We don’t really need to wonder whether the Bernie or Bust sentiment is real. We already saw it in 2010 when the Democratic electorate rolled over and let the Tea Party move in.
Even at the end of Obama’s first term, pundits saw that his flaw wasn’t that he wasn’t moderate enough, but that he was too moderate: too much help to the bankers and insurance companies, not enough help to the struggling homeowners and those thrown into unemployment by the Global Financial Crisis and the Great Recession. The ACA was a boon to health insurance companies, but what he ran on and what people wanted was the public option.
Part of that was political reality. Despite controlling both houses, that hold was tenuous and there were Democrats who sided against him (who are now mostly long gone and replaced with Tea Party Republicans). But some of it was a failure to successfully communicate how, despite all the continuing problems, things were moving in the right direction. Maybe the electorate didn’t want to listen. But for someone who is known for his soaring rhetoric, he didn’t deploy it when it might have made a great difference.
But moderation already failed once. What was that definition of insanity again that is frequently (mis)attributed to Einstein?
It does seem like a lot of people in my social media bubble have totally forgotten how horrible the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis was because it’s gotten a lot better for a lot of people.
But the tent cities are still there, they’re just not on camera anymore. Unarmed people of color are still getting killed by cops. People are being crushed by educational debt, some of which isn’t even dischargeable by death.
Wall Street’s practices haven’t changed since the GFC. There are still complex and opaque securities and financial instruments that rest entirely on constructs of probability theory and advanced math. “It can’t happen again” they say. We keep doing what we keep doing, thinking it’s going to turn out different somehow.
I feel like we’re standing on a cliff’s edge. We can either keep climbing, or we can go back down (or we can fall off). The last thing we ought to do is just stay put and hope for the best.