Back to the future: Desperate Democrats turn to Obama for election rescue
The race for the Democratic presidential nomination was officially on until late last week. But a campaign that was already on borrowed time isn’t going to stop anytime soon.
The last thing the party needs now is the specter of a Donald Trump presidency, along with the specter of a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate and House, to drag it into 2018. And even if an insurgent nominee is forced out of the race, it’s far from clear that any establishment-minded candidate would want to enter the contest with a Democratic president.
For all the talk of a “new left” coming to national prominence in the age of Trump and of Bernie Sanders and his progressive agenda, the rise of Bernie Sanders and some of his allies are more likely to mean a return to the political status quo than a radical break from it. That’s because, even if progressives would prefer to take on Trump on policy — not that they necessarily agree on what the policy should be — their ultimate goal is simply a U.S. government that represents working people, not a capitalist government that represents corporate interests.
In that sense, Sanders’s campaign could simply be a continuation of the Democratic Party’s past, a move in the direction of its more centrist current in hopes of being able to survive past Trump’s presidency. That’s not what his campaign is about, and that doesn’t mean he’s going to pull the party over the cliff.
Still, though, there are elements that have the potential to make 2018 a replay of 2016 in many ways — if not for the Democrats, then certainly for the Republicans.
At this point, after the disastrous performance in Minnesota and New York, it’s entirely possible that the party will not have an active presidential campaign all year. That would have a huge impact on the Democratic Party and its candidates, as well as on the Democrats themselves. While some of the more moderate candidates will be able to work through the