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Last week Bernie Sanders evoked a good-sized kerfluffle by asking Democratic voters to give him a chance in the primaries despite the fact that he was a straight white male, which in turn spawned what surely is going to win the “Headline of the Year” contest in a gay-oriented paper which commented that Sanders was urging voters to be brave and vote for a straight white male.          

But punditry took this very seriously and reacted with a spate of commentary bewailing that the Democratic Party’s supposed leftward lurch had made it all too difficult for a ‘pragmatic’ Democrat to win the nomination (in case you’ve missed it, the media’s favorite dichotomy this year is ‘Socialists’ vs. ‘Pragmatists’ in the Democratic Party), a subtheme being that the head-in-the-clouds Socialists think, presumably mistakenly, that The Donald is so unpopular, so beatable, that a true progressive can be elected and get to work on a real Left agenda.           

At this early stage, it does seem as though to be considered seriously by the punditry, any prospective Democratic candidate must check at least two of the following boxes: 


  • Socialist

  • Young

  • Person of Color

  • Woman

When I look at the field of candidates, I see a broad field, but perhaps not quite so broad that our putative Democrat searching for a progressive candidate might have to settle for checking one box, but we’ll see.           

A side effect seems to be that any moderate Democrats are going to have to unite behind one candidate pretty quickly, and that Joseph Biden needs to fish or cut bait, since he’s the leader in the polls and either he or the political landscape has evolved to make him considered a moderate, though back in the day he was one of Americans for Democratic Action’s most liberal senators.  Those polls, of course, mean next-to-nothing at this point other than that more people have heard of him.  Till he reaches a decision point, Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar seems to be the flavor-of-the-month moderate, but at some point one would think that she needs to rise above her current 2% standing in the polls.           

Not that I put much stock in polls, mind you.Harry Truman was down to 12% and was re-elected.Bush 41 was close to 95% and wasn’t.