With just three weeks to go before the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders is now in a statistical dead heat with Hillary Clinton. According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, he trails her by just 3 points in Iowa, well within the margin of error. In other words, it's a tie. A dead heat.
This is really, really, really big news.
Sanders is already beating Clinton in New Hampshire, and if he can pull-off a two-state sweep of the early primaries, that would completely change the dynamic of the race. And I mean completely.
At this point, national polls don't really matter; what matters is momentum, and if Bernie can win Iowa and New Hampshire, he would suck up pretty much all of the momentum.
Now, considering the fact that Bernie Sanders does better than Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical matchup with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, you'd think the establishment Democrats would be thrilled with these developments. You'd think the people who talk so much about "electability" and how important it is, would be overjoyed that Bernie Sanders, a popular and electable candidate, is moving toward the Democratic nomination.
Instead of celebrating the rise of a new star, establishment Democrats are freaking out about the possibility of Bernie Sanders winning both Iowa and New Hampshire. Case in point: former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford, Jr., who on MSNBC agreed with Joe Scarborough that establishment Dems could recruit John Kerry or Joe Biden to run if Bernie sweeps both early primary states.
Pretty weird, right?
Here Sanders is inspiring millions of young people to get involved in politics, and establishment Democrats think it might be a good idea to draft two guys who've already lost presidential races. Go figure.
But here's the thing: Establishment Democrats aren't stupid — they should be scared of Bernie Sanders. That's because he represents a direct threat to the centrists who have ruled the Democratic Party for the past few decades.
Although he's not as well-known as someone like Karl Rove or Frank Luntz, Al From is one of the most important political operatives of the past few decades. A veteran Democratic staffer, he thought his party moved "too far to the left" during the 1970s, and so, in 1985, he founded a group known as the Democratic Leadership Council, or DLC, whose stated goals were "to expand the party's base and appeal to moderates and liberals."
That obviously sounds nice in theory, but in practice it meant the destruction of the thing that made the Democratic Party the United States' governing party for most of the 20th century: the progressive values of the New Deal and FDR. Under From's leadership, the DLC staged a bloodless coup of the Democratic Party, and swapped out the progressivism of FDR, Truman and Johnson for the corporatism of the Clintons. Instead of talking about ways to make the US a more just and equal society, Democrats now talked about things like welfare reform, so-called free trade and so-called school choice, which were really just corporate plans to privatize the commons.
The final victory in the DLC's takeover of the Democratic Party came when Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992. Al From had personally recruited Bill to run for president, and the DLC's ideas were the basis for most of his policies. Over the next 20 years, the DLC consolidated its stranglehold over the Democratic Party. And even though it no longer actually exists (it folded in 2011) the DLC and its supporters still control the Democratic establishment, especially Hillary Clinton.
Which brings us back to Bernie Sanders. If his wildly successful campaign has told us anything, it's that Democratic voters are sick and tired of the DLC-Clintonites running the show. The base of the Democratic Party is still progressive even if the party bigwigs have sold out to the corporatists. They want to go back to the values that made the Democratic Party the United States' governing party from the New Deal until the 1990s. They want real change, not Republican-lite policies pretending to be progressive. And so, they're siding with Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election.
As I said earlier, establishment Democrats should be scared. Bernie's campaign is showing cracks in their junta and the coup that Al From staged more than two decades ago is on the verge of collapsing.