There's a temptation to assume that everything new in politics is a harbinger of the future. But lots of things are dead ends: They rise, and they go away. There's no reason to believe just definitionally that Sanders represents the future of the Democratic Party more than anybody else.Hopkins points out that Barrack Obama is still much more popular among Democrats than Sanders is, and he thinks the Democrats' future is still with the Obama coalition of minorities and college-educated whites:
I think the key for understanding the future of Democratic politics is still Obama. Obama has shown you can win nationally as a Democrat not as a liberal crusader, but not as someone who takes on the left of the party to prove to the swing voters that you're not a liberal, either.I have previously noted that when you poll them about the issues, Sanders' supporters are not measurably more liberal than Hillary's. Sanders' supporters seem motivated at least as much by anger at the status quo, and an allied sense that Hillary is a crook, as they are by socialism. After all, Sanders consistently polled better among independents who vote in Democratic primaries than among registered Democrats. Right now his supporters seem more focused on the alleged "rigging" of the nomination process than on any policy issue.
It seems like Obama will go down in history as the key figure in current Democratic Party politics — he showed how the party's new demographic coalition could come together. If you want to talk about the future of the Democratic Party, that's where it is.
I guess my feeling now is that the course of the Democratic Party over the next decade is still very much up in the air. I feel certain that tough regulation of Wall Street will remain a key Democratic issue, and I expect more moves toward alleviating the problem of student debt. But it may be that Sanders' rise over the past ten months has had more to do with Hillary's particular weaknesses than with the issues Sanders is championing.