[This is the first of two posts comparing the 2016 and 2008 electoral climates. Second post here]
What role does the Bernie phenomenon play in the current party re-alignment? The obvious, and correct, parallel is to the Trump phenomenon -- anti-Establishment, at war with their own party, bringing in loads of new voters, yuge rallies, against foreign interventionism, not beholden to Wall Street, and not in favor of globalist trade agreements.
But some on the right and the left have tried to draw parallels to the Ron Paul movement of 2008, and (if they're on the left) asking if the Dems need a Tea Party movement of their own. They point to a group of activists who despite losing the nomination process, still try to pack their own delegates into the state and national conventions, who feel betrayed by their own party's leaders, and who are treated heavy-handedly by those leaders when they act up.
Yet the Republican Tea Party movement was not anti-Establishment like the Sanders supporters are. It represented one faction of the longstanding GOP coalition feeling slighted by the other faction -- the junior partner going rogue against the senior partner.
As detailed in this earlier post, it was a civil war between the Cultural Right and the Wall Street puppets. They were not opposed to Wall Street's overall agenda -- they were content to allow that agenda as long as the Wall Street-funded power brokers allowed the Cultural Right's agenda to go forward. Since only the Wall Street agenda was actually being promoted, the Cultural Right voters rebelled and elected a wave of supposedly hardline candidates on cultural and social issues, against the RINOs.
These Tea Party politicians were all Wall Streeters in disguise, only going the extra mile to put on a convincing performance as hardline right-wingers to fool the gullible cuck voters. Ted Cruz is the epitome of this type of co-opted pseudo-conservative elected on the rise of the Tea Party voters.
The Trump movement is at war with both of those factions of the old GOP coalition, sidelining the identity politics concerns of the Cultural Right (where the identity group is natalist apocalyptic cults), while taking square aim at the globalist and elitist agenda of the Wall Streeters. Hence Trump's two main rivals being Bush early on and Cruz after that.
Sanders supporters are clearly more similar to the Trump supporters than to the Tea Party. They're largely uninterested in cultural and social issues (although they are generally liberal, just like Trump people are generally conservative). Identity politics on the Dems' side is based on racial and ethnic minorities, feminists, and homosexuals. Bernie rarely touches on those topics, other than to discuss how many blacks are locked up in jail for minor drug offenses -- but then that is really a matter of how the government works (law enforcement), rather than a matter of identity politics per se (like "being culturally marginalized in the mass media").
And certainly the Bernie crowd is taking square aim at the Wall Street donors and their legislative agenda (TPP, campaign finance, etc.). That puts them at war with both factions of the longstanding Dem coalition -- the Cultural Left and the Wall Street neoliberals.
Anyone who thinks the Cultural Left loves Bernie Sanders just has to remember those lardasses from Black Lives Matter hijacking Bernie's rally in Seattle last summer, sanctimoniously berating the whole Bernie crowd for white privilege and bla bla bla. Or the endless scolding of "Bernie bros" for not voting for the First Woman President. If Hillary were not in the closet, her supporters would also be castigating Bernie people for supporting the heterosexual candidate over the dyke.
Just like Trump is returning the Republican Party to the Progressive era of McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt, so Bernie is doing his best to return the Democrats to the era of the New Deal. Race, religion, sex, and sexuality played little or no role in defining the bases of the parties in those eras, when the focus was strictly on economic and governmental matters.
Sure, the progressives in the Bernie movement identify more with the Cultural Left, just as the Trump movement identifies more with the Cultural Right. But Bernie and Trump are both emphasizing the economy and government at the expense of social and cultural issues, which is felt as a provocation by the Cultural Left and Right, who have now turned on the class-oriented movements within each of their parties.