How Does President Sanders Sound to You?

Bernie is surging and may have found his moment.

Comments: 278

  1. I don’t see a Sanders surge. Yesterday’s Monmouth poll doesn’t either. (Monmouth polls have an A+ rating from Nate Silver). Bernie deserves credit for a durable, loyal base. But it hasn’t expanded much - it has merely recovered its late 2019 losses. I don’t see why the press is focused on Bernie right now. Are they bored?

  2. @Cousy Polling is next to useless these days (see the 2016 election). Scientific polls only call landlines. No one has landlines any more. The samples are no longer representative of the population. Internet polls are not scientific, because they are self selecting, and it's easy to vote more than once, especially if you know how to code bots. Therefore it's way past time for everyone to stop pretending to be political scientists and just vote for the person who is closest to you on values and policies. Even the political scientists don't know who the safe candidate is. I have a masters in political science and decades following politics closely and I'm not trying to game the system. I'm picking the candidate that I think would make the best president. Voting for "safe" candidates doesn't work because there is no such thing. Assume that your values and preferred policies are not so different from the rest of America and vote for the candidate that you want to be president. That's how you win.

  3. Perhaps they are getting ready for his coming string of wins in the primaries and after a year of Bernie bashing they want to get on board the winning train so they don’t look stupid?

  4. @Cousy They're scared.

  5. He can’t win because he will pull no voters from Trump. Needs centrist like Bloomberg to have a decent chance. There is zero point in running an ideologue who will lose.

  6. @MaccaUS The same was said in 2016, citing that only HRC was electable enough against Trump, representing a middle of the road vision. Here we are. Democrats won midterms in 2018 based on a progressive agenda. It is not time to abandon it right now.

  7. @MaccaUS in reply, I'm quoting @Steven, another person here in the comments: "The only candidate I support other than Trump is Sanders. He is the only person I trust to stick up for the working class and to stick it to the Chinese. If Sanders is the democratic candidate and wins the presidency then America will be great again." That sentiment is real. Djt is a fake populist, but Sanders does actually care about working people. Some trump voters were drawn to him because he was the electoral equivalent of pulling a fire alarm. Americans at the margin are still in crisis. I suspect a candidate's percieved ideology is less important than whether Americans feel like they're being seen and heard by a person running for office.

  8. @Gabriel I don't know what you were reading about Clinton but she definitely was not viewed as someone who represented a middle of the road agenda. She wasn't extreme like Bernie but she was very much the old Washington that everyone was tired of.

  9. The only candidate I support other than Trump is Sanders. He is the only person I trust to stick up for the working class and to stick it to the Chinese. If Sanders is the democratic candidate and wins the presidency then America will be great again.

  10. Interesting. If your point of view is prevalent out there in America I hope the Democratic party is listening.

  11. @Steven So far, Trump hasn't stuck up for the working class and if anything he is the stickee of the Chinese, not to mention the North Koreans. I know it's hard to realize this based on Fox coverage.

  12. @Glenn I don't watch Fox so I wouldn't know what you're talking about. I am just looking at it from the perspective that the Chinese and other trading partners don't have free rein over American companies and the American consumer like they used to. Maybe you prefer they bring back NAFTA and other trade practices that have decimated American manufacturing. Both Trump and Sanders have voiced the same point of view on the issue. I just like Sanders more.

  13. Bret Stephens says that Biden, Buttigieg and Klobuchar are "all middle-of-the-road Democrats who would restore honor to the White House and sanity to the country" and so he could vote for them but not Sanders. We are living in extreme times because of this climate crisis and we need to do all we can to avert the worst of it. Sanders has the strongest climate action plan. Greenpeace gives Sanders an A-plus on his climate action plans. They give Biden a B plus, Buttigieg a B and Klobuchar a C plus. Vote for leaving an inhabitable planet to your children. Vote Bernie 2020. Not me, Us.

  14. The only one among the lot you mention that I would hold my nose and vote FOR is Amy Klobuchar, for the reason you cite. But even so, I'd vote for her over Trumbobo, again for the reasons you cite.

  15. @A Stor mo Chroi Exactly. I hope for a decent Vice President also, not ethically questionable Buttigieg or worst-boss-ever Klobuchar. Biden would be fine. Elizabeth I am concerned about, with her desperate attempt to paint Bernie as a sexist. That really lowered my opinion of her.

  16. @A Stor mo Chroi What you must understand about the "plans" Greenpeace rated is that they are....plans. I'd rather elect a candidate with a B plan that can PASS than a candidate with an A plan that CANNOT PASS. It's easy to put out a plan. It's difficult to devise an effective program that gets through Congress.

  17. America seems driven to near extremes -- steered by cranked up and/or angry voters who support non-mainstream, non-moderate candidates. Nixon/Ford begot Carter, Carter took us to Reagan/Bush. Then Clinton brought us W. Bush/Cheney. From that, Obama, and on to Trump. Rather than act as filters and moderators, modern mainstream political parties appear vulnerable to special interest groups of any and all persuasions. Reasonable, decent folk in the mainstream seem to have become second-rate citizens, forced to accept the latest fashions and passions not in their own or the country's best interests.

  18. @artfuldodger1; You are right. Progressives do not represent the DNC. Problem is -- the DNC is in bed with Wall Street and the Pentagon and does not represent the will of the people. They count on "lesser evil" voters. How did that work out in 2016?

  19. A couple of thoughts about the Democratic race in 2020: the Iowa democratic caucus doesn't represent the democratic party as a whole, winning Iowa (and New Hampshire) aren't the king/queen making victories they use to be, if raising money directly translated into victory we'd be talking about Hillary's second term right now. A media narrative of Bernie winning will drive ratings and clicks until we are out of Iowa and New Hampshire but more experienced hands know he will not be the nominee in a party he doesn't represent either by policy beliefs or political affiliation. Warren doesn't align with most of the party on key policy positions as well. Both have the stigma of "can't beat Trump" in key swing states and that is probably right: it is certainly true in my home state Pennsylvania.

  20. @Randy I'm 68 and the Democratic policy beliefs that I grew up with- JFK, LBJ etc.- are way more consistent with Bernie's beliefs than the mealy mouthed/put your finger in the wind to test it drivel we often get from the DNC today. Bernie breathes new life into a party running on the fumes of its past ideals, and he has the courage of his convictions. He's smart, he doesn't talk down to people, and people I know who voted for Trump because they wanted change kind of like him too. It would be wonderful to get back a living, breathing Democratic Party!

  21. @Randy Sanders polled better than Trump (and Clinton) in 2016 in most of the 'swing States. He knew he had a better chance than Clinton and that's why he stayed in as long as he did. I still think Sanders can beat Trump -- especially in swing states. He appeals to the same working class that Trump does. I also disagree that he is out of line with most of the party. Add together the progressive side (Sanders + Warren) and pit it against the moderates and you get a very close race. I'd like to see a Sanders/Warren ticket, but I also see the wisdom of having Klobuchar as VP. The party must be united no matter what! Dump Trump.

  22. Sanders/Klobuchar sounds like a winning ticket to me. It would pull in the establishment and the Mid-West and provide a solid Vice President to immunize against age-related concerns (equally applicable to Bloomberg and Biden, both 77). All of the remaining Democratic candidates, including Sanders, are intelligent, reasonably honest, and have a history of working with the legislature, respecting the rule of law (including Steyer, through his non-profit work). In 2020, America faces a defining moment--can we overcome this thoroughly corrupt, hate-mongering, petty President and his accomplice, Moscow Mitch, and reconstitute our gutted agencies and court system, or does this authoritarian and his co-conspirators represent a permanent sunset of American democracy and influence throughout the world?

  23. @Eccl3 Few vote for a ticket based on who the VP is. Everyone recognizes that other than being the president-in-waiting if something goes wrong they are there purely for show. But if Sanders is the Dem choice I hope that the VP choice is someone he respects, listens to, and will take advice from. Frankly I would not mind seeing Condoleezza Rice in that role.

  24. @Eccl3 Amy's proposed policies and worldview diverge greatly from Bernie's. They would be an odd couple. Bernie/Stacey would be better, for a lot of reasons.

  25. @DC Sanders age and recent heart attack make a VP selection important in this case. For Biden and Warren, also. However, I think that nk the press has gotten ahead of itself now that they have this suge narrative to run with. Iowa and NH are not the whole enchilada.

  26. "Dramatic cuts in defense spending that would leave us and our allies even more vulnerable to Russian or Chinese aggression." Bret, the U.S. has 19 active aircraft carriers, the rest of the world, 12. Of those 12, 1 is China, and 1 other Russia. The reality is we could could cut our defense budget by a measly 10%, $73 billion and not miss a bit of it, and still outpace Russia, and China in military spending. The trouble we have is almost every state gets a piece of the defense budget and doesn't want to give it up. Bernie would make a great President.

  27. @cherrylog754 When was the last time that the American military-industrial complex won a war and sustained a peace? Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and Donald Trump were all smart enough not to wear the military uniform of any American armed force.

  28. @cherrylog754 Exactly correct. The enormous MIC welfare program, along with protecting U.S. business and fossil fuel interests around the world, ensures that nothing will change without radical intervention.

  29. @cherrylog754 "Bernie would make a great President." I think most of us agree. The problem is, he won't win the job in the first place.

  30. The steady, inexorable decline in the quality of leadership - Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama, punctuated by the Trump Slump - reflects the toxic mess the American education system has become. Educational failures trace back to an increasingly regressive tax regime and the resulting wealth concentration effects. Tweaking it now in favor of fairness risks crashing the system. We’re on a runaway train to the end of history. But don’t worry; as Churchill said “Americans always do the right thing, after having exhausted all other possibilities.”

  31. @Skinny J the last good republican president was Eisenhower...... bush 1 second place. Reagan is the beginning of the poisoning of the people's minds against their own interests, their own government. he opened the door to the current menace at 1600. we will never recover until republican voters once again see the necessity of a well run government and commit to working towards having and maintaining one.

  32. Sanders and Warren will fade once the primaries get to states where there are voters who want to win rather than support a candidate offering huge government-freebie programs.

  33. You mean, like the American military industrial complex... the biggest recipient of American largesse?

  34. Sorry, didn't read the column but I can answer the question. President Sanders sounds fine to me. President "anybody but Trump" sounds fine also.

  35. @tom boyd You got it Tom. My question is can he win? But I will work like a dog for him or for that matter anyone else including a hand puppet. In fact not having a President and letting the House and senate decide what we do would be ok.

  36. "In fact not having a President and letting the House and senate decide what we do would be ok." Problem is, that's already the case...

  37. @SR We have a winner!

  38. "How Does President Sanders Sound to You?" That sounds fine. President Bloomberg sounds better and more likely.

  39. @GerardM Bloomberg declined to be part of yesterdays's NYT's article interviewing all the Democratic candidates. I haven't seen him in any of the debates, and I don't know if he intends to engage or not. He's flooded the airwaves with political ads, but I can't afford cable so I'm missing out? I care not one bit about a candidate that sits out until the end and plays it safe. I will vote for Bernie if he wins the primaries precisely because he speaks his mind consistently, intelligently, and with conviction.

  40. @susan gioia Unquestionably, Sanders "speaks his mind consistently, intelligently, and with conviction". But that is not at issue, what is at issue is can he beat Trump? Right now all Democratic candidates, except for Buttigieg, hold a slim lead over Trump in the average of Polls.Only if you think the country will respond to a "socialist" message then Sanders is your guy. In any event, if the economy still appears healthy, the majority aren't going to go with someone who wants to upend it all. People are like that.

  41. I'm a conservative of the 'I Like Ike' variety. The 50's, 60's and 70's saw the wealth of this nation spread much better than it has been since Reagan's administration. The current direction of society is lemming-like. Therefore I do believe the US needs a dose of socialism to redistribute wealth from those that don't need it to those who do. Bernie does a great job in steering the debate in that direction. Could he win the Presidency? I doubt it. He might be a good Vice Presidential nominee though.

