When Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, a candidate for president, suffered a heart attack, the consensus among political pundits was that his presidential campaign was all but over. At 78 years old, he is very close to the average life expectancy of the average American male. He would be, by far, the oldest person to be elected president. His chances of surviving a term in the Oval Office, especially considering his heart condition, would seem to be problematic. Sen Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, seemed to be the rising star of the far left of the Democratic Party.
That was then and this is now. For one thing, Sanders turned in a vigorous performance during the October Democratic presidential debate. For another thing, the elderly senator is getting an endorsement from a group of politicians that exemplify the trend of young, radical Democrats who are pushing the envelope in pushing what they call “democratic socialism.
According to Fox News, Rep Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-New York, Rep Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, are endorsing Sanders for president. The three young members of the so-called “Squad” of radical, women of color members of Congress are making common cause with the white, Jewish, elderly senator to advance a socialist agenda and, they hope, place him in the Oval Office.
The endorsements are happening separately. Over the weekend, AOC is going to appear with Bernie at a “Bernie’s Back” rally in Queens, New York. Omar and Tlaib may or may not appear with their political godfather at the event.
Sanders posted a tweet that quoted Omar’s endorsement.
“I am so proud to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for president. Senator Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that has built a movement and continues to build a movement that transcends gender, ethnicity, religion.”
The Fox story suggests that the endorsement of three members of the Squad will have at least two effects on the race for the Democratic nomination for president. “The endorsements would be a significant blow to the campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who, like Sanders, has been representing the party’s progressive wing.”
The endorsements will also attract several younger voters to Sanders’ cause. He will need them because he has been lagging in the polls as of late, far below both Warren, who is 70, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is 76.
The Washington Examiner suggests that the endorsements will complicate Elizabeth Warren’s efforts to lock down her front runner status and, ultimately, the nomination. Warren will have to unite that Democratic Party’s establishment and radical wings if she hopes to get the nomination, not to speak of winning the general election. But with Sanders getting a new lease on life, she may not be able to stray too far away from socialist dogma.
On the other hand, Sanders faces an immense barrier to gaining the presidency. According to City Journal, the ten-year cost of all of his promises, including Medicare for All and his version of the Green New Deal, would approach $100 trillion. The extra spending would be matched by an unprecedented increase in taxes. Both spending and taxes would dwarf those of the most generous social democracies in Europe.
Sanders dismisses these fears, suggesting that a combination of economic growth (in a socialist economy?) and cost savings as a result of his programs (run by the government) will make up the difference. But City Journal ran the numbers and has found that they come up short by at least $90 billion. All of that free stuff is not so free after all.
Still. what Bernie and his younger acolytes lack in math skills, they more than make up in passion. Recently, Sanders offered the ultimate insult to Elizabeth Warren coming from a socialist. He called her a “capitalist,” which some have found to be strange since most of her campaign has consisted of bashing private business.
People who write about politics find Bernie’s forthright advocacy of positions that, in times past, politicians ran away from to be quite charming. Sanders cannot be accused of hedging or shading. What you see is what you get. In the view of most, he has achieved a frightening degree of political success as a result.