The electorate’s ideological composition in presidential years has been remarkably stable for the past three decades — liberals at roughly 20 percent, moderates at 47 percent and conservatives at 33 percent. Clearly, neither political party can win, let alone govern effectively, without reaching toward the middle.
Bernie, his campaign, and his supporters have cast much derision towards the politically moderate. Yet moderates make up the largest share of voters! “Neither party can win…without reaching toward the middle.” Yet Bernie and the berners choose the insulting, dismissive, no compromise approach to their agenda. All their words and actions say they don’t care about moderates, and they don’t care about their votes. So they will not get them. Even if Bernie pulled the votes of half of all moderates, that is not enough to win a general election. Bernie must know this.
How can I say that Bernie knows? Because the numbers are well known and public knowledge. If he doesn’t know, that is nothing short of sheer incompetence.
Bernie only pulls 13% of votes from moderates and conservatives. And I am sure everyone can agree that the percentage for moderates is bigger than that of conservatives. So let’s credit Bernie for a generous 15% of moderates. Without any conservative votes, between liberals and moderates Bernie doesn’t even break 35% in a general election.
Take a look at Iowa, with everything stacked in his favor. He didn’t break 30%. In New Hampshire, where he was leading since he entered the race, he is struggling to stay ahead of Buttigieg. Why? The numbers make it clear. To win the general at this rate, Bernie would need almost half of all conservative votes! We all know Trump’s base is not leaving him.
Bernie doesn’t even appeal to all liberals. He only appeals to a fraction of moderates, and an even smaller fraction of conservatives. Bernie has a low ceiling which he keeps reinforcing by insulting anyone who disagrees with him, by calling institutional influencers “the establishment”, and by promoting the rude and bellicose behavior of his surrogates and supporters. If you think calling Clinton, Biden, and the DNC corrupt, and Planned Parenthood and Human Rights Campaign “the establishment”is bringing in the votes, then you wasted your time reading this far. There is no talking to you.
This is simple electoral math, the same math that precluded a Bernie win in 2016, the same math that allowed the “establishment” to take back the House in 2018, and the same math that makes it easy to calculate a winning message.
What Bernie has done is lied to the faces of his supporters, corrupted the electoral process, and distracted the electorate and the Democratic Party from what we all know to be true: unity wins. Pretending that 80% of the population is not moderate or conservative and disinclined to vote for Bernie is nothing more than a recipe for a dirt sandwich to be served on election day.