EJ Dionne tells Obama to take electoral advice from Bernie Sanders — who, Dionne points out, “actually is a socialist and believes devoutly in grass-roots, class-based politics” — and detects encouraging signs that Obama, finally, is doing just that. Rallying progressives is indeed the right strategy, says Dionne, and the polls suggest that Obama’s campaigning shift to the left is working.
His base-rousing speech to a “boisterous” rally at the University of Wisconsin, says Dionne, “reflected the White House’s realisation that Sanders is right…”
The president was not reluctant to draw class lines or ideological distinctions. He cast Republican support for a $700 billion tax reduction for the wealthy against the cuts it could force in Head Start and student loans. He criticized his opponents’ “blind faith in the market” and the idea of letting “corporations play by their own rules.”
Thus the irony: A president who largely disdained a mobilizing strategy for his first year and a half in office has returned to his community-organizer roots to try to salvage an election. Here’s the further irony: He has a real chance of pulling it off, which leads to a question. If Obama succeeds, will he continue to keep his supporters engaged and “fired up”, as Sanders suggests he should? Or will he go back to an insider strategy that helped bring him to the brink of this precipice?