Friday, February 12, 2016

ANS -- Why Bernie vs Hillary Matters More Than People Think

OMG!  This is really important!  It explains the real difference between Bernie and Hillary, and it is bigger than you think! This is a really clear explanation, pretty easy to understand (except the graph), so read it even if you are not interested in economics.  
This was so good, I have included the follow-up article and a few of the comments. 

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Why Bernie vs Hillary Matters More Than People Think

by Benjamin Studebaker

Lately the internet has become full of arguments about the merits and demerits of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Over the past couple weeks, I've been discussing and pondering all the various views about this, and I'm increasingly of the opinion that most of the people engaging in this debate don't really understand what is at stake in the democratic primary. This is in part because many Americans don't really understand the history of American left wing politics and don't think about policy issues in a holistic, structural way. So in this post, I want to really dig into what the difference is between Bernie and Hillary and why that difference is extremely important.

We have a tendency in American politics to focus too much on individuals and personal narratives, especially in presidential campaigns. Who's in touch with ordinary people? Who is experienced? Who is a nice person? Who connects better with different identity groups? Who would you like to have a beer with? This is in large part because many democrats like to think of Hillary and Bernie as different flavors of the same Democratic Party popcorn. Consequently they mostly just pay attention to which candidate they feel they can more readily identify with. But Sanders and Clinton represent two very different ideologies. Each of these ideologies wants control of the Democratic Party so that this party's resources can be used to advance a different conception of what a good society looks like. This is not a matter of taste and these are not flavors of popcorn.

What are these two groups? Bernie Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist–he connects himself politically with Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, with the New Deal and the Great Society. To understand what that means, we need to know the history of this ideology. Under Calvin Coolidge's right wing economic policy in the 1920's, economic inequality in the United States spiked:

The left in the 1930's understood rising inequality as the core cause of the Great Depression. Because wealth was concentrating in the hands of the top 1%, the amount of investment steadily increased while the amount of consumption stagnated. Whenever there is too little consumption to support the level of investment in the economy, investors struggle to find profitable places to invest their money. Investment is usually a positive thing–it helps businesses increase their production and create jobs. But with consumption weak, businesses have little reason to increase their production, because no one will buy the additional goods and services provided. So instead, businesses that receive investment tend to reinvest that money rather than use it to grow. That investment circulates through the financial system and accumulates in speculative bubbles–places like the stock market, housing market, commodities market, or various foreign markets. These assets become massively overvalued until one day, the markets recognize the overvaluation. The assets collapse in value and the bubble bursts. People relying on these assets to pay off other debts get into serious trouble, and a contagion can spread throughout the economy with horrifying consequences.

So what did the left do? As you can see in the chart, between the 1930's and the 1970's, the United States drastically reduced economic inequality. It redistributed wealth from the top to the middle and the bottom, resulting in consistent wage increases and consequently consistent consumption increases. This allowed investment to be put to effective use–because the bottom and the middle were rising, they were able to support the additional spending that business owners needed to successfully expand. This was accomplished through a series of policies that if they were proposed today, would strike most Americans as socialist–Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, strong union rights, high minimum wages, high marginal tax rates on the wealthy (with a 90% top rate under Eisenhower), and strong enforcement of financial regulations and anti-trust laws.

Democratic presidential candidates that can be associated with this ideological tradition include Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and George McGovern. That's it. Starting with Jimmy Carter in 1976, the Democratic Party became something different, something that was no longer ideologically continuous with this. Even the Republican Party to a large degree acknowledged the need for these policies during this period–Eisenhower and Nixon supported and even extended parts of this system that kept investment and consumption in balance.

I've written about what happened in the 1970's in detail elsewhere–the short version is that in the 70's there were two oil shocks, in which the price of oil went up very rapidly (the OPEC embargo in the early 70's and the Iranian Revolution at the end of the decade). Rising oil prices created stagflation, because they drastically increased the price of goods over a very short span of time. This reduced consumption, damaging economic growth, while simultaneously leading governments to increase wages in an attempt to prevent workers from rapidly losing purchasing power, creating inflation. To solve this problem, governments needed to stabilize oil prices or reduce dependency on foreign oil. They also could have allowed real wages to fall temporarily until that was accomplished (in tandem with a strong social safety net to protect those at the bottom of the wage scale).

