Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.

With Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ rise to the front of the Democratic presidential pack, some have been drawing a comparison between the New England socialist and the Great Plains liberal Sen. George McGovern.

And not in a good way. The comparison is whether Bernie will suffer the same sort of landslide defeat McGovern did in the 1972 race – except this time, with spillover effects in congressional races.

According to former Senator and McGovern campaign manager Gary Hart, Bernie’s not like McGovern at all:

As the commentariat searches for Sanders’s predecessors, it is a reach to make McGovern a far-left icon. [McGovern’s] economics and foreign policy were much closer to those of John F. Kennedy than to those of Hubert Humphrey. Although the signature policy that brought McGovern to national attention was his crusade against the Vietnam War, McGovern’s push to end the war did not mean that he wanted to see America’s diplomatic withdrawal from the world.

Fair enough – let’s also not forget that McGovern was a bomber pilot in World War II who flew 35 combat missions. Bernie Sanders made a habit of visiting communist dictatorships.

Hart writes Sanders could “lose as badly as McGovern did,” but for a host of different reasons.

But the one great similarity between the two is the internal fight between Bernie’s progressives and the more establishment Democrats. McGovern faced similar internal scrums in 1972 – and that, Hart says, fed the Nixon campaign all the fodder it needed to win big.

History doesn’t repeat. But it often rhymes.

Image Credit:By AFGE (AFGE Participates in #StopFastTrack Rallies) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons