Column

America Is Gonna Save the Democratic Establishment by Destroying It

Bernie Sanders won in New Hampshire. But that won’t stop the old guard from pretending like it still doesn’t matter.

Sen. Bernie Sanders after winning the New Hampshire Primary on February 11, 2020, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images

BBernie Sanders won New Hampshire last night. As it stands right now, Sanders is the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination at FiveThirtyEight, at RealClearPolitics, or at whatever other political sportsbook suits your fancy. He’s gonna win this thing. But before he does, we’re gonna be forced to hear every last Establishment pud tell you why he can’t or why he shouldn’t, and then you’ll hear them interpret the returns in the least favorable way possible for him. (Wow, such a strong showing tonight for Not Bernie with nearly 75% of the votes!) That goes for Sanders’ rival candidates, including the ASCENDANT Amy Klobuchar, who blasted her way to a remarkable third-place finish last night and currently has a robust 2.6% chance of winning South Carolina. WOW. Huge. It’s like I’m watching a rocket take off!

That also includes you, Mike Bloomberg. And you too, Dreaded Mayor Pete. You possess Ted Cruz’s debate club pedigree and his winning personality, so congrats on securing a job on the Lockheed Martin board when this is all said and done! And Joe Biden! You, ol’ Joe, are too busy challenging voters to a thumb-wrestling match to notice that your campaign is in the toilet. You should keep harassing the same people you need to help you win. It’s going great so far!

We don’t have to listen to any of these people. They’re all jockeying to be the official Not Bernie candidate, and they’re all gonna pitch us the idea that they and only they can beat Trump. Beating Trump is the only goal many of them have, and they have no other real plans past that. As Osita Nwanevu wrote last month, “Our elections should never be about elections.” That’s precisely what you, Joe Biden, would like this election to be about. You believe beating Trump is enough. I dare say that we’re allowed to expect more. Trump is far from the only turd in the punch bowl, old man. We don’t have to listen to you, and fewer and fewer of us are by the day.

And we don’t have to listen to the national press on this, either. The more Bernie succeeds, the more the truth gets laid bare. That means you, Chuck Todd. And you, living Cold War artifact Chris Matthews. You got so hot under your Thomas Pink collar about Sanders’ policies that MAGA Twitter fell in love with you in an instant. Hey, maybe Ivanka will ask you and the wife over for dinner one night! I bet that would be a hoot! Hard to serve a four-course dinner to someone to lives inside their own ass, but Ivanka’s a pro at it!

And you, crawboomer James Carville. You were a dinosaur 30 years ago and you still think that the left supporting a candidate who leans, you know, leftward, is insanity. You Democrats… you shouldn’t vote for the rebel! This Bernie guy is DANGEROUS, what with his mission to make education and health care universal rights! What if voting for this guy means every voice in America is heard? We might have actual outside thinking in leadership and not just poser outsiders! This is a man who literally says in ads that he’s the Democratic establishment’s worst nightmare. Can’t see any crossover appeal there!

Jimmy — may I call you Jimmy? — you’re one of those “Twitter ain’t real life!” types whose own real life bears NO resemblance whatsoever to what average voters are living through. And you think you’re the prime oracle for what we want? Who’s the real bullshitter here? Listen to Carville spit weak fire on behalf of keeping people miserable:

“Here’s another stupid thing: Democrats talking about free college tuition or debt forgiveness. I’m not here to debate the idea. What I can tell you is that people all over this country worked their way through school, sent their kids to school, paid off student loans. They don’t want to hear this shit.”

Actually, according to your precious polls, we’d very much like to hear that shit! You know what we don’t wanna hear? Some career Clinton whisperer telling us that we don’t actually want anything good. All you TV people and all you pundits and all you consultants are a political party of your own, and that massive disconnect grows clearer by the day. You need us more than we need you. So go ahead and gnash your teeth and clutch your pearls and yell at voters that they’re voting wrong. You’ll be SHOCKED when you discover that we have minds of our own.

There’s a new counterculture, and you don’t get to be part of it. I can’t believe that Methuselah Sanders somehow gets this more than any of you do.

We don’t have to listen to any of you. You can try to do the thing with Sanders that HuffPo did with Trump in 2016, where they pretended his campaign belonged on the entertainment pages because it wasn’t real. That gambit failed, because who are any of you to tell us what’s real? Many of you work in television, the fakest universe possible. You had your shot at trying to tell America what to do, and you BLEW IT. I’d like your gravy train to come to a screeching halt, and I am hardly alone among the electorate on that.

This isn’t your world anymore. That’s why “OK boomer” is such an effective little burn: because it makes that point explicit. You think you know best. You don’t. You think those who inherited this world from you ought to be more grateful. We shouldn’t be. You think you know the key to beating Trump. You didn’t have it four years ago, so why do you know any better now? You think you’re wise! LOL you ain’t shit. Your perceptions of what is normal and how things ought to work mean exactly nothing right now. You’re getting paid nicely to deny that fact in print and on television, but we don’t have to hear it. There’s a new counterculture, and you don’t get to be part of it. I can’t believe that Methuselah Sanders somehow gets this more than any of you do.

The harder you fight against the best interests of everyone, the quicker you’ll lose. Sanders is still in a dogfight, but the ring is clearing out quickly. There is a great, silenced majority out there in America right now. They’ve been silenced by voter suppression, electioneering, gerrymandering, intimidation, money, mass incarceration, disinformation, a press whose self-loyalty is exceeded only by that of the president’s, and general ignorance. Take me, for example. Ten years ago, if you had told me a candidate wanted to make college free, I would have said that candidate was a nutcase. I’d been hoodwinked by a class of fake thinkers in the press who only entertain the notion of change so long as nothing changes for THEM. So it never occurred to me that America doesn’t have to be like this.

It’s occurring to me now. What you are witnessing, in real time, is a silenced majority slowly realizing they don’t have to eat shit anymore. The spell is breaking. That glaring disconnect between what people want and what an increasingly isolated pundit class wants them to want only bolsters the cause of a truly progressive candidate. If Mayor Pete manages to rig enough coin flips on Super Tuesday, maybe Carville and the rest of you fuckers will be able to keep a tenuous grasp on your Elite Flyer status for another four years. But what’s much more likely is that you are done. Finished. It’s time other people’s voices were heard.

Columnist at GEN. Co-founder, Defector. Author of Point B.

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