  42. Bret backed down from his position on Bernie, but I think he was right to begin with. Those in agreement with Bret politically like to confidently point out the weaknesses of alternate views. There are vast numbers finding it difficult to embrace the silver lining in this American version of 'free market capitalism'. I think there is a whiff of corruption in the air, and some of it seems to be coming from Biden's direction. I don't think he'll float.

  43. Sanders is (creating) a movement. He can lift his entire ticket and change America's downhill slide towards Oligarchic Russia. My wife and I are comfortable, safe financially but know too, too many people a $1000 bill away from bankruptcy--this is 2/3 of America. We need radical change if the world is to survive much less America.

  44. @James Siegel Check out Bernie's relationship in the past with both the NRA and Russia. Then think about some of the other candidates.

  45. @James Siegel So the new slogan should be "downhill slide to Marxist Russia"?

  46. @Phyliss Kirk Explain please.

  47. Even if the DOD budget was cut to zero and they took all the money away from the rich, it will never offset the entitlements, under-funded private, state and local pension funds, Medicare and Social Security expenses which are accelerating far faster than global warming. All politicians are guilty of just "kicking the can down the road", but let me be very clear, more "promised" programs are only going to make it worse and this will all end badly.

  48. Having a candidate willing to confront big money influence certainty brings out the Wall Street Wolves of punditry President Sanders sounds like our only chance for recovery and a future for our country. If it is anyone else, you can watch it all unravel into the chaos of economic and climate collapse and all that entails from refugees to civil war.

  49. It sounds like an historic victory which to the same level as the election of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt will change the United States forever, and for good. Hindsight will view Bernie Sanders as one of the greatest Presidents, not only as someone who was able to articulate his values and vision for a better society clearly and unbashedly, but also to lead a mass movement of working people in a way that few leaders have done in America. But only if he gets elected - Bernie may be surging, but for everyone who agrees with that I've written, we have to make sure that he wins. Volunteer, donate, phonebank, and don't forget to bring your friends, family, cousins, classmates, grandparents to VOTE! Let's make this political revolution happen and forge a new, better path for our country!

  50. @Ryan Butler I like Bernie and I would gladly vote for him if I was an American citizen, but I suspect some potential voters don't really like the fact that some of his supporters speak about him like he's the best human being to ever exist. Maybe tone it down a little?

  51. Bernie is the first candidate that I have ever donated money to. I wish I had more to give but I am one of the many people still unemployed in this age of “full employment”. Bernie seems to be the only candidate who can see what is really going on.

  52. @Ryan Butler Anyone who likes Bernie should immediately go to, enter their zip code and find volunteer opportunities near them. Come on in, the water's fine!

  53. Mr. Stephens apparently doesn't understand how this country's elections work. The choice is between the Republican and the Democrat. If he's really a never-Trumper, he should come out strongly for whoever the other candidate is, because there's no way a third party candidate will do anything except take votes from the main candidates. If he won't vote for Sanders, he's essentially not voting, or splitting his vote. I say this not as a big Sanders supporter -- he's not my favorite either, but I'll vote for whoever is running against DJT. Same thing goes for Peter Wehner, one of your frequent contributors. During the previous election, his hair was on fire about Trump, but he also said he couldn't vote for Clinton. There are two choices, that's it.

  54. @PG Don't be surprised to see a third option this year if Sander's gets the Dem nomination. Much like Trump he is appealing to a vocal but overall minority part of his party. The rest would vote for him if given no other option than Trump. But Bloomburg has pull within both parties. If he cannot muster the Dem vote I could see him run as an independent to be the candidate of the middle.

  55. @DC, an independent centrist candidate would surely hand Trump victory in the Electoral College. Remember Nader, who enabled W and the war in Iraq?

  56. @DC Please--NO!

  57. A quote from Sanders' website in the past: "These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?" Want to try to convince any Trump supporters or centrist Democrats to vote for someone who calls our country a "banana republic?" In a contest with Trump, Sanders' past is going to catch up with him. He will get trounced.

  58. Remember that Obama attempted to pass major health care legislation the traditional way. He was relying on a super majority that was never actually seated. He also ceded leadership authority to Congress. He never told Congress what bill to write. He asked them to present a bill for signature. In all their misguided wisdom, Congress held out hope for a bipartisan bill that Republicans universally rejected no matter what the concession. See the point about not actually having a super majority. Then Ted Kennedy died, Sam Brown won, and we ended up with budget reconciliation. This paved the way for Trump's tax cut bill. A law which passed through reconciliation with made up budget numbers and 51 votes. Times have changed Mr. Stephens. You no longer need 60 votes to pass sweeping legislation. You need 50 votes, the White House, and a budget justification. Sanders would likely have all three. Bare in mind millennials feel the same way about moderates as Bret does about socialists. However, if you take them to the polls, they tend to vote down the ticket. That means an enthusiastic turnout behind Sanders will likely deliver House and Senate majorities. Even if Democrats win with razor thin margins, it won't matter. Obama opened the door and McConnell drove a truck through it. A governing coalition is a simple majority. I believe Sanders can deliver that.

  59. I thought Sanders was a Johnny-one-note hammering constantly on fixing income inequality as the panacea for all of the United States' problems until recently I became acquainted with Zach Mortensen's Feb 20, 2018 article on why ALL the gun control ideas won't work to reduce gun homicides won't work. All but one: Reducing income inequality. Mortensen's careful study and regression analysis predicts that if virtually all of Canada's gun control policies are applied in the US, each one's effect on our gun homicide rate will, counter-intuitively cause an INCREASE, rather than a decrease. So why is Canada's rate so much lower than ours? Only one factor was statistically significant at lowering gun violence and homicide. Despite a lower median income, Canada's income inequality rate is so much lower that it overcame ALL the other negatives. Mortensen extrapolated the effect on gun homicides if the US lowered its income inequality to Canada's rate. The result was STUNNING! Of the roughly 16,000 gun homicides (non-suicides) in 2017, all but roughly 1,000 would be eliminated! (he didn't study the effect on suicides--24,000 by guns, 23,000 by other means but it's reasonable to suppose similar reductions.) So Bernie Sanders' "cure-all"--solving income inequality, would be THE best way to reduce gun violence after all!

  60. @Dadof2 Reducing income inequality would tangentially solve a host of ills. When resources become scarce, or are perceived to be scarce, that's when ancient hatreds and scapegoating resurge; when everyone is doing fairly well, it's live and let live. These resentments were always present, and will probably always be present, but dire circumstances bring out the worst in everyone, especially when it appears that the suffering is not being borne equally. Demagogues like Trump further fuel the antagonisms so attention is removed from the true villains, the plutocrats, who get to sit back and chuckle as the peasants murder each other outside the castle gates.

  61. @Dadof2 Alas use of guns in Canada i.e., in Toronto is rising. But so is income inequality.

  62. @Snip Unlike virtually every Republican, especially Trump, and, sadly, far too many Democrats, I am willing to confront inconvenient facts, ascertain whether they stand up to scrutiny, and accept them as a reality more valid than any of my beliefs they contradict. My models are Fred Hoyle and Einstein. Hoyle, a vigorous defender of the Steady State Universe Model, mockingly and disparagingly nicknamed the alternative "The Big Bang Theory". However, when confronted with overwhelming evidence, Hoyle accepted that the Steady State was, indeed, wrong. Of course The Big Bang Theory stuck and remains. Einstein simply argued that a 1000 positive results of a theory would, could, and should be negated by one single negative result. Both put the Scientific Method first. And that's one thing I definitely believe in!

  63. It doesn’t matter if any democrat or the new converted democrat wins the election because without a majority in both houses, no liberal or moderate democratic policy will ever be considered under Mitch’s regiment. And we will have possibly vacancy in the Supreme Court for 3/4 years if Mitch continues to reign as the tyrant he is.

  64. YES. We all need to contribute to Mitch‘s opponent in the Kentucky Senate Race! That way, even if — God forbid — Trump wins re-election, he will be hamstrung any might even make actual deals with Democrats to burnish his putative legacy.

  65. Bret, we get it.The Democrats need disaffected Republican votes like yours and you are drawing a line in the sand when it comes to Bernie Sanders.He is my last choice also because he is way too old and too rigid in his prescriptions for the economy.It would be helpful if you gave as much attention to candidates you think deserve your support as you do to Bernie Sanders who is not even a Democrat.How about singing the praises of someone who can win in every part of the country-the never Trump Republicans can make a big difference in this election.

  66. Think of Pres. Sanders' foreign policy. Can you imagine him helping to keep the free world free? Supporting NATO? Dealing with North Korea? Protecting Taiwan from Chinese aggression? Signing a trade deal with anyone? Please, can we have Klobuchar?

  67. @Pundit actually yes I can picture those things

  68. "I could never vote for Sanders....But while I would never cast a ballot for Donald Trump, there’s no chance I’d vote for either Sanders or Elizabeth Warren." Yet Stephens knows that if it's Trump v. Sanders or Trump v. Warren, that in either case one of those two will be the next president. He'd rather not vote, or waste his vote on a 3rd party candidate or write-in, than vote for either of the Democrats, knowing that in effect it's a vote for Trump (because he fails to cancel a Trump vote). How can a man as smart as Stephens fail to understand what an election is and what we are morally obligated to do in it? One of the two nominees, Democrat or Republican, is worse than the other one, and we must vote for the other one. Period. And surely Stephens would agree that Trump is worse than either of the Democrats.

  69. @Greg Weis True. Stephens is acting like a petulant child. I dislike Sanders and I despise Trump, so I will vote for Bernie if I have to. I assume Stephens lives in New York or DC, in which case his vote is meaningless anyway. Our stupid and evil Electoral College system nullifies the vote of everyone but residents of swing states.

  70. @Greg Weis Bernie would reverse our insane last ten cycles of “least worst voting” — which the Imperialist UHNWIs, “Ruling-Elite” & < 0.01ers have orchestrated against ‘we the people’ — and shift to simple cycles of “best first voting”.

  71. @Charlie B Yes, the votes of the minority are effectively nullified given the winner-take-all nature of the Electoral College system in 48 states (two have proportional voting), making it innocuous for a person in the minority in those states to vote for anybody s/he likes. But Stephens' position is that he'd vote for a third-party candidate, or write someone in, not because he's a Republican living in a Democratic state, but because he personally just couldn't stomach voting for Sanders or Warren. If he's relying on that position, he's morally blind.

  72. According to Stephens, Sanders’ dramatic cuts in defense spending would leave us and our allies even more vulnerable to Russian or Chinese aggression. But we already spend more than the seven most militarist countries — including China and Russia — combined. And in spite of Trump’s claim that the military was starved under President Obama, he still managed to find many billions to siphon from defense in order to build his wall. Military procurement is the largest boondoggle in the federal budget. Contracts target congressional districts, not military necessity. Always easier to approve than cancel, even when the need or the technology no longer exist. Stephens is merely repeating the tired Republican canard that dollars, not intelligence, make us stronger.

  73. @Ockham9 Bingo! Succinct and to an essential point that has adverse effects on our living standards. Like grocery shopping, if over 50% of your basket has meat items that fact means the bill is higher but not necessarily healthy choices. Are nation’s with or without nuclear bombs & ‘speedy’ delivery capability more or less vulnerable to attack? Look to where some nations have readily intervened in the land & affairs of other’s. Acts of Warfare since WW2 has taken an offensive rather than a defensive posture. Selling, advertising & marketing are offensive actions to find buyers.

  74. In the 2016 New York primary, aside from a few urban centers, Sanders carried the economically decimated upstate counties. This should have been a wake up call to the Clinton campaign, because these regions so closely resembled those in the Midwest both in demographics and despair. As we all know, her billion dollar army of sycophants failed to change her strategy and that's where she ended up losing to Trump. During the general election in New York, Trump carried virtually all the same upstate counties as did Sanders; it was really quite stunning. Candidates carrying the DNC/Brett Stephens stamp of approval do not speak to these voters, who have become inured to the vague, patronizing, platitudes of Obama, Clinton, Biden and now Buttigieg and Klobuchar. If they were willing to misguidedly vote for Trump to shake things up, they will be more than willing to vote for a Sanders or a Warren, who will shake things up, but guided by compassion and intellect.

