Less than a week ago at the time of this article’s writing, Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election and many college students rejoiced once again. Well, as I am prone to do, I am here to ruin that optimism.
Sanders is the worst thing that could happen to Democrats right now. Before the ball truly gets rolling for the next election cycle, I feel it important for liberals everywhere to realize Sanders will do nothing but take precious votes away from Democrats and lead to another four years of President Donald Trump.
His socialist views are much too extreme to garner the support of a majority in this nation, and while it is nice to throw around "free this" and "free that," it does not appeal to moderates, who will be the deciding factor for the 2020 election.
To explain it simply, the tribalistic politics gripping our country nowadays essentially guarantee two things. Trump supporters are fanatical in their devotion to him and will vote for him regardless of who runs against him. On the flip side, his opposition will vote for anyone but Trump.
For starters, one side has one man to rally behind and the other has any number of people to vote for, which shows the beginning of the problem.
What will do the real damage, though, are people in between who have no undying allegiance to a cause. Their votes could be used in any way. I like to think of myself as a moderate, and my mentality usually causes me to gravitate away from extreme views.
While Trump is extreme in his views as well, and I personally would vote for Sanders over him, other moderates may view Sanders as even worse, especially those who are most concerned with economic policy. If he wins the Democratic nomination, we may as well flip a coin for all those moderates, and that is not good.
Sanders runs on a platform appealing to idealists. He wants to start a political revolution and in many ways, he has done so. However, we as a nation face another four years of "fake news," overreaching executive influence and scandals. This is not the time to be an idealist.
Democrats, if they want to win this next election, need to focus their efforts on dethroning Trump, which starts with putting up the right candidate.
Even Bernie’s own domain realizes this, as last month his hometown newspaper, the Times Argus, published a piece begging him not to run, as reported by Griffin Connolly of Roll Call. In the piece, concerning the idealism I was talking about, its editorial board stated, "This comes down to principle over ego. It is one thing to start a revolution, but at a certain point you need to know when to step out of the way and let others carry the water for you."
Former President Teddy Roosevelt was an idealist in his own way, too. When he ran even though the odds were against him in the 1913 election, it resulted in a backward thinking man with notoriously bad ideas becoming our president for eight years. We are in this exact position today, and it would be prudent not to let history repeat itself.
The final point to consider is the fact that Sanders’ uniqueness is becoming less prevalent within his party. Even hardcore Democrats may have options they support more than Sanders, unlike the 2016 election.
Domenico Montanaro of NPR shares this concern, writing, "Ironically, Sanders' success in transforming the party may be part of what does him in, because there are now more options for the progressive left to choose from than in 2016. He's also having to fight for the head and heart of his candidacy. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for example, could potentially peel off from the intellectual, ideological part of Sanders' coalition (the head). And if former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke gets in, he threatens to pull from the emotional, grassroots piece of his base that wants to root for someone (the heart)."
With this final bit of information in mind, all I see are divisions in the Democratic party and in our country at large. Cracks are forming, and when facing a foe with an almost-religious devotion from his supporters, solidarity is needed. Let us not make the same mistake we made before.