The last victim of the French Revolution was the man who started it, and the American “progressive revolution” may also, in the wake of a debate over separating illegal immigrant families at the border, be declaring open war on the man who launched a thousand protest marches.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won’t join the left’s clarion call to “abolish” Immigrant and Customs Enforcement, and now leftists want him drummed out of the movement.
The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel hinted at the coming chasm last week, after observing a growing call within progressive ranks to include “Abolish ICE” as part of the Democratic Party’s official platform. Probable 2020 presidential contender and Hillary Clinton protege, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) moved the topic into mainstream discussion after announcing, over the weekend, that she’d support a bill abolishing ICE as part of leftist’s efforts to end enforcement of America’s immigration laws.
But abolishing ICE is (1) probably unworkable and (2) a pie-in-the-sky idea, considering any legislation aimed at actually abolishing ICE would require the support of both Republicans and the president. Bernie Sanders, noted realist that he is, may not recognize that a socialist economy begets mass starvation, or that Venezuela is not a country to imitate, but even he gets that abolishing ICE is just a little too “out there.”
And for that, he has been officially excommunicated. His ceremonial notice came in the form of a New Republic screed.
“Sanders could be a source of consistent, left-wing pressure on party leadership, whether or not he runs in 2020. If he intends to build a lasting political movement out of the remnants of his last presidential campaign, he’ll need to become an effective counterweight to the mainstream Democratic Party,” says writer Sarah Jones, forgetting that Sanders launched the progressive Renaissance. “But based on his ICE comments and the uneven results of his campaign efforts, Sanders no longer seems like such a sure figurehead for disgruntled Democratic voters.”
In fact, Jones says, perhaps Sanders’ status a progressive figurehead and thought leader was misguided, because he’s just not far left enough: “[Sanders has never been a figurehead to everyone in the American left. … He does not occupy the left-most band of the spectrum.”
Jones then doubles down.
“But contrary to how he’s often portrayed in the media, he is not a doctrinaire leftist,” she adds, questioning the bona fides of the man who supposedly inspired a new generation of “socialist Democrats” to run for office. “Sanders is not a revolutionary. His views aren’t even entirely consistent with democratic socialism, the political tradition he claims. It’s one thing to call for breaking up the big banks, and quite another to call for the nationalization of private industries.”
Shockingly, Jones suggests that Sanders’ position on ICE puts him decidedly in the political “mainstream.”
The “Sanders revolution” is coming, but Bernie Sanders probably won’t be part of it.