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Walk On The Wild Side – Attending A Bernie Sanders Rally

A Commentary By Brian C. Joondeph

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Bernie Sanders came to Denver last weekend, and my family, Republicans all, decided to attend his Sunday night rally. It was a true walk on the wild side in the form of opposition research.

Held at the Colorado Convention Center, the rally drew thousands, according to local media. There were no lines to get in, other than at the obligatory metal detectors now seen at everything from political rallies to sporting events.

Since Colorado is part of the upcoming Super Tuesday, other candidates are visiting too, but the Bernie culture is rather unique compared to other candidates’ supporters.

The rally started off with some local officials whipping up the crowd, including one young woman screeching unintelligibly, a metaphor for the modern Democrat Party, made worse by the dismal acoustics in the convention center. Finally, Bernie, the man of the hour, took stage and launched into his standard stump speech.

President Trump is a racist, sexist, homophobe. So is Michael Bloomberg based on recent revelations, but Bernie hasn’t gone there yet. America is a racist country through and through, he told the raucous throng. The solutions are the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. Interestingly, four years ago, Bernie railed against millionaires and billionaires. Now that he is in the former category, he only mentions billionaires. Who of course aren’t “paying their fair share” of taxes.

His attention was directed particularly at billionaires trying to buy the election, one specifically whose ads appear on television and radio constantly. Mini-Mike is buying everyone and everything in order to secure the nomination, but it’s his money to spend as he wishes, and in accordance with the law.

The crowd was younger than what one might see at, say, a Trump rally. More piercings and tattoos as well, but everyone was mostly polite and enthusiastic over their modern-day Karl Marx. Why?

Over a post-rally dinner, my millennial-aged kids gave their take on the matter. Teenagers are told they must go to college, so they do. Many receive degrees in subjects that are difficult or impossible to monetize, like in the social sciences and humanities. Graduating with huge debt and no job prospects, other than part-time minimum wage work, they often have no health insurance and no savings, a high cost of living and a crushing debt. With dismal future prospects for financial independence, Bernie’s guaranteed minimum wage, free health care, cancellation of student debt and social justice platitudes are appealing options.

Trump’s trade deals, conservative judges, roaring economy and regulatory rollback offer little appeal when one holds a near worthless college degree. Bernie is throwing them a lifeline, even if it is simply a piece of rope, attached to nothing.

The Bernie hustle is paying off. Bernie has 38 percent odds of winning the Democrat nomination, according to FiveThirtyEight, more than three times higher than his closest rivals, Joe Biden, Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg, in that order. Interestingly Bernie is tied with “no one” as a primary outcome, which means a brokered convention is now just as likely as Bernie winning the nomination.

Following the money, PredictIt has Bernie at 48 cents, compared to Mini-Mike at 32 cents. They also have Trump over Bernie in the general election 53 to 30 cents.

Rasmussen Reports in its Daily Presidential Tracking Poll has Trump running at or near 50 percent total approval, the same as Obama eight years ago. This is despite the constant negative media barrage against the president. Where Bernie may draw thousands to his rallies, Trump draws tens of thousands.

To his credit, Bernie is consistent: He’s been praising the wonders of socialism for decades. Biden and Elizabeth Warren have new political views based on the necessities in a Democrat primary. Bloomberg, once a Democrat, then a Republican, is now a Democrat again, and busy backpedaling on formerly sensible policies like stop and frisk.

Mini-Mike also has MeToo problems and some unwoke comments about racial minorities that he is trying unsuccessfully to run away from. Mayor Pete, like Obama, is a blank canvass where one can project one’s own politics. But he is still a red diaper baby, and his communist roots are hard to disguise.

Less than three weeks before Super Tuesday, Bernie is the clear Democrat front-runner, not surprising given the enthusiasm at his rally. Will the Democratic National Committee try to rig the remaining primaries against Bernie? Which is worse, a socialist at the top of the Democrat ticket or telling millions of Bernie Bros to pound sand, again?

A fight broke out at the Denver rally between a Bernie Bro and another man wearing a “Black Guns Matter” t-shirt, but it was nothing like the fight that will break out if the DNC screws Bernie out of the nomination again.

Don’t be surprised if voters in Colorado and elsewhere, registered as unaffiliated or independent, choose to vote for Bernie in their state's Democrat primary as a form of Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos.” Trump, not needing primary votes since he is essentially unopposed, hinted at such a strategy in one of his recent campaign rallies. 

The November presidential election could well end up being a full-on capitalist versus an unabashed socialist. What could be better as the ultimate referendum on America’s future?

Brian C. Joondeph, MD, is a Denver-based physician and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller and other publications. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn, Twitter, and QuodVerum.

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