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Bernie Sanders’ Last Hurrah?

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Bernie Sanders’ Last Hurrah?

Bernie Sanders’ Last Hurrah?
February 20
21:17 2019

Up until 2016, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was among the most obscure of obscure politicians. He was neither a Democrat or a Republican but a self-proclaimed socialist – and an avid one, at that. His Senate career was remarkable for its absence of accomplishment. His only escape from political exile was a “Friday with Bernie” appearance on the now defunct, uber-liberal Air America radio network.

Sanders’ entrance into the 2016 Democrat presidential primaries was initially viewed as something of a joke by the campaign of Hillary Clinton – the person programmed by the Party to be the first lady to be more than the First Lady in the White House. But the joke was on Hillary.

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Sanders parlayed his curmudgeon persona – and his everything for everybody platform — into a respectable candidacy. He tapped into the ever-present, but generally suppressed radical left subculture within the Democratic Party. He melded those voters with a lot of far-left folks who existed outside the Democrat base – those who are usually aligned with third parties. Sanders is partly the reason Jill Stein of the Green Party faired so badly.

Despite Sanders good showing in early primaries, he was doomed to defeat. The Democrat establishment had already picked their standard bearer, and no one was going to upset their plan. There is no doubt that Sanders was disserved by the supposedly neutral Democratic National Committee that put the thumb on the scale for Hillary in every way.

Sanders’ loyalists cling to the belief that had it not been for the unfair treatment and all those superdelegates that were handpicked to vote for Hillary, the Vermont Senator would have won the Democrat nomination. It is not likely that he would have but that is a debate for another time. Actually, it is a debate that is not worth having.

In 2020, America will again “Feel the Bern,” but times have changed, and Sanders has not.

His first mistake is believing that his socialist policies were the leading reason for his successes in 2016. He fails to recognize that he was up against arguably the most unpopular political figure in America. Hillary was the establishment’s choice – not the people’s choice. For God’s sake, Donald Trump, with all his baggage and personality flaws beat her in a race that was predicted to be a slam-dunk for Hillary even as the polls closed on Election Day.

Sanders’ has a second major obstacle in his path to the Oval Office. His success in creating a far-left constituency within the Democratic Party has resulted in a number of candidates standing on his platform. They are younger and more articulate. They embrace Sanders’ free education, minimum wage, Medicare for all, anti-corporate and class warfare positions. Most notable among them are Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, California Senator Kamala Harris and even the openly gay Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Peter Buttigieg. (Don’t go there.)

While it runs against the grain of political correctness, Sanders will be negatively impacted by his age. He kind of reminds me of the old man neighbor on the “Family Guy” cartoon show – speaking of looks not character. Sanders will be 79 years old on Inauguration Day 2021 – the oldest president ever elected to a first term. The younger generation that formed the backbone of Sanders’ support is already peeling off for charismatic Democrats like Beta O’Rourke and Cory Booker.

While the radical left makes the most noise and gets the best coverage from the liberal media, their numbers may not live up to the media attention they get. There is a real fear within the Democratic Party that a candidate too far to the left, such as Sanders, will doom the Party in the November 2021 election. That makes candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar more attractive to primary voters.

Finally, there is the question as to whether Sanders can repeat his rather remarkable fundraising capability and mobilize grassroots activists. The donations flowing to Sanders took the Democrat establishment – and most pundits – by surprise. He has piled up a record treasury following his announcement, but that may just be hyper enthusiasm by a smaller fan club.

In terms of a ground force, Sanders is calling on the recruitment of one million volunteers in every state. Wow! That would give him 50 million active SUPPORTERS across the nation. That has never been done – not even close. That would be an impressive total vote since every volunteer represents multiple voters. Trump and Clinton both got 60-plus million total votes with far fewer campaign volunteers. Sanders stated goal is a pipedream – and one wonders what he is smoking.

So, what are Sanders’ assets?

Sanders has experience in a national campaign and some semblance of political infrastructure. It may not be what it was in 2016, but it is more than his opponents have at this moment.

His most significant benefit is the size of the Democrat field. While Party leaders express pride in the large number of contenders, they know it is a problem – a huge problem. Whenever you have more than four or five candidates vying for the votes, there is a real possibility that a less popular candidate with a small, but solid, base can win primaries with a plurality of the votes.

That is precisely how Trump won the nomination. Sixty to 70 percent of early Republican primary voters were against Trump, but he built momentum by winning primaries with 30 to 40 percent of the total vote. Ponder that. Up to two-thirds of GOP voters wanted someone other than Trump and yet he prevailed. That is what happens when there is a large field.

There is a lot of road between now and the 2020 election, and it is impossible to make any predictions that will survive longer than a blooming tulip. So, in the crazy and unpredictable world of politics, it is conceivable that Sanders can win the Democrat nomination – but I think not.

So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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  1. Burton
    Burton February 21, 19:58

    “He fails to recognize that he was up against arguably the most unpopular political figure in America. Hillary was the establishment’s choice – not the people’s choice.”

    If that is the case, how was Hillary able to win the popular vote?

    Reply to this comment
    • BR549
      BR549 February 21, 22:37

      Hillary only won the popular vote if you count the ILLEGAL votes, and since those people had neither been vetted nor sworn an oath of allegiance to this country, their votes were INVALID. Voting is a right reserved for “citizens”, not anyone who hasn’t gone through the process.

      The Founding Fathers sought to control illegals through a sound immigration vetting policy, yet current day politicians have seen fit to squash the effectiveness of immigration reform strictly for political advantage.

      As long as people think that Hillary won fair and square, I might as well pull the same crap and vote 50,000 times in each state. Apparently, that seems to be from the new rule book.

      So, do you want to start this conversation over again?

      Reply to this comment
    • Jimknows
      Jimknows February 22, 17:38

      She garnered more votes than Trump, but with all the people who DIDN’T vote added in, not many really wanted her. She wasn’t worth showing up for.
      To imply that the majority of Americans wanted her is wrong. She wasn’t the people’s choice by any means, nor was Trump.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Biggold
    Biggold February 21, 19:59

    Gooooo! Bern! You can do it, just do it Quickly! Because you are Old and been living off the Tax Payers Dime for the last 60 Years!

    Reply to this comment
  3. TA1
    TA1 February 21, 20:49

    As usual, the “Dimwit” pundits completely miss the point of Bernie’s efforts. Not only are they NOT the failure they are portrayed here to be (he joins with DNC members to support legislation he feels in the interests of his support base if not the nation in general) and he is not in the habit of pointlessly-grandstanding to the media. He makes public statements when he has something substantial to say, including when he objects to behavior of other entities in federal or state government.

    Really the only reason I can think of, for “Dimwit” to unfairly claim him to a failure, is the same one that party-Democrats claim: both are desperate to preserve the two-party system (which has no legitimate function in the US Constitution, and was warned about by George Washington in his farewell speech).
    I do not support political parties, and plan to remain independent. That does mean, as in Bernie’s case, that we will be sort of shut-out of “party-oriented” political activities for good or ill.

    Reply to this comment
  4. FED UP
    FED UP February 22, 04:59


    Reply to this comment
  5. baggriff
    baggriff February 22, 17:31

    I am a long time Democrat and am tired of socialist who claim to be Democrats!! When they are not! Senator Bernie Sanders needs to leave the Democratic Party and join the Socialist Party where he belongs!!

    Reply to this comment

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