Paul Krugman has a sobering message for Bernie supporters

"He has never yet faced the GOP's attack machine," Krugman argued, whereas Clinton clearly has

By Scott Eric Kaufman
Published January 22, 2016 1:01PM (EST)
 (AP/Lai Seng Sin)
(AP/Lai Seng Sin)

In his column Friday, the New York Times' Paul Krugman argued that while Bernie Sanders' idealism is admirable, it's counterproductive to the causes he purports to support.

"[I]dealism is fine and essential -- you have to dream of a better world," he wrote, but "it's not a virtue unless it goes along with hardheaded realism," echoing a complaint that many made about President Barack Obama when he was opposed by Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Krugman insisted he's not "saying someone like Mr. Sanders is unelectable," but he immediately noted that the Vermont senator "has never yet faced [the Republican's] attack machine," and that even if he won, "he would end up facing the same harsh realities that constrained Mr. Obama," as if Clinton wouldn't.

The point, he wrote, is that

even when, like F.D.R., you ride a political tidal wave into office. It’s even more true for a modern Democrat, who will be lucky if his or her party controls even one house of Congress at any point this decade.

Sorry, but there’s nothing noble about seeing your values defeated because you preferred happy dreams to hard thinking about means and ends. Don’t let idealism veer into destructive self-indulgence.

Read the rest at the New York Times...

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Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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Aol_on Bernie Sanders Elections 2016 F.d.r. Hillary Clinton New York Times Paul Krugman