One last grift: Bernie Sanders, corporatist, joins the race

Senator Sanders, like President Trump, is an anti-liberal — and, fundamentally, a nationalist. Sanders may be deep-dipped and tie-dyed in 1970s countercultural horsepucky, but he is a practitioner of a very old and established kind of politics that would have been familiar to such frankly nationalist politicians as Franklin Roosevelt (and Teddy Roosevelt, for that matter), Woodrow Wilson, and Benito Mussolini. He has been shamed out of the blunt, Trumpish way he talked about immigration during those 2016 union-hall speeches, but his worldview remains essentially the same. Most politicians do not evolve very much at his advanced age.

The feature of nationalism that Trump and Sanders — and, to a considerable degree, figures such as Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — are rehabilitating is, in part, corporatism, a word that all of them certainly would abjure and that none of them quite understands. Contemporary progressives use the word corporatism to describe a situation in which the notionally democratic character of government is subverted by private business interests, but in reality it means something closer to the opposite: the subordination of private business interests to the “national interest,” something formally short of the Marxist-Leninist model of outright appropriation of the means of production but functionally similar to it.

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