My dear departed high school English teacher, Mrs. Clarice Foster, taught us to make concessions early if inconvenient facts got in the way of our arguments. Say, for example, I chose pragmatism over ideology in determining whom to support for the Democratic nomination. In that case, Mrs. Foster would have me admit right away that Hillary and Bill Clinton have accumulated “some baggage” in their quarter century of public life, though she would probably frown if I quantified that baggage as “a boxcar full.”
There’s “Clinton fatigue,” for example, the “been-there-done-that factor,” a definite negative in an ADHD nation brought up on quick cut editing.
Fire-breathing lefties also wag chiding fingers at Mrs. Clinton for having forged positive relationships with some denizens of Wall Street and for getting rich (god forbid).
More problematic, for me personally, is her tendency on occasion to reverse stances on issues for expediency’s sake.
Need we add that “vaulting ambition,” the phrase Milton uses in to describe Satan in Paradise Lost, might also apply to Hillary?
Not to mention her occasionally awkward public presentation, her unease on the stump, what some have called her “unlikability.” Indeed, some have depicted her as the female equivalent of the Prince of Darkness.
Enter that septuagenarian Galahad, Bernie Sanders, who unlike Hillary, was for gay marriage before she, Bill, and Barack Obama, and except for his recent flip flop on gun control, has been remarkably consistent over the years with his insistent socialist message.
More than any other candidate, Bernie cares about the widening discrepancy in the distribution of our country’s wealth and understands how oligarchy rends the fabric of national cohesion.
Nor has he spent his years in office accumulating riches – his net worth is reported to be a paltry (by politicians’ standards) 700K.
Given these choices, why would I choose to support the seemingly more flawed Hillary over the seemingly purer Bernie?
- If in the unlikely event he were to defeat the Republican nominee, Sanders would have absolutely no chance of getting his agenda passed in Congress.
- More troubling, he seems clueless when it comes to foreign affairs. Just today he suggested we immediately normalize relations with Iran, a leading sponsor of terrorism.
- He’ll be pushing 80 at the end of his first term (cf. your aged relatives).
- But most of all, I don’t want Ted Cruz (or John Kasich, for that matter) nominating the next three Supreme Court Justices. No matter what unreliable nationwide polls say about hypothetical match-ups, Bernie Sanders’ nationwide appeal is limited essentially to white liberals. Trust me, people who aren’t paying attention yet – in other words, a majority of the electorate – aren’t going to fall in love with, much less vote for, an irascible ideologue with unruly hair who is branded as a socialist ad nauseum in negative Republican ads, especially if fear of terrorism is a major campaign issue.
I’ve seen this movie before. It starred Edmund Muskie, George McGovern, and ended very badly.
Anyone who claims that there’s no difference between Hillary and the Republicans needs to take a remedial reading course. As a matter of fact, Hillary and Bernie share strikingly similar positions on issues. Unlike every single Republican candidate, they both believe in human acerbated climate change, higher taxes for the wealthy, abortion rights, free community college, diplomatic engagement as opposed to war, etc.
In addition, they both see government as a positive force rather than an anathema. The disheartening news is that neither is going to be able to get legislation through a Congress in which Republicans control both houses. So the contest between them boils down to a choice between someone less liberal and Machiavellian but deeply schooled in international relations to one who is more liberal and principled but seemingly clueless when it comes to foreign affairs.
Unfortunately, I sense a sort of bandwagon effect going on with Bernie among younger voters who are starting to vilify Hillary in Facebook posts. I witnessed the same sort of vibe with McGovern back in the day, i.e., being for McGovern was cool, and that if you weren’t, you would be banished to Squaresville by your hippie peers.
Immune to Bernie’s charisma, I opt for pragmatism over cult of personality when the bottom line tells me that a Sanders presidency means no meaningful implementation of his agenda. His purview is narrow, almost exclusively domestic, so I don’t trust him as a vigorous analytical surveyor of the incredibly complicated issues of international diplomacy. But most importantly, his chances of actually garnering 270 electoral votes are nil.
Even if he were elected, Bernie Sanders was born before the attack on Pearl Harbor — imagine the equivalent of a Pearl-Harbor cyber attack, some North Korean master sabotage of our collective computer systems.
Whom would you rather see in charge, Bernie or Hillary?
The stakes are Himalayan in this election: No matter what happens in the presidential contest, Republicans will continue to control both houses of Congress, and with a Republican president and a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, no telling what might be in store – gigantic tax cuts for the very richest, the privatization of Medicare, an escalation of everything Bernie Sanders detests.
Cast a colder eye, millennials.
 Which, by the way, is 600k more than his Marco Rubio’s. Hmmm.
 Although Sanders promises to break up the “big banks” via executive action, this claim has been met with doubt from both the right and left. Here’s Matthew’s Yglesias’s take.
 Imagine the negative Republican commercials.
 By the way, I nailed the electoral vote counts in a prediction on September 14th before the last election, so I do possess a smidgen of credibility here.
 Though nowadays, the Republican Party has moved so far rightward that “mainstream’ Jeb Bush makes Nixon look like Leon Trotsky in comparison.