  75. @stan continople He would have carried the state had they not purged voters- making them ineligible to vote shortly before the NY primary. 250,000 purged just in Kings County and not a peep from the media. Her nomination was engineered.

  76. The only two candidates who have spoken to the American people for some time have been Trump and Sanders. Both of whom are reviled by the NYT and the “moderate” political class. The NYT is now such an anachronism that Trumps old lie “the failing NYT” is starting to ring true. It is certainly failing to reach a national audience and it is failing to make sense.

  77. @David Gregory How does a general voter purge before the vote affect Bernie voters to a greater degree than another candidate's voters?

  78. "some women are going to pay serious attention to Sanders for the first time and think, 'Calm down, please.'” It's easy to remain calm when you have good insurance, a good job, and money in the bank. Bernie is worked up for those of us who don't. Many of us out here are in crisis mode, which Bret doesn't viscerally understand; we're just statistics to him, the Wall Street Journal mindset.

  79. @Jim Muncy Yes, it's really clear where Bret is coming from when he talks about "portfolios." The majority of Americans are having a difficult time feeding their families, Bret, they aren't worrying about how well the fed has pumped stocks up, except that they know they and not the bankers and finance guys will be the ones to suffer when the next crash hits.

  80. This is not the time, nor may it ever be, for a President Sanders. He can't beat Trump. Trump's scorched earth process will expose every single piece of video, audio, written word that Bernie ever wrote/spoke from high school on up, about Communism. Trump is great at fear-mongering, an expert at it. More than half this Nation will end up voting for Trump, based on fear of what Sanders will turn this country into.

  81. @Dominique — Unfortunately, I think you may be right. The GOP has been strangely silent about Sanders, hoping he is the Democratic nominee so they can unleash their fear-mongering most effectively.

  82. They aren’t going to find much because Bernie has never spoken about communism. He has spoken about socialism which is as different from communism as night is to day. And any fear you might have around the word “socialism” is misplaced because today’s voters have never heard the word before. In fact they don’t even know what communism was. They do know what being in debt for education and out of work is though. They do know what low wage no benefits and no security jobs are. They want a cure for this rigged economy and no one besides you cares much about what it is called. If Bernie runs he will and that is why.

  83. And I might also add his Medicare for All. I think that is truly Sander’s Achilles heel and I think Trump and the Republicans are going to have a field day with it.

  84. President Sanders? It ain't necessarily so that whomever wins Iowa next month will be the Democratic nominee up against Trump or some other Republican next summer. Hillary beat Barack Obama in the Iowa Caucus in 2008, and he was our president for 8 good years. She beat Bernie in 2016, and look how that turned out. Sanders with Amy Klobuchar as his VEEP might could be the ticket to ride. Iowa is a toss-up. No point predicting anything re Election 2020. Big question: will Donald Trump run for re-election? All frightened Americans have their doots that he'll be fit in any way to run after his Senate Trial maybe starting this week. Let's see if one of the Democratic contenders wins the day tonight in the last Democratic Debate before Iowa Caucus. Meanwhile we're recalling brave Sen. John McCain riffing "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran" these days! We're all in for a rocky ride this year.

  85. How Does President Sanders Sound to You? Well like a progressive fantasy that will never happen. Although I'm sure the GOP prays every day that this becomes a reality. Sanders has demonstrated time and time again that he doesn't have the temperament to be President. Last year he called for giving incarcerated felons the right to vote. The Boston Marathon Bomber kills three people, maims & injures 280 more. Bernie’s concern? That he gets his absentee ballot. This plays perfectly into the Fox News narrative that Democrats are soft on crime. Here come the attack ads. Sanders consistently proves his critics right: he's too far to the left, too irrational, & has poor political instincts. His supporters will say he's right on all the other issues: climate change, the economy, health care. Guess what? It doesn't matter. There're other Democratic candidates who don't want to give incarcerated prisoners voting rights. This was a gaffe of epic proportions. On this basis alone he will lose the majority of independent swing voters. The Democrats can't win without independents. Sanders will have to explain himself at every campaign stop. How do you think the people of Charleston will react when Sanders tells them Dylan Roof should be voting? Sanders & his progressive co-dependents think voting is an inalienable right that should be extended to convicts. The fact that this is even a conversation in 2020 is the reason why the left will never gain any political traction in this country.

  86. @Bill Brown We've had many decades of prison sentences for minor drug offenses, swelling the incarcerated population into the millions, costing taxpayers millions and providing little discernible social benefit. The policing, justice, and prison systems in this country are racist, cruel, and ineffectual. Felons should have their right to vote and republicans have used felony disenfranchisement as a tool to suppress poor, black, and democratic voting groups. I'd be proud to have a president who would stand up for the rights of felons.

  87. @Bill Brown everyone deserves the right to vote

  88. It sounded fine in the last election. But Debbie Wasserman Schultz took her eyes off the prize and focused more on ensuring that a woman would be the Dem nominee for president than she did putting up a candidate who would put up a convincing win. And Bernie would have beat Trump. The mess we are in right now was avoidable, and giving Bernie Sanders an encore isn't going to help remedy it.

  89. If Bernie wants to win his message needs to be this: “I will lead us as a moderate policy maker with the heart and soul of a progressive”

  90. If Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee for President he will end up being known as the George McGovern of 2020.

  91. @Jay Orchard 2020 is not 1972. Trump is not Nixon. Bernie is not McGovern. The America of 1972 was a different place. Most of the voters alive then are now dead. The population is far more diverse in so many ways.

  92. @David Gregory "The America of 1972 was a different place. Most of the voters alive then are now dead." Not true, but spoken like a youngster who thinks the world is his oyster. Whatever. I, too, once believed you shouldn't trust anyone over 30! Most of us who voted in 1972 - even those of us who voted for George McGovern - are still kicking. We're only in our 60's & 70's.

  93. @Jay Orchard You are not fighting the last war. You are fighting 12 wars back. McGovern was 12 presidential election ago. Since then we have tried supply side Economics and it is destroying the economy, our political system, and the environment. They have a record now. Since 1980 average GDP growth is down 1/3. Growth is lower than under 1970s stagflation! Productivity growth is down. Wage growth is nearly flat after inflation. Even Capital Utilization is down 10%. Compromising with Republicans to give them almost everything they demanded hasn't resulted in them becoming more reasonable, but encouraged them to be more extreme. The Left base may have virtual mobs calling people out on the internet, but the Right base has actual mobs that actually go around beating people up, and often shooting them. The young are far to the left of Biden. If you want them to vote, you need to stop talking about McGovern and start talking about how to get them to the polls. Scolding them won't work.

  94. Older Democrats favor Biden because he follows in the neoliberal footsteps of Clinton and Obama. Younger people are more skeptical of the Republican lite brand of centrist Democrat that the main stream media seems to embrace. They are living the consequences of free market Capitalism due to offshoring of jobs thanks to NAFTA as well as the gradual unaffordability of college and health insurance. Many Sanders & Warren supporters may live in communities that are polluted due to the general negligence of political leaders (e.g. Flint, Fresno, Bakersfield, Bronx, Denver, LA, Pennsylvania, etc.) They realize that climate change will occur in their life times even though they had no say in preventing it. The Tea Party members were enraged that many lost their homes, savings, and dignity in the 2008 financial crash while those responsible walked away scot free, many CEOs even were gifted golden parachute retirements in the millions. The only people who suffered were hard working middle class Americans who were taught to save. They were upset at Obama for the policies of Bush that led up to the crash. These same Tea Party members were once Democrats who felt cheated and were fooled by Trump into believing he was their messiah. They wanted someone who would clean up the swamp and uproot the corrupt system. Brett Stephens is correct that Sanders may win against Trump. They are two sides of the same coin although one is genuine & pure while the other is fool's gold.

  95. @Dunca I am not sure you have the definition of neoliberal right: "Neoliberalism, ideology and policy model that emphasizes the value of free market competition. Although there is considerable debate as to the defining features of neoliberal thought and practice, it is most commonly associated with laissez-faire economics. In particular, neoliberalism is often characterized in terms of its belief in sustained economic growth as the means to achieve human progress, its confidence in free markets as the most-efficient allocation of resources, its emphasis on minimal state intervention in economic and social affairs, and its commitment to the freedom of trade and capital."

  96. @Cathy Welker On the contrary, that’s Clinton and Obama right there. Obama had a major opportunity to reform the excesses of capitalism after 2008 and he blew it. I suppose one could also call the GOP neoliberal — but in practice they’re all about privatizing profits and socializing risk.

  97. @Cathy Welker Neoliberals have destroyed the social safety net, cannibalized our educational and criminal justice systems for profit, made the rich much richer, while exploding poverty, destroying living wage work and upward economic mobility. Neoliberals need to 'monetize' social problems in order to 'solve' them. This explodes cost, corrupts systems (like our privatized prison system), destroys quality in favor of profit (like our educational system) and institutionalizes suffering, while making problems worse. In practice, it is a playground for elitist self-dealing and wholesale corruption. While the average punter cannot define 'neoliberal', they recognize it clearly enough as bait-and-switch or Republican-lite. There are ruder phrases that speak more succinctly to public attitudes toward neoliberals. Sold like religion in our elite universities, neoliberals cannot stand any solution except their own. They purged the Democratic party and much of the left of everyone except themselves. Neoliberals do not share with anyone but themselves, especially power. I wish Bernie were 55, not 78. But I know, firsthand, that people like Bernie were purged from all sectors on the left, leaving us with kids like AOC and old codgers like Bernie who escaped the purge. And if it weren't for Bernie, we wouldn't even have the kids. Jimmy Carter promised that free trade will create world peace. How's that working out for us? Neoliberalism destroyed us.

  98. The only sure thing about a Sanders presidency is that he'll disappoint his supporters. He won't have majorities in Congress; he'll lose the Democrats' purple Congressional seats in 2020, to be followed by a landslide of defeats in 2022. He'll harden Republican resistance, and won't pass anything except Executive orders, the overturning of which will be a rallying cry for the next Republican presidential campaign. And so, I guess I could vote for him. The Republican Party needs a reset after Trump, and the far left needs to experience a collision with the brick wall of American gridlock (since they took the wrong lesson from Obama). Who knows? Maybe, 4 years from now, with President Sanders wrongly scorned by the left for being a milquetoast moderate, the same way Obama was, the Republicans will nominate an acceptable candidate and I'll have an alternative to voting Democratic, for the first time in my life.

  99. @Patrick Disappoint like Obama? The President that reneged on a laundry list of promises to the Progressive base. Disappoint like Hillary? The candidate that behind closed doors told Wall Street firms a very different story and priorities than what she was selling on the campaign trail.

  100. I came to the US as a young college professor, from a self declared socialist country in Eastern Europe. What country would take tens of millions of people from the US if Sanders became president? Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras? Don't bet on it. The southern wall can be retrofitted to keep Americans in, boats and rafts in Florida can be banned, to prevent escape to Cuba, but Americans are resourceful, and we don't have a wall towards Canada yet...

  101. Apparently you don’t understand at all what sanders is about. Think Denmark, not Bulgaria or Cuba

  102. Here you see the problem with some so-called pundits. Bret Stephens has few things of interest to say. Instead he tries to make points by distorting and sneaking in loaded language. Did he even read the New York Times interview with Sanders? Sanders is a moderate in many ways. His argument in general is that the citizens need to be informed and vote. He then assumes that when properly informed they will vote for a more fair tax system, reversing the advantages lobbied for by corporations and the very wealthy, a reasonable Defense Department and State Department that assures our defense and allows diplomacy to work. Bernie realistically sees the leaders of other countries as imperfect AND as having great challenges -- they are trying to bring order to lands with great poverty, their countries have great disadvantages relative to the advance industrial countries, and they are facing immense dysfunction and lawlessness. Simply criticizing them for human rights problems, which are real and need to be addressed, does not solve these problems. Unless we are going to go into every country, pay high minimum wages to everyone, distribute medical care, and send in police to keep order, we had best be modest in our approach. Being an example of democracy that demonstrates how it can be done, and ending exploitation of the people of these other countries, and ending collusion with corrupt business leaders in these lands would be a start that Bernie seems to prefer. Not bad.

