It’s quite possible that conservatives will soon owe Bernie Sanders a huge apology.
And when future political historians study the 2016 election, Sanders’ campaign may well be regarded as one of the smartest ever in decades.
A few weeks ago, during the Democrat debate, when Sanders ducked the opportunity to criticize Clinton about the ever growing email scandal, saying that he was tired of hearing about it, and that he “didn’t give a damn about her emails,” Republicans and conservatives alike scoffed at the self-proclaimed Democratic socialist,” saying that in giving her a pass, he obviously wasn’t really trying to win. Hillary applauded Bernie, thanked him, Democrats smiled. But the GOP professional political class, where attacks, and attack ads are viewed as the only way to win, were aghast. For these operatives, “Kinder and Gentler” doesn’t do it. After all, as one wag noted long ago, “politics ain’t beanbag.”
Back when Bernie first got the idea in his head to run for President, he focused on three obvious facts:
1. His was a long shot candidacy at the start.
2. He was NEVER going to run a third party candidacy. Though technically an Independent, it was the Democrat nomination or bust for Bernie.
3. Therefore, he can’t win the general election without first winning the nomination.
The last seems glaringly obvious; but remember, for over a year previously, Hillary had been proceeding as though she nomination was already hers. The coronation was over. She was running, or attempting to do so, a general election campaign from the get-go.
The latest polls show Bernie and Hillary in dead heats in both Iowa and New Hampshire. NH isn’t that much of a surprise. The state’s Democrats are mostly from the looney-tunes left wing of the party, and Bernie enjoys an adjacent state favorite son cachet.
Hillary has three major problems this campaign cycle:
1. Her overall unfavorability. It’s huge, and it’s baked in. It’s not going to change. Therefore, Bernie can ignore it. It’s already working to his advantage.
2. Her email scandal. It’s growing daily, and exponentially in scope, and even the MSM is starting to wake up and take notice. So Bernie can thus afford to appear magnaminous, and ignore it. Trump, the media, the Benghazi committee, and all the GOP candidates are raising the issue for him; doing his dirty work as it were. He appears to stay above the fray, and gets kudos from the Democrat base.
3. Bill’s sexual history. My, my..how times have changed. Where decades ago, Dems could demean Clinton’s many accusers as bimbos, and viciously smear them; that doesn’t work any more. Why, even Bill’s wife just famously, and rather stupidly said, that “any woman who makes a claim of sexual harassment or sexual abuse automatically deserves to be believed.” And then of course, there’s the unfolding parallel narrative of “the other BC,”..Bill Cosby.
Bernie’s handled this exceptionally well. Given the feminist penetration of the Democrat party, he correctly labels Bill’s behavior as “totally disgraceful and unacceptable.” That’s the perfect tone. Heck, liberals, the MSM, and feminists are saying a whole lot worse about Slick. Yet at the same time he brilliantly gives Hillary a pass, saying that “he’s not running against Bill.” The Democrat base laps it up. Bernie’s a good guy, he’s playing nice.
One can even comprehend, if not admire, his total, abject, craven surrender to the Black Lives Now movement, when they took over the podium at one of his rallies. We sneered at his failure to confront them. However, Bernie recognized early on that he needed to gain the support of blacks; the key demographic constituency of the Democrat party. So why risk antagonizing any of them. But of far greater importance to Bernie: they’ve completely left him alone since then. Pretty much ignored him. No demonstrations, no interruptions. So for Sanders, it’s all good. It’s a big win.
Hillary still leads in the national polls. But so what. They’re meaningless now, even if they are accurate.
Look, Bernie will win in NH, and probably in Iowa, or come very, very close. That’ll be the big story for a while. Meantime, Hillary’s email troubles worsen. If, as expected the FBI recommends indicting her, then it’s a whole new ball game. Even if AG Lynch sits on it, every word of the FBI investigation, all the details, will leak, and her campaign will be frozen.
Bernie can then just step back, refrain from commenting, and watch her completely implode. And to Democrat voters, his hands will be completely clean; untainted by any negative attacks of Hillary on his part.
Yes, there are still unforeseen obstacles ahead…. a late entry by Biden, or Warren, or a Biden/Warren “dream team ticket” could easily derail Bernie with the Democrat establishment, who privately view him as a guaranteed loser in November.
But Bernie can easily deflect that. Launch a preemptive strike.Just imagine, if before any new campaigns gear up, he holds a presser and announces that he is today promising that if he is the nominee of the party, the first thing he will do is to ask Liz Warren to be is running mate. This might well come as news to Warren, but she’d be boxed in. The Dem base would all sing Kumbaya. She couldn’t refuse. And the party couldn’t “refuse” Bernie the nomination.
Bernie will then be 90% closer to his goal than he was some 6 months ago, and having done so without raising one ripple inside the Democrat party.
Past time to give the guy his due…