No, what will get the Trump demagogue factory working at full throttle is the central message of the Sanders campaign: that the United States needs a political revolution. It may very well need one. But most people don’t think so, as Barack Obama has argued. And getting two million new progressive votes in the usual area codes is not going to change that.
Give Sanders credit for moving public opinion along on a living wage, higher taxes on the rich and the need for immediate action to stem the immolation of the planet. Most great ideas start on the fringe and move to the middle.
But some of his other ideas are stillborn, or never get beyond the fringe. Socialism, despite its flavor-of-the-month appeal to young people, is not popular with the general public. Just 39 percent of Americans view socialism positively, a bare uptick from 2010, compared to 87 percent who have a positive view of free enterprise, Gallup found last fall.
What’s more, American confidence in the economy is now at the highest level in nearly two decades. That’s hardly the best condition for overthrowing the system.