Commentary: President Bernie Sanders? Don’t Bet Against Him
Don’t be shocked if Bernie Sanders is the next President of the United States. Saying it could happen isn’t an endorsement. It’s a prediction based on the man raising 25 million dollars from 650-thousand individual contributors. Last week I suggested the money could only come from Wall Street in such a large amount. It’s where Hillary, Jeb and Marco shop and trade influence for the dream of living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Something else is seriously going on with Sanders’ campaign. I equate him to Ralph Nader when it comes to politics. Nader never saw that kind of money. This is a clear indication there is something afoot on the American left like we’ve probably never seen before. This morning I spoke on my humble radio program about the Bernie Phenomenon. You can hear the short segment here.
The self-described socialist and Senator from Vermont has a couple of other things going his way. He may not be charismatic but compared to Nader the guy from the Green Mountain State is electric. Sanders has a grandfatherly look and this is where he really becomes an electoral threat to the American right. He comes across as a nice guy and incredibly honest. I’m a former constituent. Bernie was briefly my Representative in the House 15-years-ago. Even in rural Vermont the old Yankee Republicans found him personable. Compare him to Clinton and he looks like a Boy Scout. And he clearly appears to be enjoying himself, which I didn’t expect.
Over on the Republican side Ben Carson is a similar personality. I’ve heard lefties complain about his policies but they really find him a calming influence when he speaks. These are men who would be pleasant neighbors. Both are nipping at the heels of the leaders in their respective parties. I’ve been sitting around since I first voted as an 18-year-old in 1980 looking for someone to break the old political mold. I’m a conservative but didn’t vote for Reagan in my first election. I selected Ed Clark with my first Presidential ballot. Clark was a Libertarian Party candidate. At Thanksgiving dinner I was pleasantly surprised to find my Uncle Paul made the same choice. Paul Gordon and I were both registered Democrats at the time but not liberals. We wanted some serious change. Thirty-five-years-later and the longing only grows as the country looks ever more like its best days were before the 1980s.
The Weekly Standard’s jay Cost was on loan to the Wall Street Journal this weekend. He’s ruminating at this link about the fraying of American political bonds. The economy flounders for a decade-and-a-half and what better explains the public’s search for something new. In 1860 the Whig Party had collapsed and Lincoln and his young Republican Party took the White House in a 4-way contest. The Republicans controlled the population centers in New England and the Great Lakes. Not so much anymore!
The same weekend I read Cost at the Wall Street Journal I came across a book review at the New York Post. Columnist Michael Goodwin’s thoughts on a new entry titled “Shattered Consensus” can be found here. This isn’t the first book detailing the American split or splits but the author draws on some compelling arguments a revolution is brewing. America’s fourth great change and in that argument the story is very similar to the Fourth Turning, a popular book from the late 1990s. The author reviewed by Goodwin outlines the Revolutionary War was followed 80 years later by another bloody revolution, presided over by Lincoln. For the most part Revolution #3 was non-violent. The New Deal accompanied some union/management brawls in Detroit but otherwise there weren’t any armies in the field.
After finishing my show this morning I heard Rush Limbaugh mention the same book. He must have received an advance copy. My local library told me when I called it would be ordered. Because if I was interested in reading it then other people would follow! Ah, big fish, small pond.
This is why I think a Carson/Sanders battle isn’t out of the question. One represents a longing for a past polite and Christian culture. The other longs for a society where he believes we can better spread wealth and benefits.
Into this will smaller parties step forward and offer alternatives? Maybe Wall Street will create a new party or commandeer a small one and install Jeb Bush as the nominee. It would take such a large presence in the background. The reason people like Sanders and Carson challenge on the major ballot line is because the other parties are generally inept. Eleven years ago an acquaintance was running for the Libertarian nod for President. Gary Nolan was a syndicated radio talk show host. At the convention the party adopted instead an unknown. My state’s Libertarian Chair explained the other guy made a great speech and had great ideas. None of which you heard because unlike Gary he didn’t have a network of radio hosts and friends who would book him on-air to share the great ideas. No money and no media equals no message.
2016 may be the last two-party contest in a very long time. On the other hand it’s possibly going to be like no other two-party contest we’ve seen before.