Looking at Super Tuesday in the hard light of Wednesday morning, our first thought was Democrats might want to consider stocking up on canned goods for the long slog until June or November, or even beyond, depending on when or if Bernie Sanders’ socialist revolution – which promises social justice, economic justice, environmental justice and a pony – can be contained. Clearly, hand-washing is not enough, not even if you do it for so long you sing the Marseillaise twice.
The Sanders supporters, including the sizable chunk who identify as the Dirtbag Left, are not going to disappear now merely because a badly outspent Joe Biden notched significant apparent wins Tuesday in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas, among other states. No one in this race better encapsulates the liberal Democratic establishment which the Sanders followers so far believe is the real enemy, not just in a primary race but as the answer to the perpetual question, Why can’t we have nice things? (And free things?)
Sanders appears to have done much better in Colorado and California owing in part to mail balloting, which allowed people to cast votes weeks ago, when Sanders seemed to have the strongest plurality support. This was partly because the superannuated Biden had performed so poorly against nearly all hopes and expectations. And it never changed. What changed was the liberal Democratic establishment unifying behind Biden in the 72 hours after the South Carolina primary.
With everyone of significance having left the race, the battle lines are drawn, cranky leftist versus creaky liberal. With alternatives like this, the challenge for the party as a whole will be not just unifying behind the nominee in June but also, at the same time, mustering the broader enthusiasm for either man this summer that it will need if it expects to unseat a president.