Via Newsbusters, a fun gotcha by Princeton prof Eddie Glaude at the expense of one of the right’s least favorite ex-Republicans. It’s a progressive repurposing of one of Trump fans’ favorite arguments to skeptics in 2016: This is a “Flight 93” election, one in which we’re called to choose the lesser of two evils because the greater of the two is truly evil and capable of setting America on a leftward course from which the country will never recover. Righties will continue to recycle that argument in every election from now until the end of time but here’s Glaude turning it around on Never Trumpers on Bernie’s behalf. If you regard Trump as the greater of two evils, how do you justify withholding your vote from Sanders? It’s a Flight 93 election!
The answer, of course, is that even many Never Trumpers aren’t sure who the greater evil would be in an election that risks sweeping Sanders and democratic socialism to power, albeit likely with a Republican majority in the Senate to check him. Charlie Sykes is sufficiently ardent in his dislike for the president that he went and founded an entire publication for anti-Trump conservative commentary but even he’s rubbing his temples lately at the thought of having to choose between Trump and Bernie.
Our last, best hope is for this cup to pass from us because, let’s be honest, Bernie/Trump is a nightmare scenario for centrists, conservatives, and any contingent of voters who yearn for a non-crazy presidency. And besides: Neither Bernie nor his bots wants us—as they tell us with numbing regularity on Twitter.
So this would seem to be a good time to make it perfectly clear that there are going to be voters who won’t give the Democrats a blank check this year. Their insanity does not confer upon us the obligation to also lose our minds. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself here, but I’m not interested in exchanging one toxic tribe for another.
I know, I know. #NeverBernie and #NeverTrump is going to be a lonely place. The merde will rain down from all sides. We would be Pariahs Squared. But I suspect that it will feel familiar: The “strange new respect” was always temporary.
Bernie is a complete nonstarter for me too, but not for all Trump critics. Tom Nichols has an op-ed out today savaging Sanders for his 80s-era useful idiocy towards the Soviet Union … while noting in passing that of course he’d vote for Bernie this fall anyway if it comes to that.
To be clear, I am not criticizing Sanders for whooping it up and drinking with his Soviet hosts. I’ve been there and done that. I’ve killed multiple bottles of vodka with ordinary Soviet citizens and more than a few with people from Soviet officialdom, including arm-in-arm bouts of singing and talking into the wee hours. Sanders is right: They are a warm and ebullient people, and I don’t blame him one bit for enjoying himself in their company.
That is a different matter, however, than seeing the Soviet Union through the eyes of a fool.
If the Democrats force me into this corner, I will cast my vote for Sanders, because I will take a fool and his dreamy notions about the Soviet Union over Donald Trump and the mafia state he and people like Attorney General William Barr are busy creating in America. If by some miracle Sanders wins, he will be an ineffective and embarrassing president, but if that’s what it takes to rid us of the caudillo in the White House, so be it.
Ben Shapiro, who’s not a Never Trumper, frames the calculus this way:
So here’s my calculus: a Bloomberg/Biden candidacy means a 45% chance of Democratic victory, and a downside risk, on a scale of 0 to 100, of 70. A Bernie candidacy means a 40% chance of Democratic victory, and a downside risk of 100.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 18, 2020
I think Schmidt would agree with the second half of that but as you’ll see in the clip below he’s quite bullish on a Bloomberg presidency, to the point where I was left wondering if he had advised the campaign at some point. (I was thinking of Howard Schultz’s abortive effort at the presidency last year.) The cynic in me wonders if maybe he’s trying out for a job here — there’s more than enough money and room on Team Mike for more advisors — but no, I think this is just who Schmidt is politically, at least in 2020. He’s a make-the-trains-run-on-time centrist who retains a healthy vestigial right-wing skepticism of socialism and its feasibility. I’m guessing he speaks for a lot of suburbanites who hate Trump enough to have voted Democratic in the 2018 midterms but not quite so much that they’re going to gamble the entirety of American health care on the DSA’s keen administrative know-how this fall.
Skip to 4:40 of the clip and watch to the end for the good bits, and I do mean all the way to the end. Otherwise you’ll miss Stephanie Ruhle getting mad at Schmidt for daring to suggest that Bernie’s running a “free stuff for everyone” campaign. She’s going to hear that message eight million times between this spring and fall if Sanders is the nominee. She’d better grow a thicker skin about it.