I’m increasingly worried that the democrats are going to screw up the next election and give Trump another 4 years (impeachment will go nowhere, if anything the republicans will try to exploit it too increase their seats in congress). And of the democratic candidates that have me most worried its Magic Grandpa Bernie Sanders. In a perfect world, I’d probably vote for him myself, but the reality is we don’t live in a perfect world and the odds are good that if he wins the nomination, Trump’s going to win the election, likely with the democrats enduring a Corbyn level defeat (so losing control of the house as well).
But he’s way ahead in the polls his supporters say. Ya and Hilary had an even stronger lead until a few weeks before the election, despite all the mud the GOP slung at her (which, given the lack of any prosecutions post-election, we now know amounted to diddly squat). But his supporters ignore the meta data within those polls, which shows that among key demographics he performs terribly (such as white males, the over 50’s, blue collar workers or ethnic minorities, particularly those with strong religious convictions, all counting as the sorts of people in swing states who will decide the election).
Least we forget Trump won, despite Hilary’s large poll lead, for two reasons. Firstly, he managed to get the vote out in key swing states. Bernie is exactly the kind of character whom we can be guaranteed to attract a large turn out to try and stop him (and much as some remainers voted Tory to stop Corbyn, we can assume some middle class types might do the same to stop Bernie). Secondly, the democrats were divided, in no small part due to the Bernie or bust brigade, some of whom went off campaigning against Hilary in key swing states. Hence why the disunity in the left (with again Bernie supporters at the heart of it) is deeply worrying.
I’d also take a Bernie Sanders poll lead with a pinch of salt. Republican insiders have let slip that they have a dossier of attack material on Bernie that is so big it needs to be wheeled around on a cart (which includes such fun facts as him honeymooning in the Soviet Union, his appearance at a pro-communist/anti-US rally in Nicaragua and penning an essay about a woman enjoying being raped). Needless to say after Fox news has been allowed to weaponise this information (plus a whole bunch of fake news thrown in for good measure) something tells me he won’t have much of a lead anymore (in fact he’ll probably be behind). And Trump has a key ally in the form of Facebook to help spread such propaganda.
I mean has Bernie actually ever met the sort of people who vote for Trump? He is the last person who could ever persuade them to vote democrat. In fact it is pretty much an open secret that Trump’s preferred opponent is Bernie, as the GOP reckons he’d be the easiest to defeat. Which also probably explains why Fox news has recently been defending Bernie. Hint to democrats, picking the candidate who your opponents prefer isn’t the most sensible election strategy.
And even if by some miracle he could get elected he’s got zero chance of getting any of his flagship policies implemented. Like Corbyn, its not so much the message but the messenger that’s the problem, he’s too divisive (if he can’t get Elizabeth Warren to support him, what chance does he have of stopping Rand Paul from just filibustering everything for four years?). Bernie in his decades long time in office has only ever sponsored a single bill that became law, largely because of his inability to form alliances or compromise.
Take for example his idea of breaking up the big banks. No way congress will vote for that, there will be opposition every step of the way and the banks themselves will sue the pants off him for even trying. Consider that the US government v’s Microsoft case went on for about a decade and didn’t really go anywhere. He’s talking about taking on an entire industry with very deep pockets (plus a supreme court that is massively tilted to the right) and all the time in the world to run down the clock on his presidency.
And furthermore, as I’ve pointed out before, small banks are less stable than big banks. The financial crisis was a failure of regulation. The size of the banks is a separate issue. Just google the term “panic of” or “crash of” and see how many hits you get for past financial crises that often started in small financial institutions which then snowballed (as they didn’t have the cash reserves to survive and failed, creating a domino effect).
And, as the savings and loan crisis in the 80’s showed, governments can be drawn into bailing out networks of small banks. So he’d be making a future bailout more likely not less likely. This is the problem with Bernie, spent a few minutes critically analysing his policies and they are revealed to be about as dumb as saying Mexico will pay for the wall (when in fact Mexicans are stealing the wall!).
Does this mean I support Joe Biden? No! I’d also question the logic that he’d beat Trump (it would at least be a tighter race, could go either way, and the democrats would stand a better chance of being able to defend their control of the house). The problem for the democrats is that they’ve basically rummaged in the drawer and pulled out the same manifesto Hilary ran on. Of course the problem with Bernie is he’s running on Mondale’s manifesto from the 80’s (who lost to Reagan by a landslide)….along with some other ideas Bernie cooked up while smoking dope at Woodstock. Neither tactic is likely to succeed.
To my mind, if the democrats are serious about winning then they need a unity candidate. Someone who isn’t going to dance to wall street’s tune, but equally isn’t going to get accused of trying to turn the country into Venezuela. I’d also argue that the candidate shouldn’t be a mainstream politician (any long serving member of congress the GOP can label as “one of the elites”). Bernie himself has argued as much, but fails to consider the same also applies to him.
As for policies, American politics is broken. So rather than a wish list of every populist policy Bernie supporters like (but which have zero chance of ever becoming law), instead how about a manifesto intended to fix this broken system. In other words, proportional representation, a revised constitution (separating out the powers or president and prime minster), more powers to individual states, a depoliticised supreme court, a temporary freeze on any further trade deals and some sort of relief fund to the rust belt states.
All of that would pretty much take the wind out of Trump’s sails. And while Bernie supporters might not get want they want immediately, it would set things up such that they could do so later on (notably by giving more powers to the states means that many left leaning states can start to implement such policies internally).
But I fear that instead tribalism will take over. Much how Corbyn devoted most of labour’s resources into campaigning against the lib dems, the democrats will knock chucks out of each other, then fail to unite behind a candidate and lose the election. Yes, I’d dearly love to see the look on Tucker Carlson’s face if Bernie won (and he realises he’d help out), but its a fantasy, it ain’t going to happen. The priority for the democrats has to be to defeat Trump by any means necessary and then prevent another Trump from ever happening again. Replacing him with the Trump of the left isn’t progress.