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EDITORIAL: Comrade Sanders marches through New Hampshire; heads for Nevada

Updated February 12, 2020 - 10:22 pm

It’s on to Nevada for the Bernie-nistas after a rousing victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. The Vermont socialist has momentum and a rabid — if not deeply misguided — core following.

Republicans are no doubt salivating about the possibility of facing a former (?) communist sympathizer in the November presidential election. But if President Donald Trump proved anything in 2016, it’s that many of the traditional political assumptions no longer apply in the age of tech and social media. After all, how many pundits called Mr. Trump’s victory?

But if Sen. Sanders eventually secures the Democratic presidential nomination, he still faces the daunting challenge of selling his call for a collectivist “revolution” to more moderate and independent voters, particularly those old enough to remember the misery and destruction wrought throughout the 20th century by Bernie’s favored system of governance. And as the Trump economy keeps on delivering, that mountain becomes more difficult to climb.

The Labor Department revealed last week that the January unemployment rate of 3.6 percent remains near a 50-year low. But unlike the Barack Obama years, when falling jobless numbers often reflected an increase in those opting to sit on the sidelines, the roaring Trump economy is pushing many unemployed workers to get up off the couch.

“Nearly three of four Americans who were newly employed in recent months came from outside the labor force,” The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend. That means “they weren’t actively looking for work prior to the month they accepted a job. That is the highest ratio in three decades of records.”

It’s also a good omen for continued economic progress. The labor-force participation rate has returned to pre-recession levels, the Journal noted, and wages have increased “at least 3 percent from a year earlier in each of the past 18 months.” The surge in new workers eager to tap the bounty of a thriving job market “gives the record-long stretch of job creation more room to run,” the paper reported.

But amid the country’s current economic success, Sen. Sanders — in contrast to the optimism of Mr. Trump — preaches victimhood, gloom and despair to mobilize support for dismantling the most powerful and successful economic system the world has ever known in favor of a utopian ideology of benevolent authoritarianism that has a consistent track record of miserable failure.

Democrats argue that Mr. Trump has hijacked the GOP, as Republicans meekly fall in line behind a president who is unfaithful to many of the party’s traditional tenets. They may soon be the victims of an uncomfortable irony if comrade Sanders likewise succeeds in flattening his adopted party’s establishment.

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