Since the recent uptick in Bernie Sanders’ polling, we’ve seen a spate of articles
gossiping talking around the supposed fact that former President Obama hates him and wants to stop him from receiving the Democratic nomination this summer.
These articles are all vague, with lots of conjecture and few direct quotes, but for the sake of this post alone we’ll assume without question, just for a minute, that the underlying premise is true. For the sake of argument, we’ll accept that Obamaworld hates Sanders and thinks he’ll be terrible for the party, okay fine; but have you noticed that no one ever spells out exactly why?
Now maybe it’s left unsaid because it’s super obvious, and if so, it wouldn’t be the first time I didn’t get the joke. But part of the beauty of the democratization of the interwebs is that nobodies like me get to spitball their untested theories for all to read. So that’s what we’re going to do. Buckle your seat belts.
People of varying stripes enjoy speculating the why behind these ambiguous articles, but there’s no consensus. Never Trumpers would have you believe it’s because the United States is actually quite moderate and more conservative – just like them! – and Bernie is too far left and there’s just no way ‘Murica is voting for that mess. Bernie Bros shout it’s because “oh they’re not afraid he’d lose, they’re afraid he’d WIN! Establishment be terrified of OUR REVOLOOSHUN!” Because everyone else would rather stick ice picks in their eyes than witness a screaming match between Jennifer Rubin and Peter Daou, let’s posit some sane, yet possibly wrong, theories instead.
Theory #1: Sanders will not beat Trump in a general.
Maybe we’re overthinking things and the simplest explanation is the most correct. You can agree with this assessment or not, but it’s entirely possible Obama and Co lack any sinister underlying motives and just honestly believe he’s the weakest candidate to go against Trump, and that it’s not personal to Sanders at all. They… might have a point.
Theory #2: Sanders will beat Trump with or despite his radical rhetoric, but will accomplish nothing once in office, thereby embarrassing the party and setting back their electoral viability indefinitely.
Anyone outside of his diehard bros sees that Sanders will accomplish nothing if he achieves the highest office. He has no collaboration or coalition-building skills, he traffics in magical thinking rather than reality, and thinks demonization and blunt force are the way to get people on his side. He doesn’t listen to anyone, and he can’t handle the slightest bit of constructive criticism. His “political revolution” shit is all hot air, and even if it wasn’t, he has zero skills for executing on it. The mainstream media will have a field day blowing up his failures for four years straight. Now, it’s true that every politician who wins elected office is always forced to break a few campaign promises here and make a few bad compromises there. The electorate expects this. But the differential between Bernie’s campaign promises and campaign deliverances would be huge. Unprecedented. We’re not talking about Obama promising to close Guantanamo Bay and then trying and failing. That’s a normal type of thing. We’re talking about promises to gut and rebuild the entire governmental system in favor of the white working class, and then, like, not even getting a public option added to the ACA. The difference between those two examples is stark. And perhaps the Obamas of the Democratic Party worry this particular and especially grand version of overpromise/underdeliver would be too huge, possibly outright unforgivable by the electorate. Since there are other accomplished people running, maybe we don’t risk this with Sanders?
Theory #3: A Sanders win, though it would change precisely nothing about the status quo, would signal a change in the electorate that maybe the old guard Democratic party doesn’t want to acknowledge.
Toxic Bernie Bros and True Believers would have you believe the old guard fears him winning because he’ll change the system that is working so nicely for the rich and powerful. Everyone else knows this is crap, including the rich and powerful. They’re not the least bit afraid of losing their meal tickets due to a Sanders administration. But would an American public that proves their willingness to vote for Sanders, with all his lefty rhetoric shouted from the rooftops, spell out an ideological shift they have no desire to see, let alone grapple with?
You know how liberals are always saying things like, “Dear God, how much worse would it be if Trump were actually competent?” I think it’s plausible that old guard Democrats are making something of the same calculation with Sanders. They aren’t worried about Sanders himself taking a bite out of their wealth and privilege, but if he wins an election, obviously that means the electorate is comfortable with the idea of taking them down a few pegs. And what if next time, the American left nominates someone young and capable? Yikes.
Food for thought. Thanks for riding along with me! We’ll see what happens. I’m still voting for Elizabeth Warren.
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbs poppy seeds
- 1 tbs baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 ⅔ cups white granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp lemon zest OR the zest or 1 lemon + ½ tsp lemon extract
- 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup + 2 tbs powdered sugar
- Zest of 2 large lemons
- 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbs water, plus more as needed
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Generously grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, milk, oil, eggs, lemon zest, lemon extract if using, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk until blended. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid and whisk just until combined. Don’t overmix.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted sideways into the center of the bread comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let the bread cool on a rack at least 15 minutes before unmolding onto a rack to cool completely. Though I must confess I frequently forget to unmold after 15 minutes and cool it completely in the pan, and nothing bad has ever happened.
- Add powdered sugar to a small bowl. Add the lemon zest and stir to distribute. Stir in the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk until smooth, then assess. Add more sugar if it’s too thin and more water if it’s too thick. I like a just pourable icing, but how thin or thick is subjective to your preferences. I’d caution that if it’s too thick and needs more liquid, use water instead of lemon juice. You run the risk of making it way too tart otherwise, thanks to the zest. I may or may not know this from experience.
- When the bread has cooled completely, unmold onto or transfer to a plate or cutting board. Liberally drizzle the lemon glaze all over and let it drip down the sides. Slice and serve.