On October 27, 2015, I wrote these words on Facebook:
If I were younger I would be all over this movement Bernie Sanders is initiating. He is not really running for President, he is trying to do much more. It’s all about changing the way things are. If you are under 30, or perhaps even 40, that should appeal to you.
All the other politicians are doing nothing more than complaining about the “other side” or promising to do the same thing only better. Their goal is to get control of the current system.
Sanders comes along and tells us the whole system needs to be replaced – a revolution. If you are a young person and you’re not interested in something like that then something is wrong with you.
I’m not saying you must agree with Sanders on the basic issues, but surely you can see the need for serious change, not just new nameplates on existing desks.
I wrote these words three months before the first primary vote had been cast, before Sanders became a concern for Democratic Party leaders, and certainly before most people had even thought about their vote for the next President.
I’m not claiming to be clairvoyant or even a political expert. There was simply something about Sander’s message that dragged me back to the late 1960’s and early 70’s when my political identity was shaped by war protests, anti-government movements, civil rights demonstrations, and political assassinations.
The premise of Sander’s campaign is that the system is broken and needs to be replaced. All of the rhetoric about health care, tuition-free college, breaking up the banks, etc. simply provides examples of how the system should work. He has pointed out that most (and I mean nearly all) countries with advanced economies reflect these qualities that Americans think are unattainable. Within our current political climate they are unattainable.So, Sanders came along with the message that the system is broken.
By the way, another candidate for President has proclaimed this same message–Donald Trump. Although their plans and priorities are worlds apart, the basic premise of both Sanders and Trump is that the current political system is broken and needs to be fixed.
There are many similarities between Trump and Sanders:
Both say the system is broken…
- Trump because it doesn’t protect us,
- Sanders because it doesn’t provide for us.
Both understand the problem with politicians being bought…
- Trump because he has purchased many himself,
- Sanders because he refuses to sell himself.
Both want to change the current political system…
- Trump by bringing in outsiders,
- Sanders by removing wealthy influencers.
Both appeal to the powerless…
- Trump to those who are afraid,
- Sanders to those who are underserved.
What is interesting, Trump’s revolution has resonated with enough Republicans that they got on board. At least the rank and file; the leadership is joining Trump at a much slower pace, but at this point it doesn’t really matter if they do or not. Those who refuse to join Trump simply relegate themselves to being irrelevant to the Republican masses.
Up to this point, Sanders has only garnered the attention of about half the Democrats. If Sanders had Trump’s personality, bluster, and celebrity he would have taken over the Democratic Party a long time ago. However, he has had to do it with nothing more than a powerful message.
So, here we stand, within a matter of weeks until the Democratic Convention gathers to officially proclaim their candidate, and the Democratic Party is in trouble. It is most likely they will stay the course, nominate Hillary Clinton, and go down in flaming defeat in November. These are the reasons I believe Trump will prevail against Clinton:
- Trump will chew her up and spit her out like he did with all the Republican challengers. For example, look what he did to Jeb Bush. Bush did not have any skeletons in his closet, had all the money he would ever need, had the backing of most of the party powerful, and an unprecedented legacy. Yet, he was toast on the campaign trail the second Trump went after him. Imagine what he will do to Hillary with her history of scandal. His attacks will be relentless. It doesn’t matter if they are true are not; they will resonate with a voting public that is already somewhat distrustful of her. It will be ugly.
- Hillary has nothing new to offer to a rapidly increasing group of voters in both parties who are tired of the status quo. She has tried to defeat Sanders by clinging to the current administration’s policies. In doing so, she fails to realize that people are demanding a significant change in the system, not some vague hope that we keep incrementally moving in the right direction. Voters want a tsunami and she promises a shallow ripple.
- Hillary will need a sizable percentage of Sanders’ voters in order to win the general election. However, Sanders’ voters see her as representative of a corrupt system. She either refuses to admit that, or fails to hear them. Her refusal to release the transcripts of her speeches leaves only one conclusion possible—she is hiding something that implicates she is part of the corrupt system.
- Polls show that Hillary loses ground to Trump on a weekly basis. Democratic strategists claim that will change once Sanders gets out of the way, but that seems to be wishful thinking—the same kind of thinking that told Republicans Trump would be easy to defeat once the debates started, or once the discussion turned to policy, or once the field was narrowed to two candidates.
It seems inevitable at this point that Clinton will win the Democratic Party nomination. However, the party needs to wake up and realize what that will mean for its future. The climate is right to seize the power of disgruntled voters, use the passion Sanders’ has unleashed to influence voters in Senate and House elections, and become the leader in changing a corrupt system.
However, just like Republican leaders tried to do, Democratic leaders are desperately holding on to power. Sanders did not have the meanness or the charisma to deal Hillary a fatal blow like Trump did his primary opponents, so the Democratic establishment has been able to bully him aside, but just barely.
Now they have a choice to make. Democratic leadership can hang on to their power like passengers clutching a Titanic life vest, or they can use their Super Delegates to nominate Sanders, harness his voters, and ride their passion into battle against the equally passionate supporters of Donald Trump. I suspect that is the only chance they have of keeping him out of the White House.