Sunday, February 07, 2016

Politix Update: Confronting The Dark Shadow Over The Bernie Sanders Campaign

Here's a question to get the old bean working this morning: Would you want Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic presidential nominee even if it meant the likelihood of the Republican nominee winning because your effing principles are more important to you than handing back the keys to the national car to the GOP?
Before we proceed, might I respectfully suggest that Sanders fanatics -- those of you who can't see the electoral forest for the mighty Bernie oak and Feel the Bern when it's actually your hair on fire -- leave the room because what we're interested in here is discussing a hugely frightening scenario, and the usual ad hominem attacks from people blinded by the light emanating from Bernie's halo are only going to get in the way.
OkayReady? 
Sanders is far and away the best presidential candidate for the times in which we live, and along with Barack Obama and George McGovern, the best candidate of my lifetimeSanders is far and away the best candidate to build on the not shabby Obama legacy and further distance America from the darkness of Bush era.  Like Hillary Clinton, he talks the progressive talk, but unlike Clinton he actually walks the progressive walk.  His advocacy for closing the gap between rich and poor, cracking down on the continuing excesses of Wall Street, on truly universal health care and making public colleges tuition-free, among other policy initiatives, are a breath of fresh air in these deeply toxic political times
Sanders' campaign, with his army of young foot soldiers, brings back fond memories of 1968.
If you weren't coming home in a pine box or wheelchair from Vietnam, 1968 was a tremendously exciting year, and among the waves of change roiling American society none was quite as dramatic as Eugene McCarthy's campaign to wrest the heart and soul of the Democratic Party from the hawks and take the White House in what would be a bloodless and historic coup d'├ętat(None of us gave any thought to what would happen if McCarthy somehow won the nomination, but then we got Richard Nixon anyhow.)
I was a junior in college, editor of the campus newspaper and, while avowedly objective in all things political as a young journalist, I secretly and fervently supported McCarthy and even got to interview him.  My roommates took leave of classes to slog through deep snow in New Hampshire and volunteer for the maverick from Minnesota.  They even cut their long hair and shaved off their beards to "get clean for Gene."
I would trust Sanders with my life, while I wouldn't trust Clinton with going to the corner store for a bottle of pop and a bag of Cheetos and giving me the change from the five dollar bill I gave her. 
I'm weary of people attacking Sanders supporters because of their idealism, their leaps of faith and willingness to believe him when he says he understands their struggles, which contrasts starkly with Clinton's brand of cynical realism.  All that noted (and I do wish you Sanders fanatics would stop trying to sneak back in the room while we're trying to figure this thing out), he conceivably could win the nomination if the heavens align just so -- say, the electoral equivalent of Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn all in a row and all being visible as they briefly were on a morning last month. 
But as feel-good as that might be, and as much of a nostalgia trip as it may be for old heads, and as exhilarating his probable victory on Tuesday in another New Hampshire primary nearly 50 years later will be, Sanders stands no chance of being elected president
That grim reality is inextricably entwined with Sanders' deep belief in democratic socialism, a benevolent system of governance that you and I know is a far cry from the jackbooted Sieg Heil brand of socialism, but will enable gleeful Republicans to unrelentingly tar him in the general election.  The tar will stick, and feathers to the tar.  The harsh reality is that Sanders' nomination guarantees Republican control of all three branches of government, which would be a body blow to the progressive agenda and a devastating setback for all that still is right about America
That Sanders also probably would lose in a landslide of Goldwater-esque proportions would be secondary, as well as a cruel reversal of fortune for Democrats and democracy since the heavenly electoral alignment of 2016 favors a runaway victory for someone many voters see as being a flawed but satisfactory fit for the times, and an alternative to Republican demagoguery.  Hillary Clinton.
Not doing the right thing because it would result in the wrong thing is indeed a cop-out, in this case an excuse to shirk responsibility of pretty dramatic proportions.  This isn't a game of college philosophy class hacky sack.  This is the real world, and it is bloody terrifying.  So I'll ask again: Is believing in Sanders more important at the end of the day -- or more accurately at the end of the primary season -- when the alternative almost certainly is a president named Raphael Edward Cruz?   
Bring on the snark if you must, but think about it.  Our future may depend on it.

POLITIX UPDATE IS WRITTEN BY SHAUN MULLEN, A VETERAN JOURNALIST AND BLOGGER FOR WHOM THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS HIS 12th SINCE 1968.  CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF PREVIOUS COLUMNS. 
© 2015-2016 SHAUN D. MULLEN.

IMAGE FROM DONKEYHOTEY/FLICKR.  USED WITH PERMISSION.

4 comments:

Ray said...

Here is the problem that I have with this, "I would trust Sanders with my life, while I wouldn't trust Clinton with going to the corner store for a bottle of pop and a bag of Cheetos and giving me the change from the five dollar bill I gave her." There is something wrong. When in America one has to be afraid of supporting the candidate that they truly agree with for they are worried about the Electoral College vote.

Here is the situation in a nutshell to me. Numerous polls have come out showing that in the general election Sanders does much better beating the GOP candidates then Hillary. Thus if Sanders is nominated and the Electoral College gives it to the GOP. Then there really was not a true vote for the GOP owned the Electoral College.

Think of it this way. What would be the reason that the Electoral College would push for a candidate that has more of a chance of losing to the GOP? Several possible reasons come to mind.
1 Hillary is the Democratic party elites choice.

2 The Electoral College has been corrupted by Wall Street.

3 The policies that Sanders supports have put numerous amounts of pressure on the Electoral College from those that will be effected by them.

There is one outcome that you have not mentioned and that should be pushed to the hilt for it is true. The Democratic Party has lost a lot of voters over the years. This has been caused by lack of faith in the parties ability to stand up and accomplish progress. If the Democratic Party elites choose to ignore the will of the voting populace and push for who they(the elites) are more comfortable with. The Democratic Party risks their very future, for this could easily backfire on them and millions of Sanders supporters not show up at the polls! This is a very real possibility for these young people will point and say see this why the system does not work! Millions of voters lost, for how long who knows and truth is they will say who cares it is all decided by the party elites not voters.
With all that said I for one will only vote for Sanders and or Hillary whichever makes it. More importantly any race lower I will vote a straight party ticket and so should all others. Does no good to have a Dem as President if the GOP runs all of Congress, same for all state elections!!!!

Shaun Mullen said...

Your No. 1 is ginormous. I will break my long-standing rule and, like you, vote straight Democratic.

Twilight said...

I agree with Ray, above. Republicans have just as much tar and accompanying feathers to throw at Hillary as they do for Bernie. If the DNC doesn't find a way to stop Bernie, attempt to split the vote by encouraging Bloomberg or Biden to run if Hillary's star begins to flicker, I suspect that we'd be safe with Bernie in the General.

I'll vote for Hillary, but only if I have to, in the General, and once done I shall change my registration from Dem back to Indie, and leave it there.

Rick Jones said...

Two words: Ralph Nader

I love the Bern, and everything he stands for. I'm glad he's getting the spotlight and saying things that need to be said. He and Elizabeth Warren are pushing the Democrats back in the right direction.

But a vote for him is a vote for Ted Cruz or some other Republican chowderhead, just as surely as a vote for Ralph Nader was a vote for George Bush.

I may have to hold my nose as I do it, but I will vote for Hillary in the primaries and in the general.