Heather Wilhelm ponders for National Review Online the role of a self-described socialist in the future of American politics.

Welcome to today’s Democratic party, where dysfunction reigns — and fittingly, the wacky, melancholy Bernie Sanders, who refuses to even call himself a Democrat, is king.

To be fair, there is something truly majestic about a Bernie speech: The intensity, the deadpan delivery, and the fleeting impression that the senator is actually clinging to the lectern for safety, lest he slowly collapse into some invisible cavern of quicksand gurgling right below his feet. As he barks through a break-the-bank socialist laundry list, his hands occasionally float through the air, with loose jabs accompanying random syllables — the last two of “administration”; the first three of “irresponsible.” His ideology is a political cough drop, long-expired, crusty, and found at the bottom of your great-grandmother’s purse, right next to some equally old butter crackers secretly squirreled away from the local all-you-can eat buffet.

But to millions of Americans, he is a hero. His new podcast, The Bernie Sanders Show, hit the No. 2 spot on the iTunes charts in its first week. A new Harvard-Harris survey reveals that he is the most popular politician in the country, earning favorable marks from 57 percent of registered voters. Among Democrats, his favorability hits 80 percent. (Interestingly, just two-thirds of Republicans view the senator negatively, leading one to wonder whether the other third never heard him opine about how there are too many different brands of deodorant.)

Bernie’s impressive poll numbers, reports The Hill, “could buoy a potential 2020 presidential run.” Drumroll, please: Yes, ladies and gentlemen, things are that bad. A 75-year-old socialist who once literally honeymooned in the USSR is the brave new face of the Democratic party. America, it is apparent, has not suffered enough.