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Time for #NeverBernie?

February 13, 2020
Time for #NeverBernie?
Nope. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

I woke up this morning wondering whether it’s time to unfurl the #NeverBernie banner.

There is no legitimate conservative case for a Castro-apologist, statist, socialist ideologue like Bernie—despite claims that Bernie-versus-Trump would be a strictly binary choice and yadda yadda. yadda . . .

We’ve heard all of this before.

But as some of us explained four years ago, we can refuse the choice of death by wood-chipper or death by arsenic. We are not morally obligated to accept the crap sandwiches offered by either major party.

#NeverBernie and #NeverTrump can be a thing. A sad and lonesome thing to be sure . . . but definitely a thing.

Let’s be clear here: Millions of voters who think that Trump is a disgrace and a disaster and who voted for Democrats in the midterms are going to balk at Bernieism, especially after a $1 billion oppo campaign and a belated media vetting process dismantles him in full public view over the course of the fall.

Our last, best hope is for this cup to pass from us because, let’s be honest, Bernie/Trump is a nightmare scenario for centrists, conservatives, and any contingent of voters who yearn for a non-crazy presidency. And besides: Neither Bernie nor his bots wants us—as they tell us with numbing regularity on Twitter.

So this would seem to be a good time to make it perfectly clear that there are going to be voters who won’t give the Democrats a blank check this year. Their insanity does not confer upon us the obligation to also lose our minds. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself here, but I’m not interested in exchanging one toxic tribe for another.

I know, I know. #NeverBernie and #NeverTrump is going to be a lonely place. The merde will rain down from all sides. We would be Pariahs Squared. But I suspect that it will feel familiar: The “strange new respect” was always temporary.

The good news is that warning flags are being raised—by vulnerable Democrats who fear an electoral wipe out and by ex-Republicans who fear the same. And even by progressive pundits who are trying to stop the insanity.

But it’s getting late and the 2020 Democratic race feels an awful lot like the 2016 GOP primary campaign.

And we know how that ended.

Charlie Sykes

Charlie Sykes is a founder and editor-at-large of The Bulwark and the author of How the Right Lost Its Mind. He is also the host of The Bulwark Podcast and an MSNBC contributor.