Instead what happened is that the right co-opted the oil crisis to claim that the entire project of balancing investment with consumption was fundamentally mistaken, that the problem was that there was not enough investment and too much consumption. The right embarks on a political platform of reducing union power, reducing the real value of the minimum wage, cutting welfare spending, reducing taxes on the wealthy, and deregulating the financial sector. Inequality, which in the US bottomed out in 1978, began rising rapidly and during the new millennium has frequently approached depression-era levels, having the same harmful effects on consumption that it had in the early 20th century and creating the same endemic risk of bubbles and financial crises.

Many people think that it is the Republican Party alone that is responsible for this, but beginning in 1976 with Jimmy Carter, the Democratic Party was captured by this same ideology, which in academic circles is often referred to as neoliberalism. It is now largely forgotten that it was Carter, not Reagan, who began deregulating the market. Indeed, during the 1976 democratic primary, there was an ABC movement–Anybody But Carter. Democrats who remained committed to the party's egalitarian ideology rightly feared that Carter was too right wing and would effectively strip the party of its historical commitment to the continuation and expansion of the legacy of FDR and LBJ. However, they ran too many candidates against Carter, splitting the left vote and allowing Carter to win the nomination.

Bill Clinton took the party even further to the right. In 1992 he ran on the promise to "end welfare as we know it", a total repudiation of the FDR/LBJ legacy. With the help of republicans, Clinton was eventually successful in drastically cutting the welfare program. Clinton also signed important deregulatory bills into law, like the Commodities Futures Modernization Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Most economists blame one or both of these pieces of legislation with directly facilitating the housing crisis in 2008 (there is a robust debate about which one is more important, with economists like Paul Krugman leaning toward CFMA as the more important one while Robert Reich argues GLBA). Hillary Clinton supported these measures during the 1990's and has in some cases continued to voice support for them. Bill signed all of this legislation into law. Bernie Sanders was against welfare reform and GLBA at the time (he voted for CFMA–it was snuck into an 11,000 page omnibus spending bill at the last minute).

The 2008 primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is sometimes billed as if it were a contest between two ideologies, but the most prominent difference between them was the vote on the Iraq War. On economic policy, there never was a substantive difference. The major economic legislation passed under Obama (Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act) did not address the structural inequality problem that the Democratic Party of the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and early 70's existed to confront.

Wealth inequality, which decreased under FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ, increased under Carter, Clinton, and Obama:

Percentage Point Change in Top 1% Income Share US Presidents

On economic policy, contemporary establishment democrats have more in common with contemporary republicans than they do with the FDR/LBJ democrats. Carter and Clinton took the party away from economic progressives. The Democratic Party, which was once the party that saw economic inequality and poverty as the core causes of economic instability, now sees inequality and poverty as largely irrelevant. Instead of eliminating inequality and poverty to fuel the capitalist system and produce strong economic growth, establishment democrats now largely agree with establishment republicans that the problem is a lack of support for business investment.

So Bernie Sanders is not merely running to attempt to implement a set of idealistic policies that a republican-controlled congress is likely to block. He is running to take the Democratic Party back from an establishment that ignores the fundamental systemic economic problems that lead to wage stagnation and economic crisis. Those who say that the Democratic Party cannot be reclaimed by the FDR/LBJ types or that if it is reclaimed it will flounder in elections against the GOP are thinking too small. In the 1968 and 1976 republican primaries, this guy called Ronald Reagan was running to take the Republican Party back from the Richard Nixon types who went along with the democrats on welfare and regulation in a bid to return the republicans to their 1920's Calvin Coolidge roots. At the time, Reagan's plan was considered madcap–everyone in the 60's and 70's knew that hard right Coolidge style economics leads to depression and crisis. But the stagflation in the 70's created an opportunity for Reagan to convince republicans and eventually the country as a whole to fully embrace a totally different ideology that was much closer to Coolidge's politics than it was Eisenhower's or Nixon's. In the years since 2008, many Americans, in particular young people, are willing to consider the possibility that neoliberalism–the economic ideology espoused by both the post-Reagan republicans and the post-Carter Clinton-era democrats–is fundamentally flawed and must be revised or potentially replaced entirely.

