Bernie Sanders, my personal favorite candidate among the Democrats, has dropped out of the primary race. I wonder if this will actually hurt the Democrats. If there is no contest at all, who will pay attention to the anything that Biden does or says between now and Labor Day? How many people tune into a one-person boxing match?
[Why do I love Bernie? He is the only one willing to say “this is dumb” with respect to spending 17 percent of GDP on health care and not covering everyone (I proposed a universal coverage system back in 2009, it has some similarities with Germany’s). Bernie is the political example of zero-based budgeting. Congress sets the budget, so all that Bernie or any other president can do is suggest. It is not that I am fond of most of Bernie’s specific policy ideas so much as it would be nice to have someone in D.C. who pushes a zero-based budgeting idea. Ronald Reagan might have been the last president to do this (Congress ignored him).
Biden’s political philosophy on what Americans should get for the 35-40% percent of the GDP that is government is based solely on the assumption that whatever the government was doing/spending in the past was optimum (maybe not the last three years of the criminal Trump dictatorship, of course, but certainly in 2016). So Biden proposes slight tweaks to government programs from 2016, perhaps adjusting for inflation or maybe adding a mask and ventilator budget for the next respiratory disease epidemic.
Bernie, on the other hand, asks “You’re working 1 day out of 5 to pay for health care. What do you want the system to do for you?” and “Housing is a fundamental right. How much do we need to budget to put everyone in a house without a waiting list?”
Biden’s approach is comparable to the way that big dumb corporations did things in the 1960s. We spent $X on marketing last year so let’s spend $X*1.07 this year. Nobody in Dumb Co. asks “What would be the optimum and/or necessary amount to spend on marketing?” The U.S. has built the world’s second largest welfare state, as a percentage of GDP, without anyone, since the mid-1960s, asking “What do we want our welfare state to provide and to whom?”]
Readers: Was it a strategic error by the Democrats if they didn’t beg Bernie to keep campaigning, even if it isn’t fun to campaign from one of your Vermont mansions via webcam?
Separately, how are my Facebook friends reacting? A West Coaster:
His friends respond:
Which rapist do you want? Biden or Trump?
Stand up and work for the platform. The platform is more important than any one person. The ideas. FDR’s ideas!
(Which of FDR’s ideas does she like? Interning anyone who might be considered likely to wage domestic jihad or to be infected with coronavirus? See Korematsu v. United States.)
The Biden Believers don’t seem too worried. Here’s an April 9, 2020 meme that got 1,700 shares within the first 5 hours: