Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hillary Feels The Bern

Bernie Sanders would normally be THE political