This can only happen if democrats recognize that Bernie Sanders is not just a slightly more left-wing fellow traveler of Clinton's. This is not a contest to see who will lead the democrats, it's a contest to see what kind of party the democrats are going to be in the coming decades, what ideology and what interests, causes, and issues the Democratic Party will prioritize. This makes it far more important than any other recent primary election. The last time a democratic primary was this important, it was 1976. Only this time, instead of Anybody But Carter or Anybody But Clinton, the left has Bernie Sanders–one representative candidate that it is really excited about. The chance may not come again for quite some time.

Hillary Clinton is a neoliberal building on the legacy of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. She doesn't understand the pivotal role inequality plays in creating economic crisis and reducing economic growth. She has been taken in by a fundamentally right wing paradigm, and if she is elected she will continue to lead the Democratic Party down that path.

Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist building on the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. He understands that inequality is the core structural factor in economic crisis and that growth in real wages and incomes is required for robust, sustainable economic growth.

It doesn't matter which one is more experienced, or which one's policies are more likely to pass congress, or which one is more likely to win a general election, or which one is a man and which one is a woman. This is not about just this election, or just the next four years. This is about whether the Democratic Party is going to care about inequality for the next decade. We are making a historical decision between two distinct ideological paradigms, not a choice between flavors of popcorn. This is important. Choose carefully.


This post is getting a lot of attention, which is terrific and I thank all of you who are sharing it and helping more people see it. The downside is that there are a lot of comments, and it's overwhelmed my ability to thoughtfully reply to each one. To allow myself to get other work done, I've had to go cold turkey and I will no longer be writing any more comment replies for this post. In the comments I've seen so far, I've noticed some people expressing concerns about electability, and I will write a post about why non-neoliberal candidates are fundamentally more viable now than they used to be soon (this includes not only Bernie, but also Trump–Trump is a right nationalist, not a neoliberal, which is why the republican establishment hates him). If you want to be sure not to miss that post, I invite you to scroll down to the bottom of the webpage, where I have all sorts of means by which you can follow my blog (via Facebook, Twitter, or E-Mail). My thanks again to all of you who are helping to make this post so popular by sharing it on social media.


The aforementioned post is now available and is called Why Bernie Sanders is More Electable Than People Think.


The Huffington Post has honored me by sharing a repost of this with their large audience.


And here's the second article:

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Why Bernie Sanders is More Electable Than People Think

by Benjamin Studebaker

A few days ago, I wrote a popular post about the ideological differences between Bernie Sanders, the egalitarian committed to shrinking the financial sector and boosting consumption by raising wages, and Hillary Clinton, the neoliberal committed to protecting the interests of finance capital. I explained the history of the Democratic Party and how it came to be captured by neoliberalism–the same economic ideology espoused by Ronald Reagan and many of his successors in the Republican Party. Many people found that this clarified the differences between Bernie and Hillary for them. However some people expressed concern that even though they think Bernie's ideology is more desirable, he may still nonetheless be unable to beat a republican in a general election. A republican victory would be awful for the left–even a neoliberal democrat is still noticeably to the left of a neoliberal republican, especially on issues like climate change or LGBT rights. However, I think there are good reasons to think that Bernie is at least as electable as Hillary, and possibly significantly more so.

The reasons Bernie Sanders is so much more electable than most people think are all tied to the discussion of ideology we had a few days ago. If you read that post, you might remember the chart I used to illustrate the change in the economic ideology of the country that occurred in the mid to late 70's:

A few people asked me about the source–the data comes from the World Wealth and Income Database. One of the important things to notice about this data is that when an economic ideology catches on in America, it tends to capture both major parties at once. During the 50's, 60's, and early 70's, even republicans like Eisenhower and Nixon reduced economic inequality. Post-1976, even democrats like Carter, Clinton, and Obama raised inequality. Economic ideologies change when there is an economic disaster that is seen to discredit the prevailing ideology. The Great Depression discredited the classical economics practiced by right wingers like Calvin Coolidge, allowing for left wing policies that in the 1920's would have sounded insane to ordinary people. The stagflation in the 70's discredited the Keynesian egalitarianism of FDR and LBJ, allowing Ronald Reagan to implement right wing policies that would have been totally unthinkable to people living in the 1960's. I submit to you that the 2008 economic crisis and the stagnation that has followed have discredited the neoliberal economic ideology of Reagan and Clinton not just among democrats, but for supporters of both parties, and that new policies and candidates are possible now that would have been totally unthinkable to people as recently as 10 years ago.

