Can Bernie Sanders Win?


It has been common for left-wing American intellectuals to claim that there is really only one American political party with two wings, both of which essentially serve business interests. The massive backing both Democrats and Republicans traditionally get from Wall Street and other big money supports the one-party thesis. But the rise of the so-called Tea Party within the Republican Party and the consequent turn to the hard right has called this thesis into question. Now even the premier American left-wing intellectual Noam Chomsky admits that things have changed. Chomsky now argues that the Republican Party is no longer a political party at all; it has become a radical insurgency. (

Amazingly—at least is amazes me—Chomsky’s view of Bernie Sanders, who seems to be leading a sort of radical insurgency in the Democratic party, doesn’t differ much from the conventional wisdom. Chomsky thinks Sanders has by far the better positions, but Hilary Clinton is electable, and Sanders isn’t. That Noam Chomsky, of all people, plans to vote Democratic no matter who the nominee is shows just how far the Republicans have gone over the cliff. The idea of a science-denying, sabre-rattling ignoramus in the White House is just too scary, even for those who are very cynical about the Democrats.

But I believe that if Bernie Sanders can get the Democratic nomination, he has a real chance of winning the general election, especially if the Republican nominee is Donald Trump. The conventional wisdom says that Americans hate the government, but in reality Americans hate government only in the abstract; they love government programs like Medicare and Social Security. Bernie Sanders is articulating a class analysis: the problem isn’t government itself, but the fact that the government has been bought by the billionaire class. That analysis is resonating with voters, especially young voters, who are overloaded with student debt and have dim job prospects. Sanders’ analysis might also start to resonate with many Trump supporters when they tire of Trump’s content-free bravado and macho posturing.

A persuasive case can be made that just as the Republican Party has moved right, a majority of Americans have moved left. If that’s the case, Bernie Sanders can certainly win.


4 thoughts on “Can Bernie Sanders Win?

  1. You say:

    “But I believe that if Bernie Sanders can get the Democratic nomination, he has a real chance of winning the general election, especially if the Republican nominee is Donald Trump.”

    Funny, I heard just the opposite: Bernie being the Democratic candidate in a general election would be the greatest gift that Trump could get. Can America, a society that rejects universal health care for its citizens, really elect a genuine “socialist”?? Can you expand on this?


  2. Some do indeed believe that Americans will never elect a self-described socialist, and they may be right. But there is some evidence–the very fact that a self- described socialist has emerged as a viable candidate, for example–that maybe the term “socialist’ isn’t what it used to be in American politics. In the past, socialism conjured up Soviet communism; now it is associated more with Scandinavia. Two-thirds of Republicans have said they would never vote for Trump, so if the lunatic wing of the Republican Party prevails, and Trump gets the nomination, the Democrats could probably win if they ran Beelzebub.


  3. Makes some sense, I suppose!

    So before too long America will replace the economically totally inefficient Obama Care with a genuine publicly funded National Health insurance program?

    (I suppose it’s not impossible once the public learns how totally inefficient Obama care is compared to the rest of the civilized word, but let’s at least admit that Obama Care got is the first step.)


  4. Wait a minute. Obamacare can’t be compared to the rest of the civilized world. Obmacare is a health insurance program, and the rest of the world is, well, the rest of the world. It’s like, well, a bunch of countries.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s