Democratic voters fall into one of two categories: freeloaders and virtue signalers. Freeloaders have no money, so they want free stuff. Virtue signalers have too much money, so they can afford to virtue signal by electing someone who will dole out free stuff even if that means that there is a slight reduction in their stock portfolios. In other words, they are willing to give back some of the money president Trump has made them in order to throw him out of office and get lifetime bragging rights in their social circles for doing so.
It appears that Mayor Pete has locked down the virtue signaller vote. After all, he is the virtue signaler’s dream come true and he is a bit more careful than others with the free stuff part of it. The competition for the freeloader vote is more fierce. Both contenders for this electorate are septuagenarian Jews whose parents or grandparents were refugees from Eastern Europe: Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg. Regardless of their similar origins, their pitches to Democratic voters are quite different, though the end result is the same.
Bloomberg’s message is rather simple. “You are too dumb to succeed in the postmodern economy and you know it” he is saying. “So let those, like me, who have the ‘grey matter’ necessary to do what it takes give you what you need.” It’s a good message. Most Democratic voters, it is true, are too dumb and too lazy to succeed. They are not at all above admitting it to themselves or to anyone else. They wear their laziness and mental retardation as badges of honor. And they are quite willing to sell their votes to the highest bidder.
Andrew Yang with his universal income had a nearly identical message, but he was at once too nice and too poor. Unlike Mike Bloomberg, he was too nice to tell his voters that they were far too dumb to achieve his level of success no matter what. And being only a single or double digit millionaire rather than a double digit billionaire, he lacked the street cred to be giving money away for free.
Image by Gage Skidmore
The Bloomberg-Yang message resonates well with the part of the freeloader electorate that is simply looking to sell its vote, including the Black Lives Matter crowd. But there is another part to that electorate. This is the “if we can’t have it, nobody should” part. These are voters, mostly white, who grew up in better circumstances than they themselves can afford, who want to burn everything down, and who want to experience a full-on bolshevik looting orgy consequences be damned.
When the Reds won the Russian civil war of 1918-1919, many Russian nobles stood on the steps of their ancestral mansions with the keyrings in hand, waiting to give those keys to the representatives of the peasants. The peasants declined. Rather than sell the art and the jewelry, rather than turn those sprawling mansions into hospitals, schools, or community centers, they broke into the wine cellars, got drunk on the Chateau Lafittes and burned everything to the ground.
These are the Bernie voters. They are not seeking a handout, they are seeking revenge. They want revenge against their parents who lied to them for years about what it would take to live like they had done. They want revenge against those who went to law school instead of getting a PhD is intersectional gender studies. They want revenge against the system, a system that simultaneously disses and rewards prudent choices and hard work. A system that punishes the very things it seems to promote. A system that pushes feminism and homosexuality, but rewards marriage between a man and a woman. A system that glorifies following your heart, but rewards those who use their brains.
What Bernie knows and Bloomberg does not is that the freeloader part of the Democratic electorate does not want to get paid, they want to avenge themselves of those who, in their not unjustified opinion, lied to them and rigged the system against them. Bernie’s voters want punitive taxes on the “rich”, they want to burn everything down, and they don’t care what comes after. For these voters, questions like “how will you pay for that?” are irrelevant and even infuriating. They don’t care. When you have a college degree, perhaps even a graduate degree, and all you can do is wait tables, you don’t care that those who have “real” jobs will lose their access to healthcare because the health insurance system in America will be destroyed. These folks WANT the system to be destroyed because they know that they will never have what it takes to benefit from it. For them, it is too late. Burn it all down.
Bernie has a lock on the “burn it all down” part of the Democratic electorate. As has been clear since the last primary season four years ago, it is by far the most energized part of that voter bloc. There is a real tragicomic element to this story, one that is worthy of William Shakespeare himself. The burn it down voters love Bernie because they believe him that he will, indeed, burn it all down if they give him the chance to do so. In holding this belief, Bernie’s voters fully justify their own reputation for stupidity and lack of any capacity for rational thought. Four years ago, Bernie sold out to the DNC for some trinkets like a lake house and a sports car. In this cycle, he is shooting for the same exact outcome, though his idiot voters may give him the leverage to ask for more. Needless to say, Bernie has no intention of burning anything down or holding a real job like that of the president of the USA.
After spending the first two decades of his life being a bum just like his voters, he had figured out how to make money off of his former bum comrades by getting them to vote for him. Since politicians don’t really do anything, it was a cushy deal. Money for nothing and chicks for free, to quote the Dire Straits. Luckily for Bernie, the stupidity and naivete of his voters is a resource almost as inexhaustible as MiniMike’s cash.
Is it funny to watch millions fall for the empty promises of free cash or revenge porn against the “man”? Yes. But it is also sad that America, a land built on healthy common sense, hard work, and self-reliance has come to this after two and a half centuries of existence.