This has been in the cards for a while. In 2008, democrats thought they had elected someone who was going to change the economic ideology of the country in response to the crisis–Barack Obama. As it turned out, Obama was only a mildly more left wing neoliberal than the Clintons.  There was no breakup of the banks, no shrinking of the financial sector, no increase in real wages for most workers. Some people argue that Obama was a committed left-winger, but was blocked by republicans in congress. This argument cannot apply to his first two years, when he had a super majority in congress. Either Obama or the democratic members of congress that comprised that super majority were unwilling to dump neoliberalism in 2009.

When the public loses confidence in the consensus economic ideology, multiple new ideological choices become possible. Ordinary Americans grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of economic ideological change, resulting in proliferation of anti-establishment movements on both sides–the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. However, there were few opportunities for either of these movements to capture the presidency. In 2012, the democrats were stuck with an incumbent President Obama for better or worse, while the republican anti-establishment candidates split the rebel vote and handed the election to Mitt Romney.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the rebellion going on within the Republican Party. This is a crucial part of the story of why Bernie is so electable. In the Republican Party, the GOP establishment that we talk about is even more committed to the neoliberal economic ideology than the democratic establishment. But the rebels in the Republican Party are not neoliberals at all–they are right wing populists committed to right nationalism. While left egalitarians like Bernie Sanders believe that economic inequality is the cause of wage and income stagnation and economic under-performance, right nationalists blame foreigners and minorities for this stagnation. Right nationalists attack neoliberalism on multiple fronts:

  1. They accuse neoliberals of allowing foreign countries like China to exploit and expropriate our country in bad trade deals.
  2. They accuse neoliberals of allowing foreigners to pour into our country, taking jobs from Americans and undercutting their wages.
  3. They accuse neoliberals of wasting our country's resources on humanitarian and foreign aid and interventions that do not advance the national interest.

Who does that sound like to you? Donald Trump. Ted Cruz.

Here's a little chart that helps illustrate some of the policy differences between left egalitarians, neoliberals, and right nationalists:

IdeologyLeft EgalitarianismNeoliberalismRight Nationalism
ExamplesSanders, WarrenClinton, Bush, Obama, RomneyTrump, Cruz
Trans-Pacific PartnershipOpposesSupportsOpposes
Shrinking the Financial SectorSupportsOpposesOpposes
Welfare ReformOpposesSupportsSupports
Amnesty for Undocumented ImmigrantsSupportsSupports (Republican neoliberals pretend they don't, but vote for it anyway)Opposes
Foreign AidSupportsSupportsOpposes
Humanitarian Military InterventionGenerally OpposesSupportsOpposes
Explicitly Imperialist Military InterventionOpposesOpposesSupports
Living Minimum WageSupportsOpposesOpposes
Obamacare/RomneycareSupportsSupports (Republican neoliberals pretend they'll repeal it, but it's called "Romneycare" for a reason)Opposes
Single PayerSupportsOpposesOpposes
Tuition Free CollegeSupportsOpposesOpposes

In 2010, the Tea Party began taking over republican seats in congress. These folks were not merely more right wing than the people they replaced, they were right nationalists, people with a different ideological position. People like Ted Cruz don't see themselves as part of the establishment, they see themselves as an altogether different political force, and to a large degree they are. Because of the 2008 crisis, these rebels have enjoyed massive support within the Republican Party, and since 2010 they have been in the process of capturing it and turning it into a right nationalist party. Over the last few years, you can probably feel the republicans moving further away from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on a lot of different issues–this is because they are gradually abandoning neoliberalism.

