So the New York Times has been performing its own due diligence with several prominent articles in recent days gently "raising questions" about the legitimacy, if not the basic sanity, of the Bernie faction. On Sunday, the newspaper groused on its front page that Democratic "militants" are making it so hard for the Wall Street faction to achieve the real goal: winning. The Times version of a Democratic militant is somebody who is crazily demanding health care for everybody.
In effect, that makes the majority of the United States one big pitchfork-wielding mob, given that eight in 10 Democrats want single payer insurance, and three out of 10 Republicans do. Therefore, "hippie-punching" is being elevated to a whole new level by the increasingly desperate Neoliberal Thought Collective of which the Times is such a faithful mouthpiece.
As Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin inform their readers:
Democrats are facing a widening breach in their party, as liberal activists dream of transforming the health care system and impeaching President Trump, while candidates in hard-fought elections ask wary voters merely for a fresh chance at governing.All that centrist Democrats are saying to voters is, please, give the superior knowledge class of the plutocracy one more chance to do right by you. All they want is to govern you as responsibly, as freshly as a sprig of plastic-wrapped mint. The Berniecrats, on the other hand, are just a ragtag bunch of tent revival militants smoking a lesser herb. Sound familiar?
The growing tension between the party’s ascendant militant wing and Democrats competing in conservative-leaning terrain, was on vivid, split-screen display over the weekend. In Chicago, Senator Bernie Sanders led a revival-style meeting of his progressive devotees, while in Atlanta, Democrats made a final push to seize a traditionally Republican congressional district.
Since that particular article didn't go over so well within the reader commentariat, the Times has now proceeded to play the age card. "Is Sanders, At 75, Too Old for 2020? His Fiercest Fans Say No" is the headline of the piece written by Yamiche Alcindor.
This headline contains two implicit messages: yes, of course Bernie is too old, you dolts! And you progressives who agree with his policies can't possibly be serious, mature voters. You are "fierce fans" who operate with your emotions rather than with your rational minds and your own agency. You see Bernie not as a politician in a representative oligarchy, but as a Mick Jagger-type rock star in a democracy who will instantaneously grant your most whimsical wishes.
With their idol turning 79 in 2020, some fans of Senator Bernie Sanders who had gathered for the second annual People’s Summit were thinking wistfully about the next progressive hero who could take the presidential baton: Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts might make a good next leader, though she at times appears too cautious.The subliminal message: you're smoking way too much hash. Grow the hell up.
The Times did not mention that many Sanders supporters have increasingly been urging him to forget about reforming the Democratic Party from within, and instead help them form a brand new party. But as Sanders explains to Nina Turner in this Real News Network interview, he is still taking a wait and see approach. He's actually acting pretty cautiously and conservatively for such a "radical" politician.
Here's my published comment on Alcindor's story:
In general, all politicians on the national stage are "too old." And too rich, and too esconced in near-permanent power to have any earthly idea how their putative constituents are struggling just to get by.
The divide between the centrist Democrats and the more progressive Sanders faction has as much to do with class and ideology as it does with age. And given that the rich are living longer, chronological age becomes moot. When you're a multimillionaire member of the Senate, for example, you have all the affordable health care you could possibly want.
The average age of the Democratic House leadership is 72. Unfortunately for us, the GOP leaders in that body are slashing the social safety net with youthful abandon: they're in the prime of their misbegotten lives, averaging out at just 42 years of age.
Eighteen of the 33 Senators running for re-election in 2018 will be 65 or older.
Even Elizabeth Warren will be close to 70 should she choose to seek her party's presidential nomination. In order for younger people to succeed at electoral politics, we have to get the money out. We should also impose term limits on congress critters, so that younger, poorer candidates have a fighting chance to get elected locally and then eventually run for president before their Medicare kicks in.
Down with the Oldigarchy.
(Incidentally, the Times just announced that it has radically changed its commenting system. No more pre-publication human moderation, no more waiting for your remarks to be printed, no more preference given to elite green check commentators: a Google algorithm shall set you free, and most articles will now be open to comments. An explanation, of sorts, is here).