Tumpocalypse – President Sanders

He’s an independent Senator from Vermont who identifies as a socialist, and who decided to run for the presidency as a Democrat. He made great strides, promising social justice, stronger welfare benefits, free college, single-payer healthcare, and many other things that appealed quite aggressively to those on the left, and to no small number of centrists and those on the right. And had he been the choice of the Democratic party, he would now be our president elect.


Or so the theory goes.

In reality, Bernie Sanders never stood a chance. He lost in the primaries by about the same number of votes as the polls indicated he would. There were no surprises there, aside from in some areas where he did better than expected.

But even had he gotten the nomination, he would have been a far weaker candidate than Clinton. Why?

First, let’s get the two biggest issues out of the way: religion and politics. Sanders has Jewish heritage (in as much as a religion can be inherited, but we’ll skip that for now), and though he doesn’t appear to be a practicing Jew, he does appear to be an atheist.

Now tell me; do you honestly think that the large portion of Trump supporters that made up the “basket of delporables” would have been willing to vote for a Jew/atheist? Trump himself made comments toward the end of the campaign about “international bankers”, which is dog-whistle for “Jews run the world.” The right-wing religious supporter of the Republican party would have been equally unlikely to cross the aisle and vote for an atheist.

This is a very serious problem, and it would have been tough for the Sanders campaign to overcome. Had it been just this, then they possibly could have pulled it off. But there were other issues, too.

The politics issue basically boils down to one word: Communism. Sanders is a Western European-style socialist, and I am as well. We, and most of the people in this country, “get” what this style of socialism is, and how it’s very different from Communism.

Now consider the largely poor, largely rural, largely white electorate who voted for Trump. Do you really believe that they would have crossed over to vote for someone like Sanders after months and months of the Trump campaign talking about him as a Communist? Of course not, and a number of more mainstream Republicans would have had problems with it, too. Hell, even some moderates would have raised an eyebrow or two over his politics once it has an unhappy label.

Then we get to the scandals. What scandals, you might ask? Go ahead, ask. I’ll wait.

How about something he wrote in 1972 talking about women fantasizing about being raped by three men at once? Yep, he did that thing. Now in context it’s not that bad, and certainly less terrible and easier to excuse than Trump’s video comments, but it isn’t great, either.

Or what about his praise for Fidel Castro and the Sandinistas? That happened, too, in 1985, and it’s on video. Now he’s walked back those comments, and I’m ok with this all in context. But how do you think this would have been received by mainstream America? Picture those comments on loop in a commercial or news cycle and you tell me.

Ok, so these two things aren’t that big of a deal, you might think. But let me ask you this: given that I got these two things with a cursory Google search that took me a total of about two minutes to get together,  how many other scandals do you think are out there?

I  mean this was almost literally no effort to find. It was stupidly easy. Now put the national media (who didn’t bother really investigating Sanders), and the RNC machine onto the case, and just what do you think they’ll scrape up about him? In fact there are many other negative things out there that have already been looked into, but imagine how many more there might be lurking in the shadows.

Now does all this mean that Sanders would have definitely lost to Trump? No, but these things also make a victory against the man very uncertain. Sanders had and has considerable baggage that would have presented a severe problem, and pretending otherwise is just putting your head in the sand. He might have been able to overcome them, he might not have been. We’ll never know for sure, obviously, but given that he couldn’t even make it out of the primaries, I suspect the results in the general would not have been what the Bernouts would have wanted.


How to Regain My Respect

Bernie Sanders is doing it right now. He’s making a full-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and talking about how much more important it is to elect her than it is to allow Trump to win. It’s a good speech, and I’m glad he’s making it.

And I really, really hope that the Bern Outs I know are paying close attention, and will vote for Hillary in November. I know it sounds like a cliche at this point, but it really is true that a vote for anyone else amounts to a vote for Trump.

How Bernie Won

Bernie Sanders was quite defeated at the ballot boxes by Hillary Clinton. This wasn’t a big conspiracy, or anything like that; it’s just that most people who voted, voted for her. They didn’t vote for the guy who came in out of nowhere, with no history with the party, and said he was going to be the one in charge.

But Sanders did accomplish something good, and that’s moving the party a bit further left on certain issues. He forced Hillary to talk about issues, and take positions on those issues, that she’d probably rather not have had to address, so as to avoid alienating middle-of-the-road voters in November.

He also has had an effect on the party platform, a draft of which was just approved. This platform includes abolition of the death penalty, $15 an hour minimum wage (which is small thinking, but it’s a start),  expansion of Social Security, more oversight for law enforcement, and more oversight of Wall Street, among other things.

Now this isn’t to say that, absent Sanders, these items wouldn’t be on the platform anyhow. They probably would, though in a reduced form. Say, a $12 minimum wage rather than $15 (though given that just a few years ago, $10.10 seemed pie-in-the-sky, this is great progress). So I think we can agree that Sanders probably had an influence.

And that pleases me. I’ve always respected the guy (though less so as the primaries went on), and I’m glad to see him helping to shape the party’s direction for the next twenty years.


To win is to lose, and to lose is to win!

Of course, to move us along that path, we do rather need Hillary to win in November, so please, please, don’t forget to vote!

Me and Bernie

Bernie Sanders (I, but really, DS, just like me, VT), is running for president, as you may have heard. He’s an interesting guy, and has many stances I agree with wholeheartedly.


In many ways, he’s the idea candidate, and would make a fantastic president! Seriously, it would be amazing to see him in the White House, with a solid Democratic majority in the House and Senate. The kind of lasting, positive change that could be created boggles the mind.

Here’s the problem: Bernie Sanders is almost 100% un-electable outside of Vermont. Having him as the Democratic party nomination would almost guarantee that we’d lose the general election. That’s assuming he can even get the nomination, which he can’t.

