Yes, yes, “Bernie would have won! It’s all Killary’s fault we have Trump as a president!” Etc etc. Aside from the hilariously wrong belief that the Obama voters who voted for Trump would have went with a Jewish Socialist instead, Bernie’s followers should be on their knees thanking Hillary. She took a bullet meant for the left as a whole.
For those who keep forgetting the lessons of the very recent past, whenever the Democratic Party loses badly, they instinctively move to the right to compensate. This is how American politics shifted so far away from the center to a place where the Democrats, undeniably a centrist party, can be called “The Left” with a straight face by the corporate media. In this skewed worldview, Bernie Sanders was labeled an extremist for an agenda that Americans overwhelmingly agree with.
Even now, Democrats like Joe Manchin are urging the Democrats to shift to the right to appease Trump and his followers. But this time there’s a bit of catch: Hillary Clinton was so thoroughly identified as a centrist, even center right, there’s no legitimate way to blame liberal politics for her loss.
There are plenty of articles blaming her for plenty of reasons, but none of them talk about her platform being “too extreme” for the country. On the other hand, if Sanders had run, his inevitable loss would have been blamed 100% on his “extreme” liberal politics even if his platform had been identical. This is a phenomena that only exists on the left.
When Republicans lose, the “liberal” media rarely, if ever, blames their extreme right wing politics as the deal breaker. But when an openly liberal Democrat loses, it’s magically always a rejection of their politics. It’s a convenient and lazy narrative the press has settled into and part of what keeps people convinced that Republicans enjoy widespread support for their toxic policies. If Bernie had run, the media would have seized on his “extremism”, discrediting the progressive movement for a generation or two. They might still try but it’s not going to be an easy sell, especially with Hillary the “centrist” winning the popular vote by a few million votes.
There will still be the urge for the party to move right even in the face of a mountain of evidence that says they shouldn’t. But hopefully, we will resist this dangerous need to “realign” the party to attract Trump’s voters. America has already drifted too far to the right as it is and we need progressive politics now more than ever.