A Sanders candidacy would make 2020 a referendum on the future, not a referendum on Trump

One thing that immediately struck me in Lauren Gambino's excellent analysis of the Democratic nomination campaigns in The Guardian: a quote from GOP never-Trump political consultant Rick Wilson, who counseled Democrats not to select Bernie Sanders and make the election about actual policies, "Democrats have two choices: make this a referendum on Donald Trump or lose. That’s it. There are no other options."

I think every Democrat and Democratic voter loves it when lifelong Republican grandees offer advice on how to win elections, but this is especially rich given that this is exactly the strategy that Republicans used to get their base to vote against Trump during the 2016 primaries and it failed spectacularly.

There is plenty to dislike about Trump, to be sure, but if there's one thing we've learned from the 2018 midterms -- the incredible outpouring of grassroots support, votes and small-money donations for progressive candidates (including longshots like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who unseated an establishment Democrat who thought running against Trump, rather than for a better future, would be enough), it's that the American people actually care about policies. They want reform. The much-vaunted polarization is a fiction of the political classes, while there is national, bipartisan consensus on issues of substance, from universal health-care to free tuition to Net Neutrality. These are all policies that progressive candidates support, and policies that Trump will lose debates on.

Candidates like Bernie Sanders (and Elizabeth Warren) want to make the 2020 election a referendum on broadly popular progressive policies that will deliver shared prosperity and a better quality of life to hundreds of millions of Americans -- who are smart enough to understand that and vote for it. (I am a donor to both the Sanders and Warren 2020 campaigns)

At best, campaigning against Trump (the man) will motivate some GOP and swing voters to stay home out of disgust, and scare some independents and Democrats into holding their noses and voting to kick him out. But campaigning for a better world will get people off their sofas, send them knocking on doors, and bring them to the polls.

For Sanders’ most loyal supporters, the Times report was only further proof that despite hard-won changes to party rules and the leftward ideological tilt of the presidential field, the deck is still stacked against their man. They are in a determined mood.

“This has been a galvanizing moment for Bernie’s supporters,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, a former president of National Nurses United. She warned: “You alienate millions of people when you alienate Bernie Sanders.”

Former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer, meanwhile, was blunt about what those who do not want a Sanders candidacy must do.

“If you want to have an impact on who the nominee is,” he said on Twitter, “go to Iowa and knock on some fucking doors. Don’t go to a dinner in Manhattan and tell the New York Times about it.”

Sanders dares Democrats to stop him – but is he the man to beat Trump? [Lauren Gambino/The Guardian]

(via Naked Capitalism)