I cannot visualize Bernie Sanders as President of the United States, and I truly believe that a majority of American voters will feel as I do come election day. Bernie may have some good ideas and his goals have merit, but ideas and goals are not enough in and of themselves.
Many of those supporting Sanders are far to the left of the vast majority of those who will be casting votes next November. Whether we like it or not, the relatively small group of voters who will decide this election are in the political center or even slightly to the right of center and they are very suspicious of politicians they view as being too far to the right or to far to the left in their political views. These are not people given to extremes of any sort. Even the idea of a self identified socialist running for President will be a cause for concern for more than a few of them.
Then wait until the Republican PAC’s spend hundreds of millions of dollars taking out thousands of ads pointing out that as a young man Bernie Sanders adopted some of his political ideas after reading Marks, Lenin and Trotsky. Then they will advertise that Bernie honeymooned in the Soviet Union and displayed a Soviet flag in his office when he was mayor of Burlington. If that’s not enough they will then eveal that he traveled to Cuba and praised Fidel Castro and his communist government and that he traveled to Nicaragua to meet with Danial Ortega and praised his Sandinista government. While Sanders has explanations for all of these actions, the Republican hit machine will not publish those explanations.
The primary goal of any political party entering a national election is winning. All else has to take a back seat to that goal because the platforms and ideology of the party not in power will never see the light of day. The Republicans seem destined to nominate either a reality show star who has managed to insult every political group necessary to win the general election or a disruptive politician who is far too conservative to suit those who will decide which candidate will occupy the White House. The best hope of Trump or Cruz is for the Democrats to nominate someone who will disturb that critical faction of the American electorate as much as the most probable Republican candidates.
In addition, I fear for the future of the Democratic Party if Bernie Sanders were to win the nomination and the general election. As it has often been pointed out, the Republicans are certain to maintain their domination of the House and are likely to be able to prevent votes on any legislation in the Senate regardless of which party wins control of that body. (To over ride a threat of a filibuster in the Senate, 60 Senators are necessary bring a bill forward for a vote.) If Republican Congressmen currently view President Obama as the enemy, they would view Bernie, the socialist, as the Satan incarnate and make damn sure he accomplishes absolutely nothing.
Sanders is a crusty old politician not known for his stellar relations with his colleagues and he is certainly not one to compromise – his most ardent supporters view any compromise as a repudiation of their values. So does Bernie. Therefore Bernie’s best proposals would go absolutely nowhere. The American people are already sick and tired of a government which is not able to address the country’s problems. Not only would Sander’s term a President be wasted, the county’s anger with a highly dysfunctional government will reach a boiling point. Even his supporters would hold Sandars accountable for his many promises not kept. Bernie almost certainly would not be reelected and his tenure would probably pave the way for the next President to be a Republican.
In the real world of deeply partisan politics, having good ideas and convictions are not enough to be a successful politician on the national stage. A successful President must also be a superb politician, crafty enough to turn good ideas into reality despite formidable opposition using compromise as necessary. Compromise is the grease which allows the wheels of government to turn.
If you want an example of such a politician, think of Bill Clinton who is currently still the most popular former President of the modern era despite his sorted affairs. You may not agree with all of his positions, but no one can doubt Bill Clinton’s political skills.
With Bill providing strategy in background and perhaps acting as a liaison with Congress and around the world, I strongly believe that Hillary Clinton can be that kind of politician. On the other hand Bernie Sanders is not, and certainly will never be that kind of politician. The Democratic party and the country cannot afford for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination for President. If that were to happen we could easily have Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as our next President. Or, OMG!…. it could be Bernie Sanders.
Sorry, I’m just not feeling the Bern.