  103. Look, I will vote for whoever is the Democratic nominee, but Sanders does NOT appeal to older voters (women especially). They vote in high numbers. His “support” of Hillary Clinton was lukewarm at best and his aggressive “Bernie Bros” are a huge turnoff. His far left political beliefs are too outside the mainstream of most Americans to be practical. That being said, “anyone but Trump” is my mantra.

  104. @P R I'm a 63 yo female and have been stomping for Bernie for years now. We're out there. Just perhaps not as vocal as those far younger. Please don't count us out yet.

  105. @P R I have yet to see a Bernie Bro in the flesh. Have you ever considered that the same nefarious actors determined to undermine the Clinton campaign might have wanted to sow division among Democrats? If that was the intent it obviously worked.

  106. @Nancy Same here!

  107. I will vote for the Democratic nominee if he or she is dead. I will vote a straight party ticket at every level. Here in Wisconsin, Republicans have demonstrated they no longer believe in free and fair elections. They no longer believe in environmental conservation or clean air and water protection. They no longer believe in constitutional checks and balances. Republicans must be voted out of office to stop our descent into oligarchy.

  108. The Republicans demonstrated that to me in 1980 and I have voted a straight Democratic ticket ever since. Welcome to the fight.

  109. @Lon Newman, hate to break it to you but the US has been a lot more oligarchy than democracy since the Reagan era--since corporations ceased to value their workers and crushed labor unions; since CEOs started earning obscene salaries and receiving obscene severance packages when they were fired for cause; and especially since the highest court in the land sided with corporations in the landmark Citizens United case. Make no mistake about it, the fabulously wealthy own our government and the rest of us suffer because of it. We already live in an oligarchy.

  110. @CEC I agree completely but until now they played it under the radar... but now with trump they have told us that we can just eat cake.

  111. Nope. He's Jeremy Corbyn less the anti-semitism, more of the paternalism. Sanders spent over 20 years in the Senate and accomplished nothing of note, wasn't able to work with others to generate important changes. Yet, now he's going to work with Congress to cure inequity and tame the healthcare industrial complex in four years? Please. He's all about wonderful visions of free and easy, with no details about how any of it could actually happen, or be paid for. Not buying it. As Commander-in-Chief? He advocated for unilateral disarmament against the Soviets during he Cold War. I haven't heard a cogent word from him about foreign policy. The GOP hasn't touched him in either the last election nor this one so far, because they know they could rip him into shreds in about five minutes. An easy opponent if he becomes the candidate.

  112. @MassBear Wow. Great to see that other folks get it. I was thinking the same thing. Bernie hasnt been battle tested. The media has never taken him to task on any of his proposals. And youre right about foreign policy. I recall him being asked about that during an interview back in 2016. His answer to any and all foreign policy issues? Tax the one percent. When I heard that, I knew then, that Bernie would crumble like a stale cookie if he was ever the nominee.

  113. @MassBear You are correct. Bernie has a solid record of accomplishing absolutely nothing worth bothering about. This is what permits him to run his mouth with no feedback on prior mistakes. Indeed, he is the consummate politician, not able to do anything useful in life and able to create the illusion of being a deep thinker.

  114. I guess you would prefer a centrist like Biden who will give corporations all the “free and easy” stuff they desire.

  115. Our heart and soul as a modern secular liberal democracy are under attack and in a veritable existential to the death cage match. If we do NOT fight the enemy in 2020 whoa is us! Not hyperbole and anyone and especially the likes of Stephens and Brooks should see it and enlist against it. Yet too too many of us seem naïvely or willfully: oblivious to the perils, too trusting of our ability to float unscathed above the devastation, or worse, gleeful that the opponent may prevail. This 2020 election cycle will be one our rarest elections. One that is primarily existentially important and if it goes wrong will set a regressive course of us for years to come! I say existential because ideas re: doing things technically mean less than what positions reveal existentially in a profound sense about the candidate. I do not have space to explain but suffice to say 2020 is like the 1924 and 1933 moments in Europe. The GOP is an united, very competent, unrelenting juggernaut against modernity, truth, and anything that remotely opposes their regressive march toward theocratic authoritarian plutocracy (TAP). Over the last 40 years they've insidiously and cleverly groomed a loyal base of GOP voters - WHO VOTE EXISTENTIALLY MOSTLY! We have let this MINORITY reign. If you cherish secular liberal democracy you MUST vote D for existential reasons regardless. Shake out P vs. C implementations later in due course.

  116. Sadly I am compelled to recall the long-ago presidency of William Henry Harrison. You know, the 1840 president who lived a few weeks and then suddenly expired. Bernie has massive health issues, looks even older than his age, and does not inspire this voter with any confidence that he will survive the four years of grueling stress that a president must anticipate.

  117. @Tournachonadar Sanders does not have "massive health issues" The United States does. Sanders is in excellent health.

  118. @Al M Really then what was his heart attack? He looks terrible But apparently you have drunk the Bernie Kool-Aid and are blind to these things.

  119. Does Mr. Stephens know that we just spent $22 billion on the Zumwalt class destroyer program and now the 3 boats that resulted will be used as nothing more than trainers and not for operations? A little belt-tightening in defense would not impair our security. It would merely pull back on the entitlements to the military.

  120. They will eventually sink them for artificial reefs because they cannot work in coordination with the existing destroyer fleet. They were proving grounds for new technology that did not work out. It’s fun to play with ships when you can spend all the money in the world.

  121. @Bobotheclown That is why the USA needs women leaders. Enough of adolescent boys with their war toys taking away food stamps from single mothers.

  122. "Dramatic cuts in defense spending that would leave us and our allies even more vulnerable to Russian or Chinese aggression." Does Bret, or anyone, really believe this? We still live in a nuclear age, folks. And even if we cut the defense budget in half, we would still have, say, 20 times as many aircraft carriers as China for sometime  The dangers from Russia and China are far more in the political and economic realms.

  123. @wrenhunter The tepid little cutesy-sounding euphemism about defense spending does not mention that the CIA's massive black budget comes from the bloated DoD items. The yuuuge boondoggle that we the little people who pay taxes must support remains unmentionable and unexamined.

  124. Dem. Nominee Sanders sounds plausible but President Sanders no way, never. He has not even close to winning the nomination. Iowa has not mattered much and Bloomberg has yet to surface in super Tue. and blow all other wanna bee presidents out of the water with his billions. Money talks. Hill spent more than any other candidate in history to get Dem nomination. Since Bern is brought up again, I am going to bring up my reasons again why No Bern 1. The establishment Dems are against Bernie. 2 the 44th president Obama is against Bernie. 3 Although Bernie could live to 100 after the stents in his arteries he will pay for not having avoided a heart attack. It is careless to have the best health care and not be proactive in taking care of his own health. 4 Medicare for all ages will not fly because it disregards private health care, Medicare for all above 65 and Obamacare and a majority of Americans covered in one of the 3 will not want to opt for or support Medicare for all ages. Also Medicare for all ages does not equal sensible sustainable universal healthcare for all. 5 Being supported by the divisive squad will actually hurt Bern. 6 Bernie cannot relate to the working class as well other candidates. 7 Bern 2020 does not have the same enthusiastic support as Bern 2016. 8 As Bloomberg has said, he cannot stand up to Trump should he get nominated. 9 Bernomics will not stand up to Trumponomics. 10 Bernie does not seem like a future president who can govern in a complex world.

  125. @Girish Kotwal At least your logic is far more reasonable than the stance taken by Bret. I don’t pay serious attention to him or his ilk. They aren’t illiterate but they certainly sound uneducated, naive and trenchant about their war and defense rhetoric!

  126. The sound of it would make me happy, it would give me hope, it would put my soul at peace and restore my inner balance.

  127. He sounds like the perfect candidate to run against Trump. I’d like to hear Bernie say from the debate stage exactly how his single payer health plan, based on a system already facing insolvency, can possibly provide quality & timely care for all. I’d like him to justify more clearly as to why it’s ‘greedy’ for successful people to keep more of what they earn but it’s not greedy for him to take more and spend it as he sees fit. I’d like to hear Bernie explain again how the American Dream is more easily found in Venezuela - a failed socialist state whose catastrophic decline needs no explaining here. Let’s hear Bernie explain why the two thirds of Americans who don’t go to college should foot the bill for the one third that do. Let’s hear Bernie explain why we need to end the longest economic expansion in US history. Or let him explain to all the working people who participate in defined contribution plans why the stock market is bad for them. Every generation or two, we need to educate young people again as to the moral and existential hazards of socialism. Bernie would be the perfect standard bearer to defend socialism. Perhaps he should start by explaining why he didn’t whisk himself off to Cuba for care after his heart attack.

  128. No one is promoting Venezuela. This is so old. Is universal healthcare really socialism? Are public schools, sewage plants, hospitals, road building, bridges socialism? Most of us are yearning for the level playing field capitalism that flourished during Ike’s term. Billionaire’s money: some of them created or built something. But some are just Wall Street gamblers that continue to sink our economy every few years. Think Carl Ichon or Mit Romney. Ok, Let them keep their money, but should their great, great, great grandchildren have sway over our affairs? Do we really want to be an inherited oligarchy?

  129. @Once From Rome "already facing insolvency" Perhaps by taxing the rich??

  130. I don’t have a vote I’m desperately hoping you can help us out of our mess created by Brexit and a Johnson government based on divide and rule and base populism. Can Sanders win? I like Warren better but any Democrat would be an improvement. Don’t let us down !

  131. @Michael Thanks for chiming in. Hopefully other readers will see that a vote for Sanders or Warren will make the socialists in Europe happy.

  132. Those who should be core supporters of Sanders here express their hope that he will be reined in by Congress. That is not a good starting point in a general election.

  133. “Dramatic cuts in defense spending that would leave us and our allies even more vulnerable to Russian or Chinese aggression.” The US spends more than twice as much as China on defense spending and more than 10x as much as Russia. I think the military industrial complex is milking the gvt.

  134. I could always be wrong, humble that I am :), but why do I have a nagging feeling that one of Bret Stephens' key problems with Bernie Sanders pertains to a certain foreign affairs conflict and a certain U.S. client state whose name he does not speak in this column?

  135. At the risk of exposing my good old hippie paranoia, it could be asserted that the Sanders "surge" is the result of duplicitous support from the corporate investment powers-that-be, so that he will get the nomination, and then, because of his tainted association with "socialism," less likely to beat Trump than one of the moderates. Sort of like 2016, Hillary and the DNC... or not...

  136. The media might need to become aware that their anti-anti-establishment sentiments feed the anti-establishment movement. Same thing happened with Trump. Nothing like feeling that people are actively working against them, for followers to feel like they have a shared cause to fight the power. Especially in a landscape where people don’t have affordable healthcare or education. People are living shorter lives, in debt that they can’t get out of...

  137. "The one bright spot of the Trump years is an economy that has defied doomsayers and surpassed expectations with historically low unemployment and excellent stock-market returns. Those aren’t small things, most of all to people who live at the margins or outside of the labor market, including people nearing retirement and looking expectantly at their portfolios." But Bret, come on, what are those numbers built on? Slicing and dicing critical environmental protection laws and limits on carbon emissions as well as cutting funding for the arts and a million important social programs. Sacrificing the future so the present looks good is nothing to gain points for. Anyone who was hellbent on building a robust economy regardless of the damage done could look good to those who don't care.

  138. Right. Out of work people and the gig economy people have such large portfolios... What planet are these people from? It doesn’t matter what a rigged stock market does because most people only have lunch money in their 401(k)s. What people need are good paying jobs and not stock. But there are fewer good paying jobs out there every year. That is the point that the comfortable rich NYT does not get.

  139. Stephens's stance is incoherent. If Sanders wins the nomination there will be a choice between him and Trump. Regardless of the theoretical possibility of a third party candidate, the fact of the matter is that most Americans are going to choose between those two candidates. By refusing to assess which of those two candidates is more viable he ignores the purpose of the article and fails to inform the reader in a practical way.

  140. @Max Lobel Well it did say this was opinion.

  141. I'll keep it short: Those who are pushing for a "President sanders" are, in essence, taking us to four more years of President Trump.

  142. @revsde That is one of my main issues with Sanders. Though he has a rabid cult following, nationwide his support is pretty narrow and I don't think he could beat Trump.

  143. @revsde Bernie brings me back to my youth and all those bumper stickers that said, "Don't blame me, I voted for McGovern". We young idealistic boomers thought we had found our savior, George McGovern. McGovern was a much better candidate than Bernie will ever be, but we watched him lose in a landslide to tricky Dick Nixon. Come to think of it, even Tricky Dick would be a much better choice than Trump. Still, I will vote blue no matter who. I just hope it won't be Bernie. He gives me flash backs.

  144. @revsde Funny, I feel the same way about Biden. Let's see if he can manage not to swallow his own foot tonight. As for Buttigieg, he is a toy poodle next to Trump and don't think homophobia won't sink him. Optics are more important than you may think. Bloomberg is doing what billionaire (ex) Republicans do, he is buying the election. So much for democracy!

  145. For an intelligent thoughtful conservative, Bret is completely blind to the huge number of Americans who are struggling and the need for deep fundamental changes that go beyond the moderate Democrats. One has only to read Robert Reich's Saving Capitalism to understand that the United States is a plutocracy. Yes, Bernie is a democratic socialist but, practically, what he aims to do is to create economic democracy within a still capitalist country. Should he win the presidency this will be a daunting challenge given political realities. But at least we will have a president who understands the depth of the problems and their real solutions.

  146. @Mitch Gurfield Bernie will NOT do anything because Bernie will not win the general election, NOT in this economy.

  147. At most what Bernie can do is move the total system slightly toward the left and closer to economic justice. But his greatest contribution will be simply letting people hear that there are alternatives to the debt slavery and overwork that have become the image of this country. There are better ways to live that make us both more free and more secure. We cannot get there until someone has the courage to point the way.

  148. "Trump also has been able to get only a fraction of his agenda through Congress." Bret, you ignore the considerable part of his agenda that he's fulfilled unilaterally via Executive Order, and which has not involved Congress at all. Trump's regressive environmental actions alone constitute a crime against humanity that make ANY Democratic candidate a palatable alternative. Like you, I have my favorites. But if someone I'm less enthusiastic about gets the nod, that person still has my vote. The "big picture" has never mattered more. Eyes on the prize, Bret. Eyes on the prize.

  149. @D Price Very good point. Interesting to see that EW transition plan was rolled out using only executive powers without reliance on congress. Whoever is elected may turn out to do the same in the end.

  150. Bernie Sanders is consistent and the young people love him. Despite his age and his heart attack, he is still ticking and wants America to progress, not regress like under the GOP. That said, President Sanders does not appeal to many voters, especially the older ones. The average American is not ready to pay more taxes and share the burden of lifting those who are in need when they can get large tax cuts under the GOP. Despite the popularity of the ACA people don't want a National Healthcare because they have been brainwashed into thinking it would ruin America. They do not see the trillions of dollars spent by this president and the GOP as a problem but they hear Faux News telling them all day long that candidate Sanders will bring socialism to America. That's why Bernie Sanders is unelectable as president. I like Bernie a lot. He is persistent. He wants people to pay their fair share to make America a mire progressive country. Elizabeth Warren has similar ideas. She is not electable either. The average voters who do not like what they see in DC right now want a candidate who can defeat this president and repair all the unravelling done since 2016, domestically and internationally. We need someone who can fix the ACA but not force everyone into a national Healthcare that scares people off. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would be great advisers in a Joe Biden's presidency.

  151. It’s so funny to hear a new generation of conservatives like Bret bibbering the same old fears of earlier generations of conservatives; ‘defenses and taxes and socialism, oh my!’. It’s like a broken record. Most democratic candidates are solidly right of center on the political spectrum, such as Biden and Buttigieg. A slightly left-of-center candidate, which is what Sanders and Warren actually are when compared to many currently active European political personalities for example, could be just what the doctor ordered for the U.S. If only the people who have the most to benefit from that kind of candidate could grasp that concept.

  152. I agree. However, most of the people who would benefit from the Sanders program are on board for a Sanders presidency. Of the whole its those who benefit from keeping the system exactly as it is, who are opposed to Bernie. People like Brett.

  153. @Dennis: Yes I see, but my point was that a whole lot of Trump voters could also benefit from a Sanders presidency, but they are being told they would be voting for a communist.

  154. With all due respect Mr. Stephens, how can you claim to be a ‘Never-Trumper’ and not vote for whomever the Democratic nominee is? Sander’s is definitely NOT my 1st ( or 2nd or 3rd for that matter) choice however, if we can (barely) survive 4 yrs of this disastrous excuse for a president we can certainly survive 4 yrs of a Sanders presidency.

  155. The only surge that matters in 2020 is one that migth win back the swing voters in states like Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin. As their electoral votes go so goes the nation. Bernie, I fear, cannot make that happen.

  156. @Penseur He won every county but Madison in Wisconsin in 2016 and all 55 in West Virginia.

  157. Come on. The media gushes about Iowa and the prospects of Sanders and Warren. In the scheme of things Iowa is as significant as a pimple on an elephant. Can there be another state that is less representative of the USA in terms of racial makeup, ethnicity, or religious background? The nomination circus is much like watching pre-season sports-- a total waste of time. All the primary does is give the so-called candidates free publicity and create employment for reporters.

  158. Sanders is too left and too old. All Democratic candidates behave as though domestic policy is everything and the rest of the world doesn't really exist--experience keeps teaching us otherwise.

  159. @Ronald B. Duke You're right. Grab an everyday voter on the street, and they'll tell you "It's not about my material interests. Wages may be stagnant, the 1% are propering from a booming stock market I have no stake in, and I'm constantly aware of the spectre of crippling medical debt, but let's talk about getting defense contractors involved in Syria." Common sense really. The Democrats would do well to avoid focusing on American's everyday lives and hammer Trump on the issues where Democrats have consistently succeeded; foreign policy.

  160. It doesn't. America's center is exhausted of witnessing Trump's ongoing succession of fiascos, and is ready for a sane alternative that doesn't disrupt their current dynamics and force them to part away with their private health insurance plans. Whoever seizes the center (Biden, Klobuchar...) wins.

  161. @Gian Piero Messi We've tried "trickle-down" centrism for 40 years and, for most of us and for the planet, it has been an utter disaster. Time for a return to what democrats used to stand for. Time for Bernie Sanders.

  162. My ancestors fought in the French & Indian war, the War of Independence, War of 1812, Civil War, WWI and WWII. I'm pretty sure they were all part of this American cult of freedom and equality. I'm voting for Bernie Sanders because he's the one that understands that the equality part has gone missing.

  163. A great exchange here, raising mostly excellent points. Thanks.

  164. Sanders, like Trump, has a core of true believers but hardly as many and certainly not enough to win nationally. Too many voters, like Stephens, will sit on their hands, particularly in the five or six states where votes actually matter. These small-state Senators who are the front runners in a normal time would not be considered strong national candidates. Only the divisiveness of Trump makes them even remotely plausible.

  165. @Frunobulax Sanders, like Trump, is unwell. Sanders physiologically and Trump mentally. We need a younger healthy person who is at least viable in the White House, not some blowhard from either side of the political spectrum.

  166. Biden/Klobuchar offers Dems the most realistic choice versus Trump. Experience vs chaos. And in case you haven't noticed, Michael Bloomberg is keeping the Democratic Party afloat financially. The Dems are going to need all they help they can muster to compete with Trumps' re-election war chest. One example: Bloomberg is pouring millions into social media advertising to counter the GOP's enormous head start. The ads are not about himself, but instead they are frontal assaults on Trump's awful reign. He has also invested heavily in helping Democratic down-ballot races for Congress. I don't think Bloomberg can win the nomination. But I do think he is earning a role in a New Democratic Administration, in a high-level or Cabinet position, to direct our national recovery. My point is this: Sanders would never turn to Bloomberg for help; it's not something he is philosophically able to do. He would waste an incredible resource. That's why Sanders is not a good nominee.

  167. @PaulB67 If Sanders "would never turn to Bloomberg for help", that is all the more reason to elect him. Bloomberg is trying to BUY the presidency, like a hostile take-over. We have had quite enough of billionaire hubris. What he is doing is undemocratic and should be condemned for it.

  168. President Sanders does not sound well to me. I do not want an avowed Socialist Democrat as President, one who uses the Constitution only for his convenience, one who hails from the great over taxed, liberal and progressive State of Vermont. By the way just what has Sanders accomplished during his tenure in Congress?

  169. I am a 60's something male who voted for Bernie in the last election and hoped he would ditch the Democratic party machine and run as an independent which I am convinced would have won the presidency getting those white blue collar folks from Trump. I am not so sure about him this time. I was hoping he would hand over the mantle to Elizabeth Warren. Maybe a Warren- Mayor Pete ticket?? Still not completely decided. But, we do need a deep structural change. Not business as usual like the war hawk, Biden. Universal health care, lower military offensive spending, repairing the infrastructure, improving mass transportation/education, bringing back an ecological vision before the planet completely burns....see what happens...

  170. I've been trying to think of a State other than Vermont that would Sanders to any office. Can't think of a one. Please, no more cult figures. Can Sanders carry the states that HRC barely lost in the Electoral College? If not, he can't win the presidency and I don't believe he can. Whoever is the nominee must do what HRC just barely failed to do. Otherwise, it's four more years of the same insanity.

  171. New York. California. New Hampshire

  172. I am looking for some sanity and ability in the candidate that I will support. I appreciate and understand the checks and balances of all three branches of the US government which allows me to believe that Senator Sanders would be a fine choice as the Democratic nominee.

  173. I won't vote Bernie in the primary, but President Bernie sounds so much better than Emperor Donnie that I'm at a loss for the necessary superlatives.

  174. If you don’t vote for Bernie in the primary he will not be on the ballot and Trump will win. You have only two choices this election. Vote for Bernie or watch Trump win. No other candidate but Bernie has any chance at all.

  175. I have no desire to vote for Bernie Sanders as the nominee during the primary season. That said, if he becomes the Democratic nominee, I will vote for him. I do not think he can beat Donald Trump (I don't think he can flip the rust belt back to Democratic control) nor do I think he will turn out African American support.

  176. @Shannon Youtube Dr Cornell West on the campaign trail with Bernie Sanders. Now imagine Tulsi Gabbard campaigning with him through the rustbelt talking about ending the regime change wars Trump failed to end and bringing in the jobs Trump failed to bring?

  177. @Shannon The rust belt is full of people unable to understand how bad Trump has been for them, equally puzzling are African-Americans who want to support a white supremacist. Rather than worry about explaining the obvious to the uncomprehending, I think we are better off rallying the millions of people who want healthcare, lower college tuition, a greener economy, and higher wages. If Bernie can do that, so be it. He isn’t my first choice either. I understand the point you are making, but sadly it seems Trump won by convincing rust belt Democrats to accept a little racism in return for some lies about coal and manufacturing. I just don’t think we can win by catering to them - the Republicans tell them big, fantastic lies, which they would rather believe than the truth.