See, much as I like Sanders, I know he’d almost certain fail in the general election. Americans have a history of electing moderates. Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush (the first), Clinton, Obama, and many others were fairly middle of the road. The only times they’ve elected people who were to the extreme right (Reagan, Bush II), were when they thought they were electing moderates and got something very different. The only times they’ve elected someone on the extreme left…well, really, it’s only happened with Franklin Roosevelt, and then the country had about 33% unemployment and we were on the brink of an armed revolution.

Bernie Sanders is a proud socialist (which makes me wonder why he isn’t running for the Socialist party nomination, but never mind). Americans have no interest in electing a socialist, which says nothing good about our country, but that’s a different discussion. The public, who in general favor most of his position, would never vote for him because they think he’s too far to the left.

Now we do have to take a moment to explore that bizarre phenomenon. Most Americans are likely in favor of pretty much everything on that list up there. Most Americans agree that those are good things and should be done. Most Americans would also say that they’re centrists and wouldn’t vote for someone like Sanders. It’s a strange and unhealthy disconnect that we have.

But that’s even assuming Bernie could get to the general election as a Democrat. He can’t. He doesn’t have any of the money or endorsements that Clinton (who has earned all of her current status), has. That might sound like a minor thing, but it isn’t. It gives her a huge advantage heading into the primaries. It’s one of the major reasons that Joe Biden likely won’t run.

The poll numbers really tell the story. Much as the Sanders crowd likes to crow about how well Bernie is doing in the polls, the fact is that he’s severely behind Clinton at the national level. Just look at these numbers here. Polling not too far behind him is Biden.

So let’s consider. At the moment, Clinton has roughly 40% of the voters to Sanders’ 25.8%, with Biden at 20%. Once BIden officially says he isn’t running, which I believe will happen in the next few days, where do you think his supporters, who are establishment Democrats, are going to go? Will they throw their support in with Sanders? No. They’ll go to Hillary, and she’ll poll up around 55% with Sanders gaining maybe slightly to get to 30%. That does not a nomination get. That’s not even going to into things like his problems with any voters who aren’t white and middle class.

Now it’s not impossible that Sanders could get the nomination. If Biden announces that he’s not going to run and Clinton gets indicted for the email scandal (not gonna happen), then yes, Bernie might get the nomination. Maybe. More likely we’d see a surge in support for Webb or O’Malley. Sorry, Chaffee, but people raise an eyebrow at your Republican past.

It’s also not impossible that he could win the general election. If the Republicans somehow nominated Trump, or some right-wing lunatic like Cruz, then, yes, he’d likely stand a very good chance of winning. But that wouldn’t be because people support him; it would be because they’d be voting against the others.

Can you imagine, too, what a Sanders presidency would be like? You think it’s been bad with Obama, just wait until someone who actually is a socialist gets into office. The Tea Party would go insane, and the Republican-controlled Congress would stymie every single thing he tries to pass. Maybe he could get lucky with a Democrat sweep in the 2018 mid-terms, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Lastly, let’s take a moment to remember Howard Dean, and others like him who seemed like great candidates and appeared to be doing very well. These darlings of the left were fun and entertaining and utterly failed in the primaries. History is not on Sanders’ side.

Now all this said…I’m happy he’s running. He’s getting people interested in the election, and that’s good. He’s also forcing Hillary to track to the left, at least a bit. That’s also good! Further, it’s helping Hillary to be more prepared for the general election, and that’s no bad thing.

So support Sanders if you must. Be happy that he’s running. But make no mistake: it’s not going to happen, and hopefully he’ll be smart enough to drop out of the primaries early, support Clinton, and get her into the White House. If he then were to become Secretary of Labor, I’d be one happy camper indeed.

How to Be Ignored

Here’s a simple lesson in how to be ignored.

So this lady lost her audience (a group of liberal socialist-leaning Democrats), about eight seconds into the video. She never regained them. They ignored her message. Why did this happen?

First off, she hijacked the mic at an event where someone else was going to be speaking. That’s fairly rude, and a guarantee that people will focus more on your methods than your message.

Second, she started out her position in an area that’s pretty much going to be a no-go forever. Yes, the land that everything in the Americas stands on was stolen from the Indians. You know what else? The land the British occupy was stolen from whomever was there before the Celts by the Celts, stolen from the Celts by the Romans, stolen from the Romans by the Angles and Saxons, stolen from them by the Danes, and stolen from them by the Normans. The Italian peninsula was stolen from the Etruscans by the Romans, and then stolen from them by the Huns, and from them by…well, so many different groups…

The point here is that all land is stolen from someone else at some point in time. There is no fix for this. We should stop doing it, and largely have, but there’s no way all white people in the USA are suddenly going to decamp for Europe and return the land to the Indians. It won’t happen. Bringing it up in a situation like this is pointless.

Next, telling your largely white, very liberal audience how racist their city is, and how terrible gentrification is (I’ve never understood why), isn’t really going to win you any points from them. Sure, you can talk about systemic racism and generational poverty, but pointing at the only people who are a: likely to be sympathetic to your cause, and b: are in a position to do something about it, and telling them that they’re the problem…yeah, that’s just not going to fly.

Lastly…ugh. All she does as she stands up there is give ammunition to our enemies. The Fox News crowd likely ate this up, and many moderates and liberals, myself included, were rolling their eyes so hard you could have hooked a generator to them and used them to power the west coast. She comes off as a shrill, liberal stereotype, and that doesn’t benefit anyone.

What should she have done to get her message across? Moderate it quite a bit, and then get permission from the organizers of the event to let her talk. She still might have been ignored, but having a small number of people focus on your message, while the rest ignore you, is far, far preferable to having basically everyone ignore you and focus on your methods.