Civil War on the Left, Ch 71: Bitter Bummed Bernie Bros

It’s been a while since we’ve done an installment in our long running Civil War on the Left series, but it makes sense to take a time-out when the Democrats put it all on display in their nomination contest. But now that the nomination contest is over (maybe), it is fun to see how a lot of the Bernie bros aren’t going quietly into blithering Biden’s good night.

Over at Jacobin, which is the hot magazine on the left these days, Carl Beijer isn’t having any of it in a piece titled “Voters Won’t Risk Their Lives for Joe Biden.” After clearing his throat that capitalism is responsible for the coronavirus, Beijer gets down to business:

Why did Bernie Sanders lose? There will be no dearth of campaign postmortems in the months ahead, and some fraction of the second-guessing may even be plausible, but let us be clear: the Sanders campaign was ultimately destroyed by a political establishment led by capital and marching under the banner of the Democratic Party. . .

Bernie Sanders lost because decades of deliberate propagandizing by the Republican Party, routinely accepted by an inept and complicit Democratic opposition, has entrenched among voters the self-fulfilling conventional wisdom that America is a center-right nation that would never elect even the most moderate democratic socialist.

Bernie Sanders lost because the institutions and system of neoliberal domination in the twenty-first-century United States, while showing clear signs of dysfunction and decline, have yet to collapse beneath the contradictions of capital; and until they do, no amount of activist enthusiasm or strategic savvy or socialist vision or political ambition is likely to prevail against them. . .

Voters are not going to risk their lives for [Biden]. No one is going to join a rally or knock on doors or stand in line at the polls for a man who will not even guarantee them health care if they get sick. No one is going to risk the economic ruin of unemployment and high hospital deductibles for a man who has spent most of his political career championing austerity.

When Hillary Clinton lost four years ago, I wrote that 2016 was the apathy election. Incredibly, the Democratic establishment has chosen to repeat its mistake. It has overcome Bernie Sanders and the movement he inspired, and set in his place a consummate next-in-line figurehead for the neoliberal plutocracy. No one will fight for this man. No one will risk their lives for this man. In 2020, faced with a raging pandemic on one hand and the hopeless politics of the Democratic Party on the other, voters will once more decide, wisely, to stay at home.

And there’s some survey data showing that 10 percent or more of Bernie voters say they won’t support Biden in November. Meanwhile, there is also new polling data showing that much of the rest of the Democratic Party is having buyer’s remorse already. A recent Club for Growth poll found that a majority of Democrats prefer dumping Biden for Andrew Cuomo, with 56 percent preferring Cuomo to 44 percent wanting to stick with Biden. (Caveat: the NY Post news story doesn’t link to the actual poll itself, so we can’t see the questions, but this is not the only poll to suggest a Cuomo boomlet and Biden buyer’s remorse.)

Fortunately, my local stores have not run out of popcorn.

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