  178. @Pass the MORE Act: 202-224-3121 Listen. It is obvious you are an ardent Sanders supporter. I was in '16 and would gladly vote for him in '20. But you completely lost me at Gabbard. That would be an unmitigated disaster. In what universe could that combination on a ticket be anything other than outlandishly ridiculous? Please. Don't tank Sanders with that kind of freak show. I like Gabbard's message, but she is too radioactive and fringe. If he makes it to the general he needs someone on the ticket with him who is more establishment for balance. Think balance. Geographically and demographically. Stacey Abrams would be a wonderful running mate for Sanders.

  179. Is it possible for our country to elect someone other than a 78 year old white male. Why do we automatically go for the male. There are two qualified, capable, and in my opinion, better choices in two female candidates. How perfect does a woman have to be to win a Presidential election in this country. Please excuse my bitterness, but as a 55 year old woman, I am tired of females being held to a higher standard and taking a back seat to a male.

  180. @CAL Bernie resonates with voters because he has a genuine honesty and proven track record. Not that the others don't, but Bernie has a recognizable movement around him. How is Warren different from Bernie? Warren is like Bernie-Lite beer...

  181. @Zack I'm certain you have a sound argument for supporting Bernie, but it's long overdue that we think about how we (including women) are biased against female candidates. We don't like their voices (too soft, too "shrill"), we don't like how they look (somehow just not how we envision leaders), we don't like their personalities (too stiff, too steel-y, too soft, etc.) What will it take for us to not to label a talented & knowledgable & very experienced woman candidate as "lite"?

  182. @Zack ... "proven track record."....As a three term Senator, in 2016 exactly one Senate colleague supported him. Apparently the people who he worked with were not impressed.

  183. Joe Biden/Stacy Abrams ticket: I would ride that one right to the White House. Sanders is not a Democrat; he's an Independent. But in the end, the only sane choice is anyone but Trump.

  184. Sanders is by many standards the best of several well-qualified candidates for president. The fact that unreliable polls show him doing somewhat better than before (among many candidates in a fluid race) little relevance to the outcome, and even less to any estimation of which candidate would be best to replace Trump with.

  185. As with most 'analysis' they cover the horse race but not the policies in any sort of depth. Where is the Green New Deal? This is vitally important information concerning our future. This from Sanders website: The Green New Deal The climate crisis is not only the single greatest challenge facing our country; it is also our single greatest opportunity to build a more just and equitable future, but we must act immediately. Key Points •Transform our energy system to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million jobs needed to solve the climate crisis. •Ensure a just transition for communities and workers, including fossil fuel workers. •Ensure justice for frontline communities, especially under-resourced groups, communities of color, Native Americans, people with disabilities, children and the elderly. •Save American families money with investments in weatherization, public transportation, modern infrastructure and high-speed broadband. •Commit to reducing emissions throughout the world, including providing $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund, rejoining the Paris Agreement, and reasserting the United States’ leadership in the global fight against climate change. •Invest in conservation and public lands to heal our soils, forests, and prairie lands. •End the greed of the fossil fuel industry and hold them accountable.

  186. Why is the discussion so absent of speaking about how Bernie Sanders has made the progressive agenda more mainstream in the democrat party. Here are just a few of the policies that he has advocated for: $15 minimum wage, free public college education, medicare for all, putting climate change front and center, student loan forgiveness, income inequality and increasing taxes on the millionaires and billionaires of this country. His platform was and is a move away from the neoliberal positions of the democrat party. I agree with Noam Chomsky that the real news from the 2016 election is that Bernie Sanders, man who is not afraid to call himself a democratic socialist won the democrat primary and brought forth a progressive agenda that has created a movement that well may bring Sanders into the White House,

  187. Who has captured the imagination of the common man? Trump has, rightly or wrongly. Can Sanders? I think so. When you listen to him—really listen to him—he gets it.

  188. @Larry Dickman Trump has not captured the imagination of the common man. The only people who think that he has believe that “Americans”, “working people,” etc. are solely defined as white. Trump has captured the imagination of people who are comfortable blaming black and brown people for their economic woes.

  189. I deeply resent the fact Bret Stephens paints Senator Bernie Sanders's loyal supporters as a cult comparable to Trump's following. Wrong! There is nothing radical about Bernie Sanders's vision for America in the 21st century. How telling it is that he dominates the youth vote. After all, the future belongs to them and they embrace and trust his far-sightedness and his constancy in the struggle for the common good. One he has waged for over three decades. It is his vision and decency that so many of us of all ages find so inspiring and are passionate about.

  190. @La Rana I have admired Bernie Sanders for many, many years but I like his most fervent supporters a good deal less. Because their adoration of Bernie does border on cult-like and many are absolutely inflexible in their support of him. They, like Bernie, are not Democrats but unlike him, they would sacrifice the good (removing Trump) from their ideal (coronating Bernie).

  191. @La Rana Bernie supporters are very cult-like. Your response says it all. Try debating the negatives of a single policy position of Bernie Sanders and strong attacks will come your way as to being elitist and not fighting for the common man. Debate should be welcomed by every political candidate, but it's not. Raising the minimum wage does not change the revenue models for small businesses and would lead to job losses in rural, low-cost living areas. Politics does not overcome basic economics. Medicare-4-All implies enrollment is the number 1 complaint of Americans, and everybody wants to create a cost-blind bureaucracy. However, with 90% of Americans insured, cost is really the number 1 concern of every American and should be focus of healthcare debate. Bipartisan cost-cutting measures can pass while sweeping healthcare legislation will gridlock Congress. As far as student loan forgiveness and free college, who are these programs going to help? Those, like me, who made smart decisions to pay for college will resent increased taxes for these programs. As a black man who has spent time volunteering in inner-city neighborhoods, the people most likely to benefit from college aid programs are not poor people of color. When I went in to recruit poor minority high school students, administrators laughed at me saying these kids were not ready for a "real" college. Sadly, the facts show that there are better ways to spend money fixing education inequality than free college.

  192. @La Rana Yes, his followers act very cult-like. Their naivete is only outdone by their unreasoned fervor.

  193. "How Does President Sanders Sound to You?", it sounds great. I would be happy for my American neighbors, that they would have a good man for President. A man that puts the good for others, ahead of himself.

  194. On electability, if you are paying attention to actual working class voters (especially Black voters and young people) Bernie Sanders is the single candidate that addresses their real concerns. People feel the Bern because health care as a right matters, a living wage matters, access for all to technical and state universities matter. Not only has he thought us to dare to dream of a better world but also how to fight for it. Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states are ripe to go Democratic in November if we nominate a candidate. Not Trump is not a candidate. Not Trump will not win this election. A vision of a better world can.

  195. @Dennis very well said, Bernie is reliably on the correct side of the important issues to all working class people. MfA, living wage, the environment, world diplomacy, etc.. In 2016, he published a list of 10 points which were the planks of his platform. I encourage everyone to read those, because they’re his platform now, and even more relevant in 2020.

  196. Socialism has been coming to the rescue of Capitalism forever, but overwhelmingly for the rich and the powerful. I repeat, socialism is already here! No one should be entitled to greed, especially at the expense of the country and its citizens. It is utterly deplorable that greed is encouraged. it is a disease of the mind to think anyone deserves the insulation and pampering a billion dollars represents especially as it can only come at the cost of depriving your desperate fellow man a living wage, roof over his head, a good education, access to medicines, security in old age, time with family and a sane infrastructure. We are at a precipice, slowing down the car is not enough, we need to apply the brakes hard and veer back before we forget that we are all brothers and sisters and have an obligation to each other which was the fundamental agreement behind creating our nation. For 40 years only Sanders has been screaming to apply the brakes as our citizens, one by one, have bailed out of the car and disengaged from the agreement. We need a president Sanders and one by one people are steadily opening their eyes to that fact.

  197. @Mario Where has socialism ever bailed out capitalism? Venezuela, Greece?

  198. @Wylie Grace Right here in the US for one. Remember the banking bailout. Subsidies to oil companies. Big agro...etc. Government funds going to large corporations happens all the time. And yes my friend, that is a form of socialism.

  199. Bret is the worst variation of "Never Trumper". In that it's not that they don't like all the deregulation, tax cuts, court-packing, etc that has been occurring during the Trump Administration, it's just HOW the President goes about it that they disagree with. He'd much rather prefer the kind of thief that smiles while he picks your pocket. "A return to normalcy" for people like Mr. Stephens is the pre-2016 status quo of plutocracy without all the daily headlines. For better or worse, there is no going back. And one reason that Bernie Sanders resonates with a lot of people is because if there is one thing the common citizen regardless of political affiliation realizes, is that what the status quo is, is not working.

  200. I was going to comment, but this says it all. Exactly.

  201. Iowa and New Hampshire, both predominantly republican and homogeneous states, are bit players in this drama. They do not represent the sentiments of a broad spectrum of Democrat voters, from conservative to liberal, found in 48 other states. I would hazard to guess that these two state's Democrats already lean liberal with few moderates. We should have all primaries in 50 states on the same day. I agree with Gail, about Sander's yelling and anger. We have enough of that with Trump.,

  202. @Sarah Trump yells because he is caught in the never ending lies of his own making. Bernie yells to get people to listen to the truth. I want the Bernie yell because he is a man of substance not lies and he actually loves this country. I wonder about the GOP lovers of everything Russian

  203. Bernie Sanders is the antidote to the morass the United States finds itself in. The country does not need someone to take it back to the way things were before Trump. It needs someone who will address the conditions that led to Trump. That’s Bernie Sanders.

  204. Bernie may have found his moment, but probably not. Senator Sanders has a lot going for him. Bernie and his followers have a lot of passion. More importantly, the data shows that Bernie would do better than most Democrats against Trump. But let’s get real. Bernie might win Iowa and New Hampshire. So what? He’ll get thumped in South Carolina. While he could be the nominee, the data still shows that Joe Biden is still the candidate most likely to beat Trump. Bret, don’t let my analysis go to your head.

  205. @Brian What's real is that Sanders will likely win California, a somewhat bigger state than Iowa OR South Carolina. No Democrat can win in SC anyway.

  206. @Brian ... "Bernie and his followers have a lot of passion."....That's just great. All emotion, no brains.

  207. @Lewis Ford I think it’s reasonable to say that Sanders is the candidate who’s most likely to win the California primary. That doesn’t mean that he’s likely to win the primary. I’m not worried about California I’m the general election. Trump will lose California by several million votes.

  208. Sanders sounds good to me. Consider what 3 years of Trump have caused. According to the latest figures from Treasury, the deficit exceeded $1T in 2019 and the future is not looking better. For the next year, the shortfall is already at $356.6B, an 11.7% increase from a year ago. As deficits have swelled, so has the national debt, which now stands at $23.2T. If there were conservative republicans, they’d be appalled but nary a peep was heard. Turns out the $1.2 trillion tax cut didn’t have the promised trickle down impact on jobs. Nor do we enjoy the “greatest healthcare” system, nor are any high paying manufacturing jobs coming back to Saginaw. There’s full employment, but I’m lucky to find work paying more than $15/hour. Try buying diabetic supplies for your wife on $15/hour. I voted for Trump because no one since FDR has taken the problems of the middle class seriously. Manufacturing was Michigan’s backbone but it’s not coming back and Trump probably knew he couldn’t bring it back either. His 2016 campaign promises were empty vessels designed to fool the desperate into thinking salvation lies just ahead of his election. It takes a special kind of person to deliberately deceive desperate people so I wasn’t surprised to learn that Trump’s University was shut down by the courts, along with Trump’s nonprofit for kids and a third for veterans. The picture becomes clear, I was fooled. All I ask of Bernie is to live up to your promises.

  209. @Paul K Thank you for your honest comment, Paul. Bernie is the most consistent politician in Congress. He will keep his promises and inspire others to follow his reforms. He knows how to pass a bill and he genuinely cares.

  210. @Paul K Although they have recently plateaued, manufacturing jobs experienced a great renaissance upon the election of Trump. Consider this article from Marketwatch....... U.S. enjoys best manufacturing jobs growth of the last 30 years Published: Jan 4, 2019 2:14 p.m. ET "Some food for thought: the U.S. had as many people working in the manufacturing sector in December as it did 69 years ago. The 32,000 positions added in December took the total number of positions in manufacturing to 12.84 million. In November 1949, there were 12.88 million manufacturing workers, at the end of a sharp recession."

