Well, for what it’s worth, I do agree with you on a couple of points. The first one has to do with Bernie running as a Democrat.

I’m a lifelong Independent, and while I’ve been tempted at times to “pick a side,” I’ve never done so because I felt it would be improper to call myself something I’m not. In that respect, I can understand your complaints about Bernie. He’s not a Democrat. He just chose to run as one, and it had major consequences for the party. I can see your problem with that.

I also do believe that a lot of young folks are a little naive when it comes to their conception of how the political process ought to work. I’m a bit older than you — I started college when Bill Clinton was still in office. I remember how happy people were under his presidency, and I remember that a lot of it had to do with the cooperation that went on between the two parties. They pushed through a lot of reforms that would never even make it out of committee, let alone to the president’s desk, in this environment (though not all of those reforms worked out well, unfortunately). We’re far removed from that period of history now, though. Compromise is a dirty word, and there aren’t many Bills or Newts willing to cross the aisle and work together. Until that changes, getting anything of real significance through Congress is necessarily going to be difficult to pull off, and I don’t think a lot of young people fully understand that.

That being said, I do feel that the establishment (or “old guard,” or career politicians, or whatever term/phrase you prefer) have brought some of this cynicism on themselves. For the better part of the last two decades, they’ve consistently failed to rekindle the spirit of cooperation that allowed Reps and Dems to accomplish as much as they did under Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton. People talk about polarization as if it’s a new thing, but it’s been building since around the start of the Iraq War. In my opinion, that’s when partisan politics got kicked into overdrive. There was a short break right after Obama got elected, then it got ratcheted right back up and only got worse as time went on. And I put that on establishment politicians on both sides. Not only did they fail to successfully build bridges between the two sides, but many of them exploited the divide for their own personal gain. Couple that failure with all the other standard political fare that people hate — the flip-flopping, ad homs, crying wolf, etc. — and it’s not too hard to see why some people are rallying behind candidates who want to shake things up, like Bernie, Ocasio-Cortez, and others like them.

But as I said before, the question of whether their ideas will actually come to fruition is another matter entirely. I have my doubts that they will, but I had those same doubts about Trump and his supporters, and we both know how that story ended.

Outer space enthusiast. Japanese history junkie. I write about politics, culture, and mental illness. Disagreement is a precursor to progress.

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