I recently had the opportunity to visit a very trendy Palo Alto restaurant on a busy Saturday evening. This is the kind of place where the portions are small and the price is high, while all at once managing to embody all the characteristics we’ve come to associate with Silicon Valley.
And it wasn’t just the food and atmosphere that presented a picture of the moment. While sitting with my guest I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation taking place from an adjacent table between some millennial masters of the universe talking too loudly about the current Democratic primary race. Their table was an ad-hoc focus group of one of the Democratic Party’s target demographic: young, upper-income cosmopolitans, who, judging by the tone and tenor of their conversation, had recently undergone Democratic indoctrination at a prestigious university.
While they enjoyed their privileged $100 per check dinner, they simultaneously voiced support for unworkable social justice causes and waxed on the unfairness of the free-market system that was providing and paying for their dinner — without, by the way, demonstrating an ounce of self-awareness at their own hypocrisy.
Much of their conversation focused primarily on the two white male septuagenarians running for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Vice President Joe Biden. Let me attempt to distill the conversation between these masters of the universe:
Master of the Universe 1: “I sure like Bernie Sanders’ policy ideas.”
MU2: “Me too. He is certainly in touch with the need to come after the one-percent. It’s about time we have a viable candidate with the energy and commitment to the ideals of socialism.”
MU1: “Especially after Trump and his white nationalism. Sanders is what we need to put the nation back on track.”
MU2: “I just wonder if he is electable. I mean, most Americans don’t really get the morality and efficiency of socialism. If we want to beat Trump we might have to settle for Biden. I think a lot of people see him as more moderate. We might need him as a bridge between Trump & Sanders, or at least someone like Sanders.”
MU3: “But isn’t Biden a little crazy and a little corrupt?”
MU2: “Doesn’t matter. He might be electable. People think all politicians are a little crazy and corrupt. Those aren’t negatives. They are givens. Biden seems reasonable to most people and we have to get rid of Trump.”
MU4: “Hey guys, aren’t we part of the one percent? Would Bernie come after us?”
MU 1-3 (in unison): “No! He will find a way to protect people like us!”
MU3: “In any case, this is where we find ourselves. Do we support the guy we love, or do we support the guy we think has the best chance to win? Glad our primary isn’t until March. Could I try your tofu drumstick, please?”
There it was. Versions of this same conversation are taking place throughout the entire Democratic Party from Palo Alto to the Upper East Side. There is an inner-party conflict between winning and a more ideal far-left ideology. On the one hand, despite overwhelming evidence of dishonesty and incompetence, Biden remains a formidable establishment challenger to President Trump. He seems to give Democrats their best shot at defeating the man they hate so much that they resorted to creating a fake Russian dossier to humiliate and discredit him and a fake Ukrainian scandal to impeach him. They are obsessed.
Conversely, the base of the Democratic Party has become increasingly more anti-American, anti-capitalist and pro-collectivist, pro-globalist and pro-open borders. There is more than just a strong undercurrent of hatred, this is a full-throated movement gathering strength in voice and numbers with each passing day.
The party is growing on Sanders’ side, while Biden’s side is shrinking. The question is: When will the two trendlines, moving in opposite directions, intersect on the Democratic electorate graph in the socialists’ favor? Has it already happened?
This is why Sanders cannot be discounted. His ideas have momentum while Biden’s have dragged. In order for Sanders or his ideological twin, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to take the nomination, a critical mass of Democrats would have to move from establishment “electability” to revolutionary zeal.
Sanders’ candidacy seems to have been discounted over the past few months as Warren made a strong initial run. But Warren has gotten herself into various forms of trouble — not the least of which is her glaring inauthenticity and habitual lying — and Sanders’ resurgence is evidenced by both my anecdotal encounters on college campuses and in polling data which has him in second place behind Biden.
This is a curious case for Democrats, this choice between two candidates of the same party, nearly the same age, but wildly dissimilar appeals. Neither are getting any younger, but they are engaged in a battle of time and space. Is there still space for an establishment Democrat? Or is it finally time for Bernie’s socialist idea to overtake the Democratic Party?
Pass the kale and enjoy the show. (Just as soon as Bernie gets released from impeachment purgatory in the Senate.)