A Sanders’ nomination means a Trump landslide
Bernie Sanders is so far out of step with the majority of Americans, his nomination will ensure a second term for Donald Trump. Who says so? A January 2020 poll. When added together, Americans calling themselves “conservative” or “moderate” outnumber those who call themselves “liberal” by three to one. There’s no question in my mind that Sanders’ nomination will be political suicide
There’s a strong movement among Democratic party members who believe that a purer candidate, namely Bernie Sanders, can rally enough votes into a righteous uprising that would unsettle conventional laws of politics and win enough Electoral College votes to defeat Donald Trump in November. Many other Democrats, including me, point, instead, to the past examples of Barry Goldwater and George McGovern as similar, misguided attempts that led their respective parties over the cliff to crushing one-sided defeats.
Donald Trump’s own personal first choice to oppose him in the upcoming presidential election is Bernie Sanders. Trump’s campaign is actively promoting him. Consistent reporting indicates that Trump’s scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners campaign managers are salivating at the prospect of a Trump-Sanders match-up. Let’s put it this way: Trump certainly would not have risked impeachment to eliminate Sanders from the race as he did with Biden.
Based on their opposition research, Republicans will take off the gloves and hammer Sanders during the general election campaign with damaging information now largely unknown, even to most Democrats. As Brendan Nyhan recently wrote in his Washington Post column, where he lays out skeletons in Sanders’ political and personal closets: “It is better for Democrats to learn more about Sanders now rather than when the whole country finds out this fall.” Then it’ll be too late.
Democrats aren’t eager to criticize Sanders. They know that he, like all other Democratic nominees, is not an existential threat to our democracy, our constitution or our national security. In their view, Trump is. But Sanders has an albatross around his neck: his current policy proposals and his past controversial, ideological, off-the-wall statements and positions. Republicans will seize on them and make Sanders the “Socialist” bogeyman of the general campaign.
So, if Sanders becomes the Party’s standard-bearer, Democrats will be forced to go on the defensive, spending valuable time battling against what will become the Republican mantra and hyperbolic label, “Bernie is a Socialist,” and they’ll exert further efforts to relate that term to “Communist.” While many economic models contain socialist programs in varying degrees, they range from a “mixed economy” model like ours, which simply includes governmental support like Social Security and Medicare for the middle class and others who are not well off, to what’s used in Venezuela, to the extreme in North Korea. Sanders brands himself as a “democratic socialist”, but in his past he’s also said nice things about Castro’s revolution, Russia, and Trotsky’s Socialist Workers’ Party. Do Democrats really want to spend the whole campaign trying to explain what Sanders actually means by the term “democratic socialism”?
Many voters object to what they consider to be his cavalier attitude toward fiscal responsibility. Most especially, they reject his Medicare plan for all that forces employees off their employer-based health insurance, proposals to increase taxes on the middle class, plus forgiveness of all college debt. Economists are aghast at these, which don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming law, even with Democratic majorities in House and Senate. A majority of the general electorate rejects many of his proposals as over-reaching government intrusions. Republicans will argue that electing Senator Sanders with his unrealistic spending plans would be like giving a “no-limit” credit card to someone suffering from credit card addiction, even if Sanders’ platform stands no chance of being enacted.
Sanders indeed has a good chance of winning the Democratic nomination for President. if he were to be nominated, I would reluctantly vote for Sanders. U Unlike Trump, Sanders is not an existential threat to our Constitutional Republic. With Sanders, we would retain the Constitution’s guarantee of separation of powers, checks and balances, the rule of law, and a non-imperial presidency.
Most importantly, I would vote for Sanders over Trump because Sanders can be trusted to do what Trump has already abysmally failed to do: uphold his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Our Founding Fathers fought for and bequeathed to us a Republic which they challenged us, our children and grandchildren to keep in perpetuity. With the acquittal decision in the Senate, Trump is now free, to continue destroying our Constitution with absolute impunity. It is for all of us alive today to make sure that does not happen.
Tim Mannello is a retire healthcare executive and business consultant residing in Williamsport.