As the Hillary Clinton campaign continues to take on water, sort of like the Titanic after she hit the iceberg, her main rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, is starting to get more scrutiny. Even some on the left, as Yahoo Politics noted on Wednesday, are shocked at a white-haired, septuagenarian socialist can pack in arenas with a lot of discontented 20-somethings with rallies that resemble rock concerts, down to the aroma of pot smoke. Already, as Politico reported, Sanders is taking fire, not so much from the right which is still bemused by him, but from the left, who are demanding ideological purity.
Sanders has become the latest focus of vague, discontented radicalism from a certain segment of American society that dates back at least to the independent Ralph Nader campaign of the year 2000. The same discontent benefited Howard Dean, Sanders’ fellow Vermonter, in 2004, before he flamed out with a scream. Barack Obama helped to ride the ire from the left to the presidency in 2008. The same people who are cheering Sanders comprised Occupy Wall Street before that movement collapsed of its own contradictions.
Sanders is not altogether beloved on the left. The Black Lives Matter movement finds him insufficiently attentive to the desires of African Americans, forcing Sanders to accommodate them. Black voters, unenthused about any candidate in the post-Obama political landscape, have not entirely flocked to Sanders, a denizen of one of the whitest states in the Union. This standoffish attitude has, in turn, annoyed Sanders’ supporters. He is so far to the left that he makes Obama and Hillary Clinton seem like Ted Cruz. Sanders looks to be the best chance that the far left could take power since – well – Howard Dean, if not George McGovern.
Of course, Dean never made it to the general election, which many Democrats think is fortunate, and McGovern was thumped in a 49 state blowout by Richard Nixon in 1972. That might be one reason, as Hillary Clinton continues to implode, establishment Democrats are looking for someone, anyone, who can save them from something similar happening in 2016. Joe Biden’s hour may have come at last.