general likability; his optimism; and yes, some Obama coattails. Polls show pretty clearly that it’s always been there, but it was hidden for a while during the boomlets for other candidates.

I know the red rose crowd doesn’t want to hear this, but America is simply not a super liberal country. Even self-identified Democrats aren’t that liberal. I mean, take a look at who the Democratic nominees have been for the past 30 years: B. Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, and H. Clinton. I’d say this progression shows a party that’s becoming more liberal, but it’s happening damn slowly. It’s just not in Bernie territory yet.

And the country as a whole? Hoo boy. It’s nowhere even close.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate