On the brink of what could have been an absolute disaster, American Democrats thoroughly rejected socialism on South Carolina Saturday and Super Tuesday by overwhelmingly choosing former Vice President Joe Biden over Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. That was the general media talking point over the next several days after Biden ‘saved the Democratic party,’ and James Carville’s heart, with a dramatic come-from-behind win that almost nobody saw coming.
Like the ending of every dumb Marvel movie, however, Biden’s seemingly improbable win wouldn’t have happened without the help of a key cast of characters. Fearing socialism, or perhaps a back-alley baseball bat in the kneecaps, former presidential hopefuls started dropping like flies as soon as the former vice president managed to win a state he had been predicted to win even before slinking off from New Hampshire with his proverbial tail between his legs. As the dominoes began to fall after South Carolina, first with Tom Steyer, then Pete Buttigieg, then Amy Klobuchar all dropping out - and the latter two heartily endorsing Biden - it was obvious that the fix was in. Add in Elizabeth Warren’s stubborn refusal to exit the race, even though she clearly had no path to victory and her endorsement might have helped Sanders at least maintain his electoral lead, and it’s even more obvious that, well, the fix was in.
Nope, come hell or high water, the Democratic establishment wasn’t about to nominate an avowed socialist to lead their party. But it would be a mistake to start thinking these people are even halfway sane, much less that they have anything in common with conservatives. Interestingly, to some on the right, Biden’s win signaled that the Democratic Party establishment, and indeed the Democratic voters who chose him over Sanders, aren’t as crazy as some of us might have thought they were. For example, conservative radio host Ben Shapiro called the election results “excellent news for the country.”
“A Sanders nomination would have meant, practically speaking, half the country rallying around the agenda of a man who once declared he hoped to nationalize every major industry in the United States, a man who has spent decades praising nearly every communist dictatorship on the planet, a man who seethes with disdain for American history and founding principles,” Shapiro wrote in a Townhall column last week. “Instead, Democrats will rally around the banner that is anti-President Donald Trump -- but Biden isn't an anti-American communist, and his nomination won't mean the deepening of Sanders' vile worldview.”
Shapiro contended that, indeed, “perhaps we still have something in common after all: opposition to a radical philosophy that sees America as a nefarious force in the world and sees constitutional principles as oppressive hierarchical dominance.”
Now granted, Biden isn’t an avowed socialist, technically, but is his platform really all that different from that of Sanders? Sure, he isn’t praising Fidel Castro, but if he got elected and managed to pass and implement the policies he and those who would inevitably surround him espouse, wouldn’t America be pretty far along the road to looking like the Cuba Castro built? After all, among other crackpot leftist policy positions, both candidates are for raising taxes, taxpayer-funded abortions, abolishing the death penalty, open borders, eliminating fossil fuel jobs, and giving ‘free’ healthcare and college to illegal aliens. And that’s just for starters.
Shapiro’s view, in my opinion, gives Democratic Biden-supporters entirely too much credit. I get that the average Democratic Party working stiff just wants a better life for his or her family, but just two weeks ago almost every one of those average Democratic Party working stiffs, along with the entire party establishment and every declared candidate to a person, were more than willing to support an avowed socialist if that avowed socialist were running in a general election against President Donald Trump. Sure, they were going to try to stop him, but if they hadn’t succeeded, they’d be campaigning on his behalf.
Yes, Carville and others predicted electoral disaster should Sanders win the nomination, and maybe that’s what would have happened, but Sanders himself continued to point to polls showing him more than competitive against Trump, particularly in those must-win Rust Belt states.
Maybe you’re thinking that Republican voters would be the same way when it comes to defeating any Democratic candidate. After all, didn’t they rally around the very flawed Donald Trump in 2016? If you think that, venture into a hypothetical with me: Suppose, like the socialist Sanders praised Castro’s Cuba, a hypothetical Republican candidate who happens to be, say, an avowed fascist, had praised the fascist government that was Francisco Franco’s Spain (I’ll spare the Hitler or Mussolini analogies because Castro, while bad, wasn’t on the level of a Stalin, Lenin, or Mao). “Franco’s Spain had its flaws and I’m not for totalitarianism,” the hypothetical GOP candidate hypothetically reasons on the hypothetical debate stage, “but, by gosh, they made the trains run on time, and we could use some trains running on time in America.”
Would the media’s approach to this hypothetical GOP candidate’s avowed fascism be as nuanced and muted as it’s generally been for avowed socialist Bernie Sanders? Because I’m pretty sure that if even 20 percent of GOP voters supported the ‘fascist’ candidate, every headline would scream “20 PERCENT OF GOP VOTERS SUPPORT AN AVOWED FASCIST FOR PRESIDENT,” and rightfully so.
No, Democrats didn’t choose Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders because of some free-market-loving ideologically-rooted position against extremism and socialism. They chose him because they thought he has the best shot at beating President Donald Trump, the man they hate exponentially more than they love America.