One other thing related to the Democrats’ debates occurred to me today. I call it The Bernie Sanders Problem.
Bernie deserves an enormous amount of credit for giving voice to many progressive policies that weren’t getting national attention until he ran for president in 2016. I also admire his ability to bring nearly any question or conversation back to his four or so main talking points. He’s passionate about those issues and rarely allows himself to be taken off on tangents, which is a good thing.
But it’s also a bad thing.
Last year, I wrote about the time Martha and I went to see the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a group of septuagenarians and octogenarians playing classic New Orleans-style jazz. We had looked forward to the concert, which is why we were so disappointed that every single song sounded the same, as if they were playing “Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey” over and over again. Though it was clear these musicians were all very talented, and had each been playing for more than half a century, there was no variety, just a sameness to every tune. If there’s one thing jazz should never be, it’s monotonous. After the fourth or fifth version of Bill Bailey, we walked out, shaking our heads.
I have a feeling that some voters are starting to feel the same way about Sanders, especially since they can get a nearly similar take on those same matters from Elizabeth Warren, who remains calm and cool while still promoting a progressive agenda. They may agree with and like Bernie, but are getting a little sick of his gesticulating wildly, raised voice, and everything he says sounding like “Medicare For All, Bill Bailey.”