All the Pundits Agree: Here’s a Howdy Doo

This morning, the punditry here in the Disunited States of America well and truly has its underwear in a bunch over the state of the Democratic primary.

Though I am not a member of the Megan McArdle fan club, I think she just about nails it this morning: The Berniemobile is filling up with Realist-Idealists, Revolutionaries and Bandwagoners.

Meanwhile, Bill Kristol—and I am most assuredly not among his fans—writes An Open Letter to the Democrats Defending Their Party Against Bernie Sanders. Kristol offers pretty much the same advice I would offer. But inasmuch as Kristol is always wrong, I must be wrong this time, too. It follows as the night, the day.

But, all seriousness aside, here’s my own summing up.

On stage Tuesday we will see one hedgehog, who knows one big thing, and six foxes (like a bad penny, Steyer is turning up again) who know many little things.

What the Hedgehog Knows

Bernie, of course, is the hedgehog, and the one big thing he knows is the working class, a lot of the middle class, and a fair number of the professional class are in a world of hurt: the social safety net is frazzled, the return on capital is soaring, the return on labor is sinking, and the gig economy is driving them bonkers.

What the Foxes Know

As to the six foxes, a lot of the little things they “know” are either untrue or highly questionable or somewhat questionable or more or less beside the point. Here are examples.

Example of an Untrue Thing: Biden seems to “know” that he will be able to “work across the aisle” with Republican senators and congressmen.

Example of a Highly Questionable Thing: After the results in Nevada—and in particular the results among union members with good medical plans—and after the recent polling in Michigan, I submit we don’t at all “know” that Sanders will be “unelectable” because union members will fear loss of their medical plans. It’s possible, but, on the evidence, highly questionable.

Example of a Somewhat Questionable Thing: That the world “socialism” will scare so many voters out of their boards that they will, zombie like, pull the lever for Trump.

Example of a More or Less Beside the Point Thing: Biden thinks that he has come up with a neat-o keen rhetorical device by asserting that “Sanders and Bloomberg are not even Democrats.” That’s right, given a perfectly reasonable construction of the word “Democrat” with a capital “D.” But in his blindness, Biden fails to grasp that not being a traditional Democratic politician is probably a big plus in the minds of folks who are in are in a world of hurt: the social safety net is frazzled, the return on capital is soaring, the return on labor is sinking, and the gig economy is driving them bonkers.

And Finally, Two Examples of True and Important Things the Foxes Know: They know that Bernie can’t get his programs through Congress, and they know that Bernie has no detailed plan to pay for his programs.

But Here’s the One Big Thing the Foxes Don’t Appear to Know

They appear not to know that a great many of their constituents are in are in a world of hurt: the social safety net is frazzled, the return on capital is soaring, the return on labor is sinking, and the gig economy is driving them bonkers.