A socialist is a contender? All bets are off

I’m just flabbergasted: I can’t remember a self-declared socialist (Bernie Sanders, duh) winning a primary – and basically tying in another. Of course, Obama, FDR, and others have been called socialists by detractors, but I think something quite momentous has happened when a person who forthrightly and unapologetically declares himself a democratic socialist becomes serious candidate in a nationwide contest.

And, hey, he’s Jewish, too – another first!

So any predictions regarding his ability to pass legislation seem dubious because, obviously, (almost?) no one predicted his success thus far. If he gets elected, it will be because the political situation has changed radically. Maybe he would face paralyzing opposition to his programs; maybe not.

Despite all that, here’s a prediction: after this election, bigwigs in both parties are going to try to change the nominating rules so that candidates who are newcomers to their parties (Sanders, Trump) are less likely to find success. Perhaps this will mean fewer open primaries. In any case, I bet those apparatchiks wistfully daydream of the years before direct primaries carried so much weight.

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