Rachel Maddow made a remarkable observation about the significance of Bernie Sanders’s New Hampshire primary win last night:
“If you really are a liberal, it’s been a long time in this country when you felt like mainstream politics had nothing to say to you, and that mainstream politics just was not about you,” she said on MSNBC. But now, “with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigning this way against each other—that happened because Bernie Sanders got into this race,” she explained. “All these kids who are enthused about this race, whether or not they’re supporting Bernie Sanders directly, are never going to feel like mainstream politics isn’t about them.”
Think back to the 1992 conventions, when Pat Buchanan gave his infamous culture-wars speech, announcing a “crusade,” as Maddow put it, against gay people, minorities and feminism and concluding that “There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.” In response to that declaration of war, the Democratic Party didn’t have much: “As a gay person watching that in 1992, I didn’t feel like Bill Clinton had my back. I didn’t feel like the Democratic Party had my back,” she added. “He was talking about agreeing with Ronald Reagan that government was the problem.”
How profoundly things have changed.