In the video that Anne Laurie posted below, Bernie Sanders got it right (around 2:30): “The vast majority of people are giving up on the political system.” If you believe that, and if you couple it with Bernie’s other observation near the end of the video, which is that Democrats are afraid of taking positions that will anger the big money donors financing their campaigns, then how are we going to get the people who have given up to engage?
If you don’t believe that the vast majority have given up, talk to a few twenty-somethings about key political issues. They, rightly, see a system that’s rigged to support the needs of the olds at their expense. Medicare is treated like a fucking sacrament, but it’s a sin for the young to take Medicaid. As employees without much experience, they are entering jobs in a world where the baseline minimum wage is a poverty wage, and nobody will hire them full time without a college degree and the debt necessary to attain that credential. Obamacare improved their lot a bit, but that (for them) extremely minor improvement came after an ugly fight that was completely out of proportion to the real benefit of that legislation. After Obamacare, the government basically shut down for 4 years, and it was pretty clear that 2014 wasn’t going to change that, so remind me why they should have voted?
I don’t buy Bill Maher’s view that it is simply incompetence of Democratic politicians that caused this defeat. They ran away from Obama and sounded like Republican lite because they gave up on the group of voters who have given up, and decided it wasn’t worth alienating their big money donors in what would have been a quixotic attempt to appeal to a group whose honest appraisal of the situation was correct: there’s nothing in it for them from either party.