Good Morning Birdies!
I decided to dive into a recent Jacobin article this morning by Matt Karp:
How he lost and where we go from here.
While sobering, I found the piece thought-provoking, and entirely worth the read.
In fact, I ultimately found it to be somewhat healing, a kind of emerging from the smoky battlefield, damaged, but still mostly intact, and still willing and able to fight the next fight.
The article is extensive and full of nuggets that ring true. Like this one:
All by itself, Bernie’s five-year war did not succeed in reanimating twentieth-century class politics. But if there is any hope for a return to the electoral alignment that produced every major social-democratic reform in history — uniting a diverse working class around pressing demands for redistribution — it lies with the cohort of Sanders voters under age forty-five.
Not only do two-thirds or more of these younger, poorer Americans support Medicare for All, wealth taxes, and other significant reforms — they have shown, in two different primary campaigns, that those fundamental redistributive commitments are strong enough to guide their voting choices. This is not yet a socialist majority, but it is, perhaps, a socialist majority in embryo.
And even as the US population ages, this embryonic majority grows every year, and within every demographic. Despite the folklore about voters growing more conservative as they age, the academic consensus is that ideological preferences are, in fact, quite stable over time. Older millennials, locked out of an increasingly unequal economy, do not appear to be moving to the right. The supermajority that demands national health insurance today, we can bet, will demand national health insurance tomorrow, too.
The impact Bernie made on young people may end up being his most enduring.
(Bernie’s) campaigns assembled a different coalition, centered on younger, lower-income voters from Brownsville to Duluth. In 2020, that working-class coalition was not enough to win the Democratic nomination. And no, Sanders did not manage to turn history on its head and bring the vast reservoir of alienated, apolitical workers back to primary politics.
But by 2032, today’s Bernie voters under fifty will likely represent a majority, and certainly a plurality, within the party electorate. What sort of left will be there to greet them? Will it be a thoroughly post-Sanders progressive movement, whose priorities are defined by social media discourse, billionaire-funded activist NGOs, and a friendly working relationship with the corporate Democratic Party?
Going forward I hope I can help keep the Democratic establishment from co-opting the movement, and do what I can to help keep our eyes on ‘the ball’.
Or will it be a political left that continues the work, to borrow from Lincoln at Gettysburg, that Sanders has thus far so nobly advanced? A left grounded in class politics, and aimed fundamentally at majority-building demands for material redistribution — health care, education, jobs, and family support for all, paid for by the rich? The future is still unwritten.
Happy Sunday! I hope you all enjoy your day.