With the fragmenting of Bernie's coalition from 2015-'16 -- some going for Warren, some for Biden, some for the nobodies -- it's guaranteed he won't be the nominee this time around either.
For a year or so, I've been hammering the theme of this election cycle being a repeat of the frustrated realignment of 1856, at the end of the Jacksonian era, when the opposition (Whigs) split into a realigning party (the GOP, for abolition of slavery) and a status quo party (American, Constitutional Union, etc., against abolition).
Typically, an ineffectual end-of-an-era president like Trump (or Carter, or Hoover) gets replaced by a realigner from the opposition party, which then becomes the new dominant party and establishes a whole new historical era. Carter was replaced by Reagan, who ended the New Deal and inaugurated neoliberalism. Hoover was replaced by FDR, who ended the Progressive Era and inaugurated the New Deal.
So after Trump's one term, that's it, right? Not so fast -- with polarization as strong as it was just before the Civil War, we're getting a fragmentation at every level of political organization. The two major parties are polarized, factions are polarized within a single party, camps are polarized within a single faction, all the way down until only micro-cliques are left that show basic solidarity within themselves.
With no organized, cohesive opposition to the status quo -- indeed, with a major faction of the opposition running on a solidly status quo platform -- there will be no dethroning of the dominant party and its era this time around. Maybe after the next recession / depression, that will force the opposition to get its act together and come up with something radically different.
I think most Bernie supporters have accepted the high probability that he won't get the nomination, and that one of the status quo candidates will -- literally anyone other than Bernie, including Warren. She was such a defiant neoliberal Reaganite that she only switched to the opposition in 1996, after Clinton had a proven track record for destroying the New Deal.
What will be hard for them to imagine -- but which they must steel themselves for in advance, so that they don't get wiped out later -- is that Biden's running mate will not be a populist, socialist, left-winger, progressive, or whatever, as an appeasement to the Bernie supporters to keep them on board for the general election.
On the contrary, he will be further to the Republican side than Biden himself -- and given how staunchly neoliberal and militaristic Biden's record has been, that leaves little room for anyone other than a Never Trump Republican.
This issue always comes up during Democrat primaries, and the dumb left-wingers never, ever learn. So let's review the history.
2016: Hillary's running-mate was Kaine, further to her right. NOT Bernie, or anyone close.
2008, '12: Obama's running-mate was Biden, further to his right. NOT Kucinich etc.
2004: Kerry's running-mate was Edwards, further to his right. NOT Dean or similar.
2000: Gore's running-mate was Lieberman, the furthest right of any Democrat. NOT Bradley, Nader, or anyone like that. Zombie Biden may well dig up zombie Lieberman's corpse as his running mate.
1992, '96: Clinton's running-mate was Gore, further to his right. NOT Jerry Brown or another liberal. In the early '90s, Gore was not an environmental activist -- he was most distinctive for being one of a few Democrat traitors who voted for Bush's Gulf War. And his wife, the would-be Second Lady, was the head of the Parents Music Resource Center -- the busybodies who forced the "Parental Advisory" stickers on album covers. She was to the right of Hillary.
1988: Dukakis' running-mate was Bentsen, further to his right. NOT Jesse Jackson.
1984: Mondale's running-mate was Ferraro, further to his right. NOT Jesse Jackson. Mondale was a Minnesota New Deal liberal, Ferraro was a moderate-to-conservative who had made her brand NOT being a bleeding-heart liberal.
You have to go all the way back to 1976 to find a running-mate to the left of the nominee -- Minnesota liberal Mondale as the running-mate for conservative Southerner Carter. They were chosen again in '80, as incumbents.
Of course, 1976 was still the New Deal era, when the Democrats were the dominant party. Ever since Reagan won in 1980 and realigned the system into neoliberalism, the opposition Democrats have used their running-mate to try to placate the voters of the dominant party who are closest to them -- potential swing voters -- and not those who are within their own party, but further away from the dominant party (anyone to the left of Dukakis, Clinton, et al.).
Republicans in the Reagan era can afford to choose more extreme figures for their running mates -- Palin, Cheney, Pence (more conservative than Trump), etc. They're in the dominant party, so they'll win just by inertia. Putting up a ghoul like Cheney isn't going to rub off on Bush, who most will see as Reagan's inheritor, and most voters wanted more of Reaganism in the 2000s.
Since we're still stuck in the neoliberal era, the Democrats will not select a running-mate for Biden who is to his left, but one to his right, who might coax some Republican swing voters over to the Democrats' side. Because the Democrats are rejecting populism, and insisting on elitist austerity, they will not try to coax over the legions of Trump voters who might give Bernie a chance for his populist and anti-militarist stances (two of Trump's signature issues from 2016).
Nope: they're going to try to lure a handful of socially liberal or moderate yuppie suburban Republicans who chafe at Trump's tone, "the tweeting," up-ending of norms, making Republicans look racist and xenophobic and bla bla bla. If you don't want Trump's stink on you, make the change to Biden and -- who, exactly, will entice them? Joe and Joe! Biden / Lieberman 2020. If not that, then some Never Trump Republican.
That brings us back to 1856 -- the presidential nominee for the status quo faction of the opposition was the most recent president for the opposition, Millard Fillmore. His closest counterpart today is Obama, but he's term-limited, so his second-in-command will have to do -- Biden it will be.
Fillmore's running mate was not someone further away from the dominant party (the Jacksonian Democrats, controlled by Southern plantation slaveholders), such as someone from the abolitionist faction of the opposition. Hell no, they wanted a bipartisan unity ticket, and chose a former operative from their enemy's party, Andrew Donelson. He was mainly involved in the Jacksonian Democrats' media organizations.
If the parallel holds this time, that would mean someone who was an operative for the Reaganite GOP, mainly in the media sphere, and who would defect from that party -- but not to realign the system, only to ensure the status quo. Some anti-populist, anti-Trump Republican from the neocon media -- Bill Kristol? Max Boot? They're common enough figures on liberal media, Democrat voters might actually recognize their names.
At any rate, whether it's Biden / Lieberman or Biden / Kristol, the Sandernistas had better be prepared to burn down whatever remains of the Democrat party after this election cycle, just as the abolitionists killed off the Whig party and founded a new one, the GOP, to pursue realignment. They must also be prepared to welcome aboard those legions of populist, anti-militarist Trump voters -- otherwise they've got less than nothing, no takeover of their own major party, and no defections from the other party.
None of that will happen by the 2020 election, so like the end of the Jacksonian era, the end of the Reaganite era will last for two unbearable back-to-back terms, not just the usual one. (Trump is not going to be the nominee, as documented here before. It doesn't matter who it is instead -- everyone in the GOP is a Reaganite, after the failed populist insurgency of Trump's 2016 campaign.)
Bernie supporters should carry out the rest of this cycle's work with an eye beyond it, toward the 2024 realignment, when they will be better able to kill off the Democrat neoliberal establishment, and convert legions of populist Trump voters.
They can start by telling their fellow libs to STFU about crying racism, white supremacy, fascism, Nazism, etc., whenever someone puts the American masses' welfare over integrating the entire globe into an American-run empire-and-labor-market. Nothing could be more contrary to populism, and alienating of potential defectors.