  211. @Paul K Well a smart open person can state that they were fooled by a pro who fools everyone every change he gets. Trump is a con man with special deceiving gifts. Bernie can win it all and he will keep his promises, for forty years he has been preaching vulture capitalisms, its about time people wake up and see the truth in his words. Warren/ Bernie the country needs the energy and the progressive thinking they have. It is not 1954 anymore.

  212. I am glad Amy Klobuchar is getting more attention. She may just be the phoenix that could rise out of this endless debate that takes a toll on all of the top runners, her or Michael Bloomberg, but she is better positioned politically and in he understated way is as tough as nails, something we need to beat trump.

  213. @just Robert If you haven't noticed, most of the major mews outlets have cut Amy Klobuchar out of the picture in recent days. This is not fair as I think she has as good of a chance as any right now and she has my support.

  214. I wouldn't be pleased about a President Sanders as I think he'd be largely ineffective. He would be far better than Trump though and that's good enough for me.

  215. Bret, this economy has not been good for those “living on the margins,” and the margins include a lot more people than you think they do. The availability of minimum wage jobs for all those people who paid for four years of college is not the same thing as a good jobs market, and the number of people smiling about how fat their retirement account is getting is much smaller than you seem to realize. A lot of hard working people, myself included, lost their retirement funds 12 years ago, and a few years of high stock market numbers now does nothing but remind me of how well the people that ended up with all my money are doing.

  216. Dems better heed the warnings of former Republican strategist and now Trump-basher Rick Wilson: "If Bernie is your candidate be prepared to lose 45 states." I would have preferred Warren but if Biden is 48 points ahead of the field with African-American women he's the one to beat Trump.

  217. I have always been wary of the “electability” factor; after all, that overrated theory is how we wound up with the “electable” Trump and its attendant nightmare. Be that as it may, Bernie beat Hillary Clinton in several Midwest primaries in 2016, the very states in which the latter lost to Trump in the general election. There is, as a result, considerable evidence to suggest that, had Sanders been the nominee in 2016, we would be talking about his re-election, not just his nomination. For all of the talk about Russian meddling and hacking in 2016, there are some grounds for believing that the Democratic nominating process was, in 2016, rigged against Bernie—and not by the Russians.

  218. We already have an inexperienced boisterous fraud in the White House, why make this trade. In thirty years, what has Senator Sanders accomplished in Congress? Is there a great bill like Warren's Consumer Fraud Law, or Biden's Violence Against Women Act. Has he ever explained why he was so NRA when he voted against the Brady bill or why he voted against immigration reform legislation? Sanders like Trump is just one empty promise after another, progress occurs when we do more than talk. Bernie won't be the candidate, but should that happen, McGovern, Mondale and Dukakis indicate he will be lucky to win five states.

  219. Bret was having a rough time defending his position of anyone but Sanders. I hope if it does come down to Trump vs Sanders, he, and other like minded folks, rethink that dangerous position. Like Gail, Sanders isn't my first pick either, but I would vote for him in a heartbeat to prevent the complete destruction of our country.

  220. I am riding with Biden but will vote for who ever the Democratic nominee is. The complete failure going on in the White House has to end and we the people have the power to do it.

  221. Bernie Sanders has a base that includes huge numbers of independents, and voters who don't normally get involved in politics. He has awoken a gigantic number of young people: 75% of all Democratic-voters under age 50 voted for Bernie Sanders 2016. Young people spread out across the USA over the summer of 2018, registering new voters. As a result, voters age 18 to 29 increased participation in Midterms 2019 by 200%! Bernie Sanders is endorsed as the BEST to handle climate change by the youthful "Sunshine Movement." He's also endorsed by a coalition of #Progressive organizations working in states like Florida to boost on-the-ground support. Sanders' supporters have also launched an organization called #OurRevolution, which provides social media support and funding for "Berniecrats," who are taking on "establishment" "centralist" Democrats in the primaries! Sanders has a massive database of monthly supporters, which includes millions of voters willing to go with him to Washington DC to PUSH THE AGENDA. Because, as Senator Sanders says at every rally of 30,000, "Power does not concede without a fight. It will take tens of millions of voters insisting on systemic change in order to take back our government from the Oligarchy."

  222. @mjpezzi I haven't seen those numbers -- if they are accurate, then Bernie should cruise to the nomination, and I will definitely vote for him and prepare myself for 4 more years of hitting the mute button and reading what was said later.

  223. @mjpezzi Bernie Sander's base were fortunate to not witness the McGovern revolution. Unfortunately no one can blame the young for being naive. The Clinton revolution was based on the revolutionary idea that only those that win elections can drive change. Unfortunately the left has forgotten that truth.....again and again and again in past decades the left has forfeited in the name of purity.

  224. I was a delegate to the MA platform convention before the 2016 election. I saw the tactics Our Revolution used there. Turned me off rather than impressing me or convincing me to join the cause. If he gets the nomination I will vote for him, but I would prefer someone else and will vote accordingly in the primary. (If he would partner with someone else like Klobuchar or Buttigieg and would discuss the kinds of people he would choose for his cabinet I would feel better about him.)

  225. The focus on Iowa and who for the moment is leading in polls misses the point about who would beat Trump. Is Iowa representative of the American electorate or just the presidential primary state with the earliest caucus/vote? We know what Trump would do in his attack on Sanders and Warren. Biden is certainly not bulletproof against Trump's attacks, regardless of how contrived they will be, but face to face would make Donnie look like the bully that he is. Biden/Klobuchar or Biden/Booker seem more capable of winning those states that will decide the election. Moreover, Sanders would decline Bloomberg's financial support and that would put him at an even bigger disadvantage than the labels that Trump and his minions would paint on Bernie. Those labels stick in crucial states. The electorate is far more moderate than Sanders or Warren and average people have had it with tax increases. The DNC should get real and not make the same mistake it did in 2016. It needs to be pragmatic. Finally, my choice would be Bloomberg for a long list of practical reasons, not least is that he could command media with a cogent anti-Trump message, both social and mass with acumen and far more money than Trump. In office Bloomberg could address crucial problems persuasively. While he is not touchy feely like some of the other Democratic candidates, he seems a decent person. The fact that he is really a Republican should give him an edge with Trumpers away from the MAGA madness crowd.

  226. An odd photo of Bernie at the top of this piece, which asserts that he is surging. He looks old and he looks tired; not a man surging. Despite this infirmity-appearing photo, he still conveys a vitality that captures loyalty and buoys spirits. More than any other candidate he arouses voters viscerally. That should make him a winner. But wait, it's early yet to be certain and the centrists, who make up the bulk of the electorate, have not yet spoken.

  227. It’s Trump and Republicans who are leaving us vulnerable to Russia and China. Bernie would protect our most precious asset, the integrity of our elections. Bernie understands that more economic equality will improve our economy rather than harming it and strong medicine is needed to accomplish that goal. If Bernie is the nominee, a non vote for him is a vote for Trump so I guess that you, Bret, don’t really dislike him that much after all.

  228. @Robert O. I am not sure how Sen Sanders protects "the integrity of our elections" since those are controlled by the state and county. One serious issue is the control states and counties have over federal elections and state-wide elections such as governor. Republicans have put themselves in positions of power to determine the number and locations of polling places as well as the days and hours polling places are open. I think the damage done by the Republican party in selecting election equipment will take at least a generation to fix. Sen. Sanders has offered good ideas to the Democratic party, but the fact remains that he is not a Democrat and his connections are not as strong as a person who has always been a Democrat and voted within the structure of the Democratic party platform.

  229. Bernie Sanders has a loyal base, just like Trump. The question is, will he be successful in swing states like PA, a state Trump carried in 2016? Can he beat Trump here? I don't think he can. I think Biden is the one to take the White House from The Orange One. He can win in PA, and the road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue passes through Scranton.

  230. Sounds absolutely frightening to a working tax payer who relies on a solid business-friendly economy to support his family.

  231. I will vote for whoever is running vs Trump - and I WILL vote. However, I don’t understand people who say Bernie is the only person who can turn our country around. Aren’t his policies very similar to Warren’s? I like them both for pinpointing income inequality and corporate greed/entitlement as the major issues underlying most of our problems.

  232. Like music to my ears. It means more than I can say to have an actual progressive in there, not so much in terms of policy because I know that really falls on the House and Senate which will still be run by the corporatists, but Bernie can place in key positions people actually interested in doing their jobs. Can you imagine an EPA admin not owned by the oil industry? I can.

  233. @Jon Q I can too--and I can imagine this with Bloomberg as the nominee and less so with Bernie. Why not Bloomberg? He fights for climate change and would bolster the EPA, he is proposing reinstating appropriate taxes on the wealthiest, he supports education for poor students, he supports common-sense gun reform--and the list goes on. The issue I have with Bernie -- and I basically like him -- is that he is lovably crusty, but crusty nonetheless, crusty in the sense of "my way or the highway" the political equivalent of "get off my lawn." We will have another disastrous four years--better than Trump, but disastrous.

  234. @Alive and Well "We will have another disastrous four years--better than Trump, but disastrous" Yes, my fear exactly. Talks a good game but can he actually pull a decent govt together and then get anything done. We will be trading one lump for another with Bernie.

  235. @Jon Q Seriously? What the American military-industrial complex are you talking about? The ' lesson' that the Democrats learned from their 2016 Presidential loss was to place a litter of white 70+ year olds deep in the sunset of their lives at the top of their primary. Bernie Sanders is older and more New York City streetwise naturally bombastic than Donald Trump. Mike Bloomberg is older, shorter, richer and more politically governing New York City smooth and articulate experienced than Trump will ever be. Joe Biden is older and has much more governing political experience and talent while being poorer than Donald Trump will ever be. Elizabeth Warren is older than Hillary Clinton while no one notices nor cares who she is married to nor who her father was. Bernie Sanders is too left-wing progressive for Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

  236. Of the five viable candidates for the blue team, Bernie is fifth on my list. But if he wins the nomination, I will be all in for him. Trump must be defeated if democracy is to survive in the United States. And he must be defeated if we are going to address climate change before it is too late. We don't have the luxury of pouting if the Democratic nominee is too old or too young, to moderate or too progressive, or the wrong gender or sexual orientation. Future generations are depending on us to do the right thing.

  237. If you truly believe Climate Change is real, President Sanders is best choice. Just ask the Sunrise Movement. They have endorsed him.

  238. @kjb I'm kind of the reverse of you . Bernie is first on my list, but if Biden gets the nomination I am all in for him.

  239. @kjb So in order to save Democracy, we need to elect a socialist? You sure about that?

  240. Bernie Sanders as the Democratic Candidate will guarantee four more years of Donald Trump. The Senator is leaning why to far Left for most of the Country. Also, four years of Bernie’s shouting and scowling will be painful!

  241. Bernie beats Trump, don’t worry. And you should go see him in person, as I have here in New Hampshire many times and talked with him personally. He’s very thoughtful, kind, makes funny jokes and is soft-spoken, one on one.

  242. @HPS Agree. He is a very weak candidate--and not a Democrat except when he believes it will benefit him personally. Ugh.

  243. If Bernie Sanders wins the primary, I’d vote for him exactly one time, and then I’d register as an Independent immediately. I have a younger sibling, I’m not completely unfamiliar with the ‘youths’. But I am completely terrified by the idea of a political constituency that communicates largely by way of ‘Graphic Interchange Format’ files, and appears to be more interested in literature for the aesthetic value that books add to a room, rather than the information which they contain.

  244. @ubique Completely terrified, huh? You may be giving your own generation (not sure which it is) more credit than it is due. There are *some* book readers sprinkled about the country but there are many, many citizens of all ages who have only a superficial understanding of many issues.