Mitt Romney, however, was a neoliberal. How did he win the nomination? Romney struggled to attract the support of more than 30% to 40% of GOP voters in 2012, but the right nationalists ran too many candidates, splitting the vote and allowing Romney to eventually get the nomination. In 2012, only Romney, Giuliani, and Huntsman ran as traditional neoliberals. Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum ran to varying degrees on nationalist platforms. The neoliberals were consistently at a disadvantage, but Romney was able to take advantage of the nationalist split to eventually win:

2012 GOP Establishment vs Rebels

In 2016, Bush, Rubio, Christie, and Kasich are running as neoliberals while Trump, Cruz, and Carson run as nationalists:

GOP Establishment vs Rebels

This time, the neoliberals have failed to coalesce around a single candidate and are fighting among themselves. Rubio finished 3rd in Iowa, but 5th in New Hampshire. Kasich finished 2nd in New Hampshire, but 8th in Iowa. Bush finished 3rd in New Hampshire, but 6th in Iowa. The winners of these states were Cruz in Iowa and Trump in New Hampshire, both nationalists. Because Rubio, Kasich, and Bush were each top three finishers in at least one of these states, all three will stay in. The establishment will remain unable to unite, and this will finally let a nationalist take the republican nomination. If you're a neoliberal republican, you want to lock Rubio, Kasich, and Bush up in a room together until two of them agree to drop out. If you can't do this between now and Super Tuesday, your ideology is going to lose control of the Republican Party for decades.

The world is different post-2008. Neoliberalism, which was in ascendance in the 70's and 80's and peaked in the 90's, has been in decline since the stock bubble burst at the dawn of the new millennium. The neoliberals have been frantically trying to keep things together ever since. First they created a housing bubble, then when that popped and 2008 hit, they created bubbles in commodities and emerging markets. Those have now popped, and excess investment capital has now piled back into the US stock market, which is again overheated.

Analysts are deeply concerned about a new round of recession this year, though opinions vary widely about how severe this recession might be. The excess investment created by neoliberal economic policies around the world has led to a Chinese stock bubble, an American student debt bubble, and continued weakness in Europe due to austerity. Many of the traditional indicators of impending recession are lighting up–retail sales are dropping, factory orders are dropping, inflation-adjusted growth is in bad shape, even corporate profits are less robust than they were. If this recession does materialize this year, neoliberalism and the political establishment that advocates for it will be even more likely to lose further ground in both parties. All of this is making it increasingly difficult for neoliberalism to retain its grip on the two political parties. The public will not tolerate indefinite stagnation and decline in median household incomes–sooner or later any dominant economic ideology that produces figures like this will, rightly or wrongly, be discredited:

Neoliberalism's time may already be up in 2016. It's finished in the Republican Party, and Hillary Clinton is all that stands between the left egalitarians and control over the Democratic Party. The imminent collapse of the dominant economic ideology is not yet widely recognized. Right now, the affluent people who have benefited from neoliberalism are completely confused. They don't understand why so many people, particularly young people, are flocking to candidates they consider totally insane. You can see this all around you on the internet and in the media–there are columnists, pundits, and TV personalities constantly acting incredulous that the public is not jumping up and down to vote for Clinton, Kasich, Bush, or Rubio. Michael Bloomberg is so confused and disturbed by the possibility that the public is about to pick someone who isn't a neoliberal that he's considering an independent run. Like most affluent people, he thinks the only reason the neoliberals are failing is that they are running ineffective campaigns.  Bloomberg and the American neoliberal political establishment live in a bubble–they are insulated from the real-world consequences of stagnant median incomes. They don't understand the extent to which the public, especially young people, have totally lost confidence in them to run this system effectively and fairly.

What this means is that if this is the year when the voting public decides that it's done with neoliberalism, the party that nominates a neoliberal candidate will likely lose. If democrats don't nominate and support the left egalitarian political movement, if they instead continue to nominate neoliberals who continue to allow incomes to stagnate, they are ensuring that sooner or later (and probably sooner) disaffected poor and working Americans will choose right nationalism as the next dominant economic ideology for potentially decades to come.

The public increasingly does not believe in neoliberalism anymore. For democrats to win, we need to show people that we have an ideology that is not neoliberalism and that is more attractive than right nationalism. The only viable ideology for the Democratic Party is left egalitarianism, and the only left egalitarian candidate is Bernie Sanders.

People who expect Bernie to lose still think that neoliberalism is ascendant or dominant, and that the left has to play defense against the right. That may have been the situation in the 80's, 90's, and 00's but today neoliberalism is on its last legs. The republicans can see it. They're moving on. Will we defend the now-decrepit monster they gave us until they inflict a new and more terrible monster upon us, or will we stick up for our own ideology and put up a real fight against Trump and Cruz?

