Instead, Sanders continues to resonate with the base. After all, if you’re going to go with an anti-Constitution, anti-free market, intersectionality-based perspective, why water it down with insincerity? Sanders brags about the fact that his ideology has never changed. He’s right. Back in 1976, he suggested that he favored “the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries.” He sounded off for decades on the glories of communist Cuba and the Soviet Union; he basked in the joys of bread lines, saying: “In other countries, people don’t line up for food. The rich get the food, and the poor starve to death.” Sanders trots out campaign surrogates who openly claim that the United States is rooted in genocide and racism, and that the American system must be fundamentally remade.
This is radical stuff. But radicals have passion. And politicians of the Democratic Party are unwilling to quell that passion — not when they believe they can capture it and turn it against President Donald Trump. This is the mirror image of the Republican problem with Trump in 2016: Trump ran on a platform of bashing the Iraq War and America’s intelligence agencies, blasting free trade, pledging to avoid entitlement program reforms and slamming the door on immigration. Instead of fighting those elements, Republicans decided to tinge their own campaigns with those attitudes and then assume Trump would collapse under the weight of his own personality flaws. That never happened.