Where Did Bernie Sanders Go Wrong?

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June 10, 2016 by Chris Kite

I was sorry to see Bernie Sanders victory fall fully out of reach on Tuesday night. Yes, I’ve been pointing out it was over for weeks now. But I know how disappointed his true believers are. I have no doubt the bulk of his ideas would be very good for our country and for the middle class. But I also never had much doubt he would lose.

That didn’t stop me from voting for him. I was really doing it more as a message to the Democratic party to move back from their centrist right position of the recent past. I really hoped I was wrong, but I keep coming back to my golden rule for Presidential candidates. If I like just about everything about them, they are probably too far left for enough Americans to win a general election. I’m convinced that is the case with Bernie Sanders.

But could he have won the nomination? It is possible, but still seems unlikely. Perhaps if his campaign had focused more on the southern states early on he might have squeaked by. But that still seems unlikely.

In short, I think until the last few weeks, he ran an excellent campaign, stayed positive and focused on the issues, and did better than any of the political experts expected. It is obvious that many Americans are feeling left behind by our political process. And how we address that frustration is very important.

It would appear the Republican party has already pretty much self destructed by trying too hard to court the extremists at the far right instead of addressing the real issues. They have spent years firing them up and telling lies and half truths to try to justify the ridiculous arguments about the loss of freedom because of things like gay marriage, transgender rights, equal pay, organized labor, voter fraud, and the rest of the right wing paranoia issues.

But I think the Democratic party can still harness the resentment and rally support if it learns lessons not just from the Democratic primaries and the Sanders campaign, but also from where the right went wrong. We need to be more inclusive. We need to fight hard to get money and corporations out of politics. We need to end the revolving door of politics and lobbying. And we need reign in Wall Street and make them follow a reasonable set of rules.

I don’t really think Bernie Sanders went wrong during his campaign, other than to maybe be too slow to fall into the Clinton corner. He hasn’t done it yet, but I suspect he will in the next few days. He’s got meetings scheduled with President Obama and Harry Reid and we can all guess what they are going to tell him. He is at the point where getting behind a Democratic victory in November and giving it real support could go a long way toward advancing his platform’s agenda. Which would be very good for the democratic party and very good for America.

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