For all of these reasons, Bernie Sanders polls better against Trump than Hillary Clinton does:

Clinton vs Trump

Sanders vs Trump

When the dominant ideology is no longer dominant and the public is looking for something new, you don't win with more of the same. For the first time in a long time, the public is ready to change the dominant economic ideology. Are we going to do it, or are we going to let Donald Trump do it?

I can't promise you that left egalitarianism is going to win this fight. But I can promise you that even if neoliberalism can hold on another round or two and Hillary can win this time, sooner or later, if we keep nominating neoliberals, allowing incomes to stagnate, and letting people lose hope in the system, we will lose to a right nationalist and that right nationalist will take our country to a place you don't want to see. If left egalitarianism is going to be the next dominant ideology instead, we have to fight to make that happen. The country isn't ready for Hillary or Jeb, it's ready for a new paradigm. Will we provide that paradigm, or will they? The primaries are still ongoing. It's our choice–fight for Bernie's brave new world, or waste our strength in an alliance with an ideology that is not only morally repugnant, but that is politically decrepit and eventually doomed to fail.


The Huffington Post has honored me by sharing a repost of this with their large audience.

57 Comments to "Why Bernie Sanders is More Electable Than People Think"

  1. You are absolutely on fire right now. Good work.

      • I actually work on Wall Street – since '08 I've been working through what happened and came to exactly the same conclusions you have, that we are essentially replaying the ideological battles of the 20s/30s (if not on repeat, then at least a heavy rhyme.) One big difference being that we had Bernanke at the Fed in '08 rather than liquidationists which bought us some time economically . . . but I have been worrying that time is running out in a political sense, given the eventual outcome of the 30s (hard not to run afoul of Godwin's Law there, so I've been using a FDR vs. Franco metaphor.) This piece ties it all together.

    • Karl Schulmeisters

      >>Neoliberalism's time may already be up in 2016. It's finished in the Republican Party, and Hillary Clinton is all that stands between the left egalitarians and control over the Democratic Party.<<

      seriously? Ad hominem? I'm sorry, if you want the Dems to fold in behind Sanders assuming he wins the nomination this Hillary Hate has got to stop.

      This is basically trolling.

      so is selective citing of statistics.

      Tiresome drivel

      • You don't know what Ad Hominem means. FYI it's when you attack a person's character instead of their argument. Even if the author were wrong and Hillary isn't neoliberal (I see no reason to draw this conclusion given her track record, but it's debatable), that would STILL not be Ad Hominem.

        Before attempting to criticize "drivel", make sure you aren't spewing any of your own.

  2. […] The aforementioned post is called Why Bernie Sanders is More Electable Than People Think. […]

  3. What's your view on the possibility that rather than a subscribed ideology, neoliberalism is a set of policy prescriptions that an administration or individual falls into due to political exigency and systemic pressures. Given a structuralist analysis of the American political system, I'd be surprised if anyone other than Sanders could resist the temptation and pressures of neoliberal economic policy for very long, and even Sanders might have to adopt a compromised Keynesianism due to the co-opted nature of Congress. As for neoliberalism on the decline: I wish you were right, but the ready European adoption of austerity seems to be a functionality giving neoliberalism a new lease on life. Of course a parliamentary system acccepts austerity more readily than the bicameral US model, but neoliberalism is certainly alive and well…

    • We are seeing a parallel rise of the same competing ideologies in Europe. The egalitarians have Corbyn, Podemos, SYRIZA, etc. The nationalists have Le Pen, Pegida, Golden Dawn, UKIP, etc. Inequality is not as severe in Europe as it is in the states, and the EU makes it harder for states in the periphery to act on different ideologies, because the EU restricts monetary and fiscal policy options.

      In the US, the inequality problem is further developed and the EU constraints are not there. We are seeing and will continue to see congressional neoliberals get replaced by egalitarians and nationalists. This is sometimes called "polarization", but it represents real ideological defections, not just intensifying extant differences. If elected, Sanders may not immediately get a left egalitarian congressional majority, but neoliberalism is on its way out in the congress as well. He may mostly find himself negotiating with right nationalists. We can expect a president from a different ideology to over time reshape a party's congress and governors to a significant degree by turning out voters who support the president's ideology. FDR and Reagan both radically reshaped their parties in this way.

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