Really bad reason for not supporting Bernie Sanders

I don’t know why people keep saying this.

Another on my list of “things people fervently believe and argue on Facebook that do not make any sense at all.”


I’d love to support Bernie but he’s so far left he won’t get anything done with Congress.

Why that makes no sense:

First Thing

Your alternative is Hillary. She’s great at persuasion and horse trading and strongarming and getting stuff done, definitely. But her chance of getting Bernie’s agenda implemented is basically zero too, because she is not Bernie.

If you think an Eisenhower-style income tax system would be a good thing, it’s fair to question whether President Sanders can make that happen. But you know for a fact that President H. Clinton¬†will not.

I don’t see how the person who definitely does not want to get you a pony is better than the person who might fail to get you a pony, if what you want is a pony.

Second Thing

Usually this is said with some statement or connotation that Bernie is terrible at negotiation and will never compromise on anything because he’s some over-the-top socialist. I’m willing to believe that Hillary’s perhaps got better haggling skills, but what I’m not willing to believe is that Bernie doesn’t realize¬†his policy positions are at the leftmost edge of what anyone in Washington is willing to talk about.

What makes people think a President Sanders will sit and throw a tantrum because Congress won’t support a 52% top income tax bracket? He’s not stupid. He’ll propose 52%, everyone will laugh in his face, then he’ll say “Okay, what will it take to get some of you on board with 47%?” This is how you buy a car. This is how you negotiate your salary.

Of course the Sanders platform won’t be enacted as proposed. When has any President’s platform been enacted as originally proposed? It’s a silly point. He’ll get what he can get.

Third Thing

Again, really fundamentally, your negotiating is almost always stronger if you ask for more than you reasonably hope to get. The Republicans have used this tactic with great success for many years.

This is kind of a restatement of the Second Thing but I think it’s important. I think one of President Obama’s biggest mistakes was making reasonable proposals with all those Republicans in Congress instead of being more aggressive and leaving room to settle. President Sanders won’t make that mistake.


I’m not saying Bernie is flawless. I’m not even saying you should support him. I’m saying that the “Bernie won’t get anything done” trope is a terrible reason for not supporting Bernie if you like his ideas to begin with. There’s no objective evidence for it, and the logical arguments for it are nonsense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *