It’s become a cliché to say, “The world is on fire.”
But the reason so many people are saying it, these days, is because better words simply elude us all.
How else can you summarize the multiple global crises coupled with chaos at home?
Well, folks, I have some good news for America and the rest of the world.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the only admitted socialist in Congress, is flirting with a run for the presidency in 2016.
If he’s serious, it’s some of the best political news I’ve heard in a long time.
With even many Republicans wondering whether they are capable of winning presidential elections any more, this is the mother lode of good news. If only Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson and Michael Moore would all throw their hats in to the ring for third, fourth and fifth-party bids by “progressives” and left-wing ideologues, all the Democrats’ pandering will have been for naught.
The dark cloud within the Sanders’ silver lining is that he might just limit his presidential ambitions to a dark-horse bid to seek the Democratic Party nomination in what is likely to be a crowded field.
I say, “Run, Bernie, run!”
This is what Republicans need to ensure victory in 2016 – the fractionalization of the Democratic Party coalition.
It can happen very easily because of the way the Democrats have built their coalition.
They’ve done it by dividing Americans into groups – men, women, blacks, white, Latinos, “gays,” lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals, poor, rich, young, old, etc.
How easy would it be to crack up that coalition?
That’s why I am stunned by the fatalism I hear from Republicans about future presidential elections. You may not hear what I am hearing, because it’s not the kind of thing Republican operatives talk about on television. It’s what they talk about in hushed tones at cocktail parties in Georgetown.
Here is the way these conversations go:
Pessimistic Republican operative: “Look, we may just have to reconcile ourselves to not winning presidential elections in the future.”
Me: “Wait a minute, who is this invincible Democratic candidate running in 2016?”
Pessimistic Republican operative: Pause.
Me: “Let me help you here. Is it Hillary?”
Then this purveyor of what passes as Republican conventional wisdom realizes that Hillary is hardly a shoo-in. She’s a terrible campaigner. She’s never won an election in which there was real opposition. She lost her bid for the Democratic nomination in 2008 to an unknown freshman senator whose name rhymed with Osama.
Then I ask this Republican operative about possibilities other than Hillary: “Who else is waiting in the wings to replace Barack Obama?”
Again, they’re speechless – because the Democratic Party leadership bench is, in an understatement, very, very weak. The fact that they are even talking about Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the second-best news I’ve heard after the Bernie Sanders ruminations.
Who are these formidable Democratic candidates prepared to steamroll over any Republican nominee? I just don’t see it. Now, if the Republicans insist on nominating someone named Bush, Romney or Christie, I will admit, it will take a miracle for them to win the presidency. But at least Republicans have more than warm bodies considering a run in 2016.
I’ll leave you with one example of why I would love to see Bernie Sanders in that race.
In a recent interview, he explained what motivates him for a possible bid for the presidency: “You have in America more income and wealth inequality than any time in this country since 1928 and more than any major country in the world.”
Now let’s take his dubious assertion at face value and assume, for a moment, it is true. What happened after 1928? The Depression. So, on the one hand, Bernie Sanders is saying the good, old days were back in the time of Calvin Coolidge, a Republican.
What he’s saying is that 12 years of Franklin Roosevelt, eight years of Harry Truman, three years of John F. Kennedy, five years of Lyndon Johnson, four years of Jimmy Carter, eight years of Bill Clinton and soon-to-be-eight years of Barack Obama were enough to get us back to the good, old pre-Depression days.
But, he suggests, four to eight years of Bernie Sanders will do the trick.
I can’t wait.
Run, Bernie, run!
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