Bernie's middle America themes: death and despair
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
The New Yorker's Benjamin Wallace-Wells writes of "Bernie Sanders's not-quite-finished campaign:"
"Death and despair have been Sanders's themes since he launched his Presidential campaign. … His speeches, blunt and workmanlike, depend upon dramatizing social statistics."
From West Virginia, he headed to Covington, Kentucky, in an area where the opioid epidemic has been particularly devastating. What had gone so badly in people's lives that they were turning to heroin and opioids? 'There is something going on in West Virginia and Kentucky which is unbelievable, which is what sociologists call the illnesses of despair,' Sanders told me.
He had been to parts of West Virginia where there were very few jobs, 'fewer that pay a living wage,' and there was a steep psychic cost. "There is a lot of pain. And we've got to understand that reality. And then tell these people that their problems are not caused by some Mexican making eight dollars an hour picking strawberries.