Bernie is a HUGE problem

Is Bernie the wampeter of the 2020 election?


out-on-a-limb Image by Wokandapix 1
Image by Wokandapix || CC0

Are Democrats way out on a limb with Bernie?

Is Bernie Sanders a hard pass? The short answer is, ‘Yes.’

Now, I generally agree with many of Bernie’s justice goals, so, I say “Pass” only because he cannot beat President Donald J. Trump.’ —Now, granted, I didn’t feel there was any way in the world that Donald Trump could win in 2016, either. So, there’s that. I wasn’t alone. And, then, too, it’s a big mistake to conflate 2016 and 2020, or Bernie and Trump, they are hardly interchangeable.  

As the title implies, it gets even worse after Democrats confront that Bernie can’t win

So, unless I misread this—and I dearly hope I do—Bernie can’t beat Trump. I base this assessment/assertion on an extension/application of adult human development research by Robert Kegan [see here and here]. Further, if Bernie fails to win the nomination—after a major primary campaign run-up to this summer’s convention in Milwaukee—it will make it difficult [impossible?] for any other Democratic nominee to beat an incumbent President Trump this November. 

This week I’ll begin pointing toward why it’s nearly a perfect storm favoring Trump right now. And, why nominating Bernie—or not—hurts the Democratic Party’s chances of defeating Trump, either way.

I do confess, whenever I hear Republican leaders preen and crow about how glad they are that Trump has shored-up their social/economic privilege, I can feel and understand the anger, outrage, and binary ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ attitude that Bernie and the Bern’ers express. Still, these times call for a praxis-driven pragmatism.

“Evolution” vs “Revolution”

From the ‘paternalism, who me?’ category: Now I’ve come to realize why my dad reacted the way he did when I used the word ‘revolution‘ as a plausible real-time response to life in the late 1960’s. And, that’s one reason I’m not so quick to judge the motives of our billionaire friends. Bernie brings this dimension into play with his binary approach to the issue. Apparently on Bernie’s view, all billionaires are one-dimensional beings, and their one-dimensional motive is, obviously, transparent to everyone.

Case in point, Bernie is an ideologue. Of course, that’s not a disqualification in and of itself. However, whenever an ideologue begins brandishing the term ‘revolution‘ as a feature of their ideology, alarm bells should resound. Historically, social/economic/political revolutions, unless they simply fall flat, have pretty predictably meant bloodshed. A bloodless revolution would indeed be wonderful, and a rare exception to the rule. Depicting the French Revolution:


French Revolution Image by WikiImages
WikiImages || CC0

While it is, we would hope, completely unintentional, to my reckoning advocating revolution is inadvertently advocating bloodshed. Of course, it’s easy enough to imagine that Sanders doesn’t feel his ideas are that kind of dangerous. I suppose Bernie fancies the notion that his ideas aren’t dangerous to you—that is, unless you’re a billionaire. A populist revolution of the working class against the billionaire class, how could that be dangerous (or so I imagine the thinking goes)? 

However, Jesus is my counter point. We’re told he lived a love revolution and invited all of humanity to join. In Jesus’ sight/understanding his love revolution was unquestionably a totally non-violent movement. As we know, Jesus’ blood was only the first of oceans of blood that has been spilled in his love revolution.


winning meme


I feel a majority of Americans are not yet inclined to engage a revolution, socialist or otherwise. Kegan’s research into adult development would seem to indicate Bernie’s play could be as tough as a 60/40 loser. In two weeks we’ll consider how Trump benefits from the Sanders dynamics to put a lock on winning the 2020 presidential election.

Proverbial counsel?

Proverbial wisdom doesn’t always work. However with regard to Trump, I’m going with some old (and I’d argue, sturdy) wisdom on this one: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

No way to avoid the profound irony here. However, that said, perhaps our billionaire friends, Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg, are not running to maintain corporate and big-money’s stranglehold on our politics and our economic system? Isn’t it possible that some part of the reason they are running is they see the dark consequences of a two-term Trump presidency?

Bernie and billionaires

Obviously, Bernie is exhibiting the absolutist form of Blue [DQ] on this point. Bernie appears totally binary on the billionaires, to him they seem only capable of one motive. Sanders’ argument on this apparently even extends to anyone billionaires touch. Bernie and his campaign spokespeople are using this same binary absolutist play on Mayor Pete and his “40 billionaires,” e.g., the ‘wine cave’ attack. If this seems like an inane attack, that’s probably because it is. However, it works fine for the faction of the following who process Bernie’s Red [CP] charisma through absolutist Blue: “Bernie or bust.”


Bernie or Bust


Bernie’s absolutist wing

Sanders has an emotionally charged following, Bernie’s people “feel the Bern.” That emotion is a key to why commentators compare Sanders and Trump supporters as similar. Much of that emotional energy Bernie’s supporters express channels Bernie’s Red [CP] charisma through a rigid Blue [DQ] values absolutism. For example, the “Bernie or Bust” sentiment is an emotional expression of the absolutist Blue corner of Bernie’s coalition. When DQ tends toward its closed/rigid side, then it operates largely in binary terms, it’s Bernie or nothing. This absolutist binary Blue group is a significant key to understanding why Bernie is a HUGE problem for Democrats if he’s not the nominee. More on this in the next two weeks.

It is thought [see here] that in 2016 some angry Bernie supporters (12%) crossed over to vote for Trump in protest. Others, believing Hillary had a lock on defeating Trump, protest-voted for a 3rd party candidate, e.g., Jill Stein, Evan McMullan, etc., or they simply stayed home and did not vote. After these past four years I somehow doubt the 2016 pattern will repeat, or that many Democrat protest votes will fall Trump’s way this time. I’d suggest voters who break with the Democratic nominee as a protest will be unlikely to vote for Trump this go round, but maybe even more likely to just avoid, stay home, not vote. 

Next week (part 3): “Bernie: ‘My way or the highway’

Two weeks (part 4): “Potus Trump wins re-elect

[this post, approx. 1,090 words]

Your thoughts?

I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say?

Note: Introducing a big-picture idea like Spiral Dynamics in this format is ambitious. So, I’m using a serial-approach. Blog introduction (June 30, 2018). First in series (July 1, 2018).


SD Worldview Color Key

out-on-a-limb Image by Wokandapix 1

4 thoughts on “Bernie is a HUGE problem

  1. I think it possible maybe likely that Bernie would beat Trump. I think though that we have better candidates for that. Trump’s attacks on Biden can be interpreted as a sign that he fears him as a candidate. On the other hand, Trump will attack anyone he perceives his potential opponent. Biden just happens to be the most convenient target. I suspect that Trump has damaged Biden for the primaries.

    Some Republicans plan to vote for Sanders in the South Carolina primary, in part because some see him as the weaker candidate, some just to sew discord.


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