Under Trump, the U.S. has abandoned the pretense of backing democracy and human rights, meaning there are no longer any great powers that even pretend to put morality at the center of foreign affairs. The horror of this era isn’t just the emergence of an axis of authoritarianism, but the fact that there are so few allies to counter it.
If Sanders was elected president, that could change. His unlikely ascendance would be a blow against the corrosive cynicism in which authoritarianism thrives. America would be the country where young people of all races powered a campaign that proved stronger than plutocracy, stronger than nationalist demagogy, stronger than any of the tools that men like Putin have used to bring liberalism to its knees. To young idealists around the world, America would look — dare I say it — great again.