For decades, policies have favored free markets and sought to create an environment in which business could prosper and thrive. Over the past three years, these broadly pro-business tendencies have been enhanced by an administration that has drastically cut corporate tax rates and worked to gut regulations, with promises of more to come. What Sanders is proposing to do would overturn this arrangement. It would mark one of the most radical changes in American history.
That in itself would leave businesses reeling. But just as destabilizing would be the looming 2022 midterm elections. In 1994, two years into Bill Clinton’s presidency, voters responded to the administration’s effort to pass a health-care reform bill by handing over control of the Congress to Republicans for the first time in 40 years. In 2010, two years into Barack Obama’s presidency, passage of the Affordable Care Act led to the Democrats suffering the biggest losses for either party in a midterm election since 1938. (The GOP picked up 63 seats that year — 22 more than the Democrats took from Republicans in the so-called “blue wave” midterm election of 2018.)
Clinton’s and Obama’s health-care proposals were ambitious in their moments, but they would be dwarfed by what Sanders would try to achieve if he were to win the presidency. It’s therefore quite possible and even likely that the 2022 midterm elections would produce a major backlash and lurch to the right. Businesses will know this — which means they will know that they know nothing about what to expect during the opening years of a Sanders administration.