The Democrats recently rolled out their attempt at rebranding with a “Better Deal,” a laundry list of liberal oldies but goodies repackaged to try to attract the American middle and working classes. In one sense, the effort is a good one as it recognizes that the Democrats did not lose because of the Russians or because Trump supporters are a crowd of racist deplorables. They lost because they spurned most of the voters in favor of identity politics. However, the “Better Deal” might be more accurately termed the “Boring Deal." As Damon Linker writes in The Week, Democrats need a little excitement, by which he means Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders, the geriatric revolutionary

Bernie Sanders arrived on the national political scene like Lenin to Petrograd in 1917, offering an alternative to the Clinton Restoration in the form of the utterly vapid, thoroughly corrupt Hillary Clinton.

His message was unsullied by nuance or common sense. Universal health care, free education, break up the big banks, and ponies for everyone. That last is a joke, but not much removed from reality. Bernie was a font of big ideas and fiery rhetoric. The Democrats’ heads were with Hillary as being more electable (which didn’t work out very well), but their hearts are with Bernie.

Democrats need to head for the center

The problem with hewing to a firebrand populist is that Donald Trump already had that covered. He rode to the Oval Office on the resentments of Americans who have been hammered by a bad economy and outraged by the disrespect they had received at the hands of the political elites.

The difference between Trump and Sanders is that the president’s agenda is mainly sensible.

Lifting the burden of Obamacare, enacting tax reform, and even an infrastructure project, so long as it actually builds useful things, are all designed to get the economy moving again. A lot of problems get solved if the economy starts growing at three percent again rather than the anemic one or so percent that has been the case for the past few years.

Democrats need to find a way that combines the excitement of the Red Guard-style Sanders cult of personality with an agenda that is neither boring nor scary. They can hope that the stars will align enough that they can get an authentic left winger in the White House, as the Democrats did with Obama in 2008. However, Obama’s victory came at a terrible price with down ballot Democrats being retired to the private sector in droves in 2010 and 2014. A Bernie presidency will have every potential of ending the Democratic Party if it doesn’t end the United States first.