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Right Hooks

That Time a Socialist Nearly Won Iowa

A story that's far more interesting than GOP support for a celebrity populist.

Political Editors · Feb. 2, 2016

Columnist David Harsanyi makes this fascinating observation on not how far Right Republicans have gone, but how far Left Democrats have shifted:

[A] year ago, Bernie Sanders was down 57-5 in Iowa polls to Hillary Clinton. As of this writing, the race is too close to call — which by any measure means that Sanders, who was outspent, can declare victory. It was pretty clear that the party’s energy and passion are centered on a Sanders’ candidacy — even if he’s unable to pull it out against the establishment choice. …

Put it this way: Last night, 25 percent of the GOP voted for celebrity populist who gained unparalleled coverage from the media for a half a year. Half of Democrats voted for a once-obscure elderly socialist senator from Vermont who bases his campaign on conspiracy theories and juvenile zero-sum economic theories that were all the rage in the early 1900s. (And the other half went to a candidate that sounds increasingly like him.)

Like him or not, Cruz’s positions, as conservative as they are, are within the philosophical frontiers of the Reagan Right. Maybe you think them antiquated, but they are hardly “radical” — as in representing some extreme section of a political party or movement. Cruz’s ideas would be recognizable to any Republican in 1984 or 1994. But would any Clinton-era Democrat in 1996 embrace the economic positions of Sanders (or Hillary, for that matter)? How about 2008?

Can Bernie Sanders pull of any more wins after New Hampshire? Time will tell…

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