Saagar Enjeti: What conservatives could learn from Bernie Sanders

Opinion by: Saagar Enjeti

At least somebody over at the New York Times is being fair to Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw MORE...

But interestingly enough it is conservative columnist Ross Douthat in a column that shook political Twitter titled the case for Bernie.

Douthat notes the relative weaknesses of Joe BidenJoe BidenNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter Trump narrows Biden's lead in Pennsylvania: poll Florida breaks first-day early voting record with 350K ballots cast MORE, Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Government watchdog to investigate allegations of Trump interference at CDC, FDA MORE, and Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg says it's time to 'turn the page' on Trump administration Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 Biden town hall questioner worked as speechwriter in Obama administration: report MORE along with the failures of party establishment favorites like Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter As VP Kamala Harris could be a powerful voice for women's retirement security The clock is ticking and Trump is still taking a shellacking MORE by pointing out that while Sanders has a core demographic support amongst the young, he also has near second choice preference amongst older voters, female voters, minority voters, and other demographic groups that make up the Democratic coalition.

Critically, Douthat points out that Sanders has some of the most crossover support of any Democratic candidate and especially those voters who are in the top tier, far more than Elizabeth Warren. This is something the media just can't wrap their heads around because they legitimately believe that Warren is just Bernie Sanders’s populism dressed up with actual plans.

Warren has decided to marry economic populism with far cultural leftism, from adding gender pronouns to her Twitter bio, making fun of people who don't believe in gay marriage, to a whole host of radical social plans that she features on her website. Now, Sanders conversely as Douthat writes is an "economic policy monomaniac."

Now there's no denying that Bernie is probably just as socially liberal if not more so than Elizabeth Warren, but his appeal to crossover voters is that "Sanders socialism might be strangely reassuring, as a signal of what he actually cares about, and what battles he might eschew for the sake of his anti-plutocratic goals."

This again comes down to the critical issue of trust. Bernie's resilience in the polls and his massive number of committed voters in the primary is based upon the fact that every single one of them trusts he will do exactly what he has been saying for almost 40 years. He will target the healthcare industry and he'll target the financial industry aggressively, that alone is enough fights for an entire 8-year presidency. Just ask FDR.

What Douthat gets so right in this analysis is that voters understand that what you do as president is a zero-sum game. When you're pushing one thing or you’re preoccupied with another, that is every single day that you're not doing something else. Elizabeth Warren has showed her cards to voters. She released a fake pay for scheme on Medicare-for-All and then saying that she wouldn't even try and pass it until year 3 of her presidency.

What exactly is she going to be doing in those first 3 years? Well, I'm sure financial fights would entail some of it, but I have a bigger feeling that given the congressional situation she would be dealing with what is mostly going to be the woke liberal version of travel ban executive orders that would rip the country in half.

People can sense this and that is why Warren fared the worst of the top 3 candidates in the six battleground states in head to head matchups done by the New York Times against President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE.

Douthat ultimately finds himself with the interesting conclusion that "despite technically preferring a moderate like Biden or Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Senate Democrats seek to alleviate public concern about some results not being available on election night Washington flooded with Women's March protesters ahead of Barrett confirmation vote MORE, I keep coming back to the conservative's case for Bernie--which rests on the perhaps-wrong but still attractive supposition that he's the liberal most likely to spend all his time trying to tax the rich and leave cultural conservatives alone."

I won't indulge that fantasy too far. I don't think Bernie himself would lean far into many of these social justice issues, but conservatives learned under President Obama that even under a man who opposed gay marriage when elected to the oval office that an executive branch populated with woke social justice warriors can deliver plenty of damage. Knowing how personnel that are appointed here in Washington, it would be impossible for Bernie to staff the administration without many in his own White House.

Douthat's column again highlights what I believe is the most underserved community in all of America and what I fight so hard for the future of the right. Cultural right, economic left. It is the working class of this country that holds on to their traditions and watches them mocked by the very oligarchs who have offshored or automated their jobs.

And if Bernie was still the guy who said open borders was a Koch brothers proposal designed to hurt the working class and maybe even moderated a bit on social issues, I have no doubt he would win a landslide. In the meantime, the rest of us are left wanting but perhaps we can glimpse a part of our future in Sanders’ revolution.