Bernie Sanders’ surge in the polls, and his increasing odds of getting the nomination, are supposedly alarming the party’s leaders. What are they worried about? That the public at large will finally learn how radical Democrats have become?
According to Real Clear Politics, polls show Sanders leading Joe Biden by an eight-point margin nationally – a complete reversal from a month ago. Assuming that Elizabeth Warren’s supporters will go to Sanders, he’s polling at close to 40%, compared with Biden’s 17%. The RCP’s average of betting odds has Sanders favored over Biden by a 31-point margin.
Barack Obama chief strategist David Axelrod told USA Today that “I know that there’s a panic among some quarters of the Democratic Party about Bernie Sanders.” James Carville recently likened Sanders’ campaign to a cult. They fear that Sanders would not only lose badly to Trump but could cost the party their control of the House.
That’s not an unfounded concern. But the same USA Today article contends that “most Democrats are not ‘liberal.’” This is a blatant falsehood, one peddled by the party’s elite, who apparently are equally clueless about where the party now stands.
This year, Gallup found that a majority of Democrats (51%) now consider themselves either liberal or very liberal, up from 38% in 2008.
Even that understates the party’s left-wing swing, because when asked about specific policies, the vast majority of Democrats support Bernie Sanders’ socialist agenda down the line.
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that three-quarters of Democrats support Sanders’ radical $34 trillion takeover of the nation’s health care system – which would be more expansive than government-run health care systems anywhere else in the world, with the possible exception of Cuba.
Meanwhile, 86% of Democrats back Sanders’ equally radical Green New Deal, which would dump $16 trillion over 10 years to “decarbonize” the country, and would grant the federal government control of virtually every nook and cranny of the economy.
On immigration, 77% of Democrats have a negative view of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, according to Gallup, well above the national average. Sanders wants to “break ICE up.” A Harvard poll found that 70% of Democrats oppose a “combination of physical and electronic barriers across the U.S.-Mexico border,” just like Sanders.
And two-thirds of Democrats say they favor providing health care benefits to illegal immigrants, according to a CNN poll.
On guns, 85% of Democrats back a national gun registry, and seven in ten Democrats support mandatory buybacks of “assault rifles,” a policy that even Sanders opposes.
Go down the list of other items on Sanders’ agenda – free college, massive new regulations on businesses, a $15 minimum wage, etc. – and you’ll find equally strong support among rank-and-file Democrats.
As if that weren’t enough, consider this: Sanders’ favorability rating among Democrats is at a sky-high 71%, according to a Monmouth poll, higher than any of his rivals (and way above the favorability rating for supposedly moderate Mike Bloomberg).
This shift toward extremism among Democrats isn’t a sudden development. A Pew Research study found that the ideological center of those who identify as Democrats had shifted far to the left since 1994, while the ideological center of Republicans had barely budged. (See the chart nearby.)
Investor’s Business Daily’s IBD/TIPP poll had picked up on the increasingly outside-the-mainstream views of Democrats many years ago.
The only thing that has changed lately is that the party’s elites are finding it increasingly difficult to pretend that the Democratic Party is mainstream.
If they don’t like that, they should devote their time and energy to educating the rank and file about the error of their views, rather than complain about who they nominate to run in November.
— Written by I&I Editorial Board.
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