  245. Bernie was a decent mayor of a city even smaller than Pete's. He won support from a wide swath of people. In Congress he supported farmers, workers and veterans (not like Republicans who say they support veterans but don't put any money where their mouths are). One complaint is that he is not a big D Democrat, and that is true - he has always called himself an Independent (and has not run a third party candidacy as a spoiler). He runs as a Democrat because he can win that vote. Will he try to get the tax code to be more fair, will he try to spend more money on health care, education, infrastructure, and protecting the environment, and less on military waste. Yep. Maybe Mr. Stephens might take another look.

  246. @Marc And hence part of the problem with Sanders. He is not very progressive on gun control (that is generous). He is NOT good on farm subsidies - he supports the broken farm subsidies for dairy as much as any crooked mid-western Republican. These are sell-out positions that mar his progressive stances and show his true nature.

  247. I trust Bernie will listen to good advisors on the gun issue and farm subsidies. (Warren will make a good policy advisor.)

  248. @BMD A Senator from Vermont who did not support subsidies for dairy farmers would soon be known as the former Senator from Vermont. Likewise an extreme anti gun stance in a state full of hunters. The man is a politician not a suicide bomber. On the plus side a nominee from a small rural state might be able to connect with rural voters in ways that say a Biden could not.

  249. I believe that people voted for Trump because they mistakenly felt he cared about them and because they mistakenly felt he would address corruption in government. Of all the Democratic candidates, there is no question that Bernie projects the image of someone who cares about people and will fight corruption. So I believe he has the best chance at winning. And his policies, while apparently radical in the U.S., are nothing more than mainstream in most democratic industrialized nations. Those countries somehow surviving the "horror" of subsidized medical care and education, as a well as a reasonable defense budget. We can too.

  250. @Matt Bernie has never really been vetted, but if he's the nominee, he'll be shredded by the GOPRANOS as a socialist who will raise taxes to astronomical levels. Bernie is not nearly as appealing to a general electorate as his supporters think he is. He might be able to withstand Trump's taunts but he won't be able to weather the media's withering questions about his policies, which he will refuse to fully answer. Bernie stabs at the air while he repeats the same stale talking points and his entire plan rests on an uprising by the general public, which is NOT going to happen!

  251. @Elizabeth After what happened in 2016, I don't believe that the presidential election will be decided by policy. Americans are increasingly voting on personal identification with the candidate. This is how Trump won. Bernie inspires young progressive voters and reaches disaffected blue collar voters better than any of the other candidates have demonstrated.

  252. @Matt ....I believe that people voted for Trump because they mistakenly felt he cared about them and because they mistakenly felt he would address corruption in government.'.... Then how do you explain why they are still supporting him?

  253. Nominate Sanders and you will be calling Trump Mr. President in 2020. His positions will make independents hold their nose and vote for Trump...or just stay home. The other candidates have treated Sanders with "kid gloves" because they need his supporters. The GOP will have no such restrictions. I would not have any problem voting for Bloomberg or Klobuchar but Sanders would drive me into the Trump camp.

  254. In 2016 Trump adopted many of Bernie's talking points after the DNC cheated Bernie out of the nomination. That's why many Bernie fans switched to Trump.

  255. @Bronwyn ...."DNC cheated Bernie out of the nomination."....If you go back and look at the results, Sanders did well in caucus states, but was not really competitive in most states where there was a state wide vote. Unfortunately caucus states don't reflect very well what happens in a national election. As for Bernie fans who switched to Trump, their just not very smart.

  256. Bret, if you think the economy is good because stocks are up, then you are defining the economy for wealthy people today. Deficits are up, interest rates are being artificially kept down - these two things hurt the average American. Not to mention income inequality is real. Tax cuts for the wealthy aren't trickling down either. Be careful how you define a good economy. It matters!

  257. @NB Plenty of people have 401k's, not just the wealthy. If you want to be wealthy yourself, you need to take a risk and invest. Invest in anything. Doesnt have to be the stock market. Could be real estate. Waiting around for someone else to hand you a 300k per year job isnt going to happen. Theres plenty of opportunity out there, you just have to go out and grab it yourself. Thats how it works. Deficits went way up under Obama. Each if his first four years saw deficits of 1.3 Trillion . He added 9 Trillion to the debt. Did that matter to you back then? Also, income inequality went way up under Obama too. Incomes either declined or were stagnate. They are finally rising under Trump. Lower taxes incentivise investment. Investment is how jobs are created.

  258. There is a reason the Nurses Union backs Sanders. He gets it. Voting for the status quo will not help the middle class. It will be more of the same with less drama. There may be gains on the environment, health care and education but not the gains that are needed. As long as candidates are bankrolled by the corporations then nothing will change much. The middle class will be thrown a couple of bones to keep them from picking up their pitchforks.

  259. @Elaine Donovan Yes the Nurses Union backs Sanders, but most of the nurses themselves support Trump. Whereas they know the system is rigged and has been unfair to many, they're not ready to throw out a free market economy that richly rewards nurses at the rate of $100k/year salaries in exchange for a Socialist/Nationalist system that reduces their pay to $50k/year for the Common Good. The irony is that the Nurses Union is comprised of people who would not see a penny of pay reduced...whereas the nurses themselves would see devastation and destruction in the pay they've worked so hard to earn. Same with Teachers. Their Union leadership is with Sanders, but the teachers themselves want to experiment with new methods of teaching while adopting a new model of public education that actually is learner-centric instead of teacher-centric.

  260. @Erica Smythe I'm sorry, please explain to me how teachers (or nurses for that matter) are being richly rewarded with $100K salaries??? My mother, a teacher, at the end of a 30+ year career, was making half that (she lived in Salt Lake City). Here in California, teachers in the Bay Area don't make enough to rent a 1-bedroom apartment in many cities where they work.

  261. @Erica Smythe Actually, teachers and nurses have been giving tons of individual donations to Bernie.

  262. Really doesn't matter how it sounds to me, or any other Voter. All that matters is how does it sound to the Super Delegates who will decide the Brokered Convention democrats are in store for. Warren voters will not get on board, nor will those who clung to Biden or Butiegeig but keep believing they will. But to answer the question: Sounds like a fairy tale fantasy that will never come true to me but go for it.

  263. It sounds impossible. Because it's vitrually impossible. If Dems opt to nominate Sanders, they'll ensure a Trump victory. This isn't hyperbole. He cannot win, because much like Clinton in '16, he is a hyper-repellent candidate to 'most' of American. He has strong support within his base, he has zero support outside of it. Unlike other candidates, like Klobuchar, a Sanders nomination pushes every single voter that is currently in the middle that feels they have no choice right into Trump's arms. Sanders cannot win the nomination if Dems want to win the White House. It's simple.

  264. @M.A.A I'm not sure anyone can say the above with certainty. Trump did and does repel most Americans. He did and does have strong support within his base, but zero outside of it. And he is currently President.

  265. @David Trump's base is every registered Republican in American. Bernie's base is but a fraction of the registered Democrats in this country. Big distinction.

  266. “President Sanders” does not sound good to me at all. I firmly believe that Sanders would not be able to beat trumpf because of his left-leaning beliefs. Cracks are also continuing to appear in Sanders’ facade. The Washington Post has a fascinating op/ed piece about the Times’ exhaustive interview with Sanders that speaks to this issue. It ‘s a good read.

  267. Brett, don’t fret. The Democratic ticket will be Biden/Klobuchar. In 4 years President Biden will choose not to run again due health reasons, and Amy Klobuchar will become the first woman president. It could happen. Especially after Warren and Sanders attack each other in today’s debate, destroying any chance that America will get the progressive president it so desperately needs. I hope I’m wrong, and Elizabeth Warren becomes the nominee, with Mayor Pete as VP. That could happen too.

  268. @Eric You clearly don’t see whats happening or read the polls. Despite every effort by corporate media, establishment donors and voter suppression Bernie is clearly the most electable candidate to beat Trump. Otherwise Bret wouldn’t say it.

  269. @Pass the MORE Act: 202-224-3121 Bret Stephens is a Republican. He will push for the candidate that he thinks represents the *least* likely candidate to win the election.

  270. Bret, So let the billionaires go. They don't pay their share of taxes now. And how's that fiscal balance doing under the GOP & Trump? Low unemployment? What good is that when wages don't keep pace? Who does the stock market advantage? Not main street.

  271. Seems like if the President can divert and additional $7 billion from the defense budget for his wall, the defense budget is already big enough.

  272. Tell Mr. Stephens to stop projecting Republican talking points against Bernie. There is a huge difference between the warmongering state we have been for a long time and a demilitarized country. I am a veteran who held high clearances during the Cold War era and have no problem with a President Sanders. He will not send my Nephews that serve off to stupid conflicts where we do not belong. What he promotes is actually closer to a free market than the crony capitalism now in force. A healthier economy that is not a race to the bottom with monopolies and wage crushing imports from countries with no environmental rules and child labor. There is a happy middle between what we have and a command economy. A people not saddled with debt in order to become educated and without a fear of bankruptcy from illness will be free to start businesses and grow the Main Street economy. This will also address income inequality and persistent poverty. Bernie is not Stalin with a Brooklyn accent. He went to the University of Chicago and has been a Mayor, a Congressman and a Senator. I suggest the NYT talk with Republicans in Vermont who know him well. It might open your eyes and assuage your concerns.

  273. @David Gregory, thank you for this excellent comment - I wholeheartedly agree with all of your points. And, I’d really love to see Bernie debate Trump.

  274. For Bret who must have missed Economics 101: The S&P being at a record means the 1 percent gets up enjoy double digit returns on their investments and the 0.01 percent an even higher boost in their capital gains. It also means the capital portion of the Labor Capital pie has grown even more. The return on Capital is higher as the return on labor hardly moved (20 vs 3 percent). If the derivatives move that way, their integrated cousins (assume your took calculus for poets somewhere between prep school and Chicago)follow suit. The market move up is a function of corporate tax rates moving down by a lot. The value of a stock has the tax rate as a negative number in the denominator, the discounting rate of cash flows over time. The amount of that benefit that goes to the bottom half of our population is a tiny fraction that goes to the top one percent. Bernie went to the same school as you did, clearly he learned different things there. You should have followed your uncle Bernie, it doesn’t seem he liked you much though :-)

  275. @David Gregory , Totally agree. He’s not advocating a direction towards the old USSR nor even today’s China, but rather a direction closer to where Norway or Sweden or many in the EU are. Enjoy your comment without the typical tags of socialist, communist, etc. Those countries ( yes there are numerous, democratic, capitalistic countries other than the USA) have found a better balance between our form of capitalism and totalitarianism. Or we can just continue with the trends in inequality and wealth since the early 1980s...for a while longer.

  276. I live in Vermont and am liberal/progressive and I don’t want to vote for Bernie (who has been my congressman/senator for going on 30 years). Full disclosure I have voted for him multiple times but never passionately. Truth be told I thought our old moderate Republican senator Jim Jeffords was more authentically dedicated to the people behind his policies. There’s something about Bernie. I usually chalk it up to a sense I have that Bernie is humorless. But that’s too general. I guess I feel he is convinced of his principles but I’m not convinced that he cares about the people so much as his immense dedication to the ideas.

  277. I'm running a statistics game in my head, and it's all about the ticket. Of the remaining top candidates, I'm tossing Mayor Pete and Elizabeth Warren, and going with Biden/Klobuchar or Sanders/Klobuchar. I like Amy, but do not think she'll be the party's nominee. Pete and Warren I see as more polarizing than Hillary Clinton, because this is an even more hostile country than it was in 2016. There are other variables for VP that may make sense for me, but right now it's the experience and sensibility combination. Ask yourself - who might Trump be most afraid to debate and run against? Biden for sure. Bernie would run circles around him. The others might be thwarted by Trump's bullying and name-calling, which will be brutal. Despite the numbers, I will vote for any Democratic nominee. Any of these candidates would be a welcome sigh of relief after the Stage IV cancer that is the Trump administration.