Ash heap of history: The withering away of Bernie Sanders is on

It's not been well remarked by the press, but Bernie Sanders is falling apart in the 2020 campaign.  According to Legal Insurrection, his post-debate slide in the polls was sharper and steeper than even Joe Biden's.  The fresh-faced young people who made up his 2016 core support are fleeing.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-VT) polling numbers have declined for months. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been the primary beneficiary of his falling numbers, in part, by aggressively appealing to the same radical base that Sanders has been trying to win over.

But the results from a fresh round of polls that came out after last week's debate indicate Sanders's issues go way beyond Warren. alum and CNN polling analyst Harry Enten explains:

While much of the attention in post-debate polling has focused on the drop of former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders' polling looks far worse.


Sanders was at just 14% in CNN's latest national poll. That's down from 18% in our last poll. As important, Sanders is now running behind California Sen. Kamala Harris (17%) and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (15%). These are candidates who have lower name recognition than he does.

It's not just the CNN poll, either. Sanders doesn't look much better in Quinnipiac's latest poll, which puts him at 13%. A poll released Wednesday morning by ABC News and The Washington Post did have somewhat better news for him, putting him at 19%, second behind Biden, among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Still, an average of the three polls out this week puts him at 15%.

History has not been kind to primary runner-ups of previous primaries polling this low of a position.

It signals that the 77-year-old socialist's time has come and gone.  He was a flash in the pan, and his time is now up.

Why's he now headed for the dumpster of history?

One, just take that he bombed at the Democratic debate itself, performance-wise.  He spoke of grand pie-in-the-sky socialist programs — from erasing all student loan debt to enacting a huge green agenda to ending all semblance of rule of law at the border, all ideas that would carry gargantuan costs.  Any effort to pin him down as to how he intended to pay for what he wanted were simply things he waved off.  Voters are looking for these things, and Sanders refused to deliver.

Two, he sounded strangely out of touch as he ranted on and on about corporate America, a bizarre, retrograde thing, given the recent exposure of large swathes of corporate America as very left-wing.  Big companies such as Facebook, Google, and Nike are now exposed as establishment haters of the little guy.  (This is why they got Trump.)

Three, Bernie's talk of corporations as our enemy was weird at a time when the economy is doing well.  Corporations that hire people are the bad guys?  Government dependence is better?  A Bernie agenda of yelling about Giant Corporations works only in a lousy Obama-style economy, not a booming one.  

Four, Sanders also spoke a lot about "revolution."  That is what he was selling to voters.  Any idea what he meant by "revolution"?  Does he want us to go out into the streets to smash the state, which is kind of odd for a guy running for president in an established democratic electoral process?  Does he mean he's Castro, a new dictator who mouths revolution talk when what he means is absolute rule for one?  There was just no way of gauging what he meant.  He came off as both out of tune and out of touch, vague as heck about what he wanted.

Five: He's old hat, and there was a big array of fresh faces for leftists to hang their star on, in all kinds of flavors, all mouthing the same Bernie socialism.  Bernie is dispensable now that the entire Democratic Party has adopted his radical agenda.

Six, 2016 is not 2020.  Sanders improbably rose in 2016 because his competition — Hillary Clinton — was simply so much worse.  Not only was Clinton old and in ill health, wheezing her way through the 2016, too "tarred" to go to Wisconsin, but she was the embodiment of old-line swamp corruption based on being in power too long.  Sanders has been since exposed as having a similar profile, with his wife's college failure based on greedy money mismanagement and Sanders's own multiple houses, giving him the lifestyle of a plutocrat.  Living socialist has always meant having a wealthy nomenklatura.  Sanders 2020 is now filling the role of Hillary.

Seven, a second ghost of 2016 haunts Bernie.  The Democrats literally cheated him out of the 2016 nomination, rigging the process entirely for Hillary Clinton.  That's about par for that party, but Bernie said nothing and did nothing.  There was little ruckus, no stink.  He just let them do it, even after the most disgusting revelations about their rigging came out.  Is that a fighter?  Trump won because he was a fighter.  Kamala Harris won the second Democratic debate because she was a fighter, taking on swampy Joe Biden.  Bernie just meekly went along.

Eight, retrograde socialism is nonsense in today's era.  America has never had the feudal underlying conditions that made socialism so natural as a replacement, as happened over in Europe, or any place where tribal satraps and strongmen otherwise rule.  It's too free.  It's too independent.  It's too full of opportunities to move up and down.  There are other options.  And voter polls say "socialism" is about the most unattractive trait a candidate can have, which is why the others don't use the word, even as they espouse its substance.  Bernie's appeal has been on its back foot based on the unfolding horror of Venezuela.  Unlike in the past, he's now claiming he's always meant Denmark socialism, not Chavista Venezuela socialism.  The facts point rather hard at the latter, though, given his past open support for the Castro and Chávez regimes — and Denmark itself's insistence that Sanders doesn't know what he's talking about.

It's all gotten to be too much now.  Sanders is old news, the inevitable fate of a guy who's lost his novelty.  Leftists enjoyed him for awhile, but he got boring to them, and new flavors for them have cropped up.  What a wretched ending for a man with the world's worst failure as his proposal for America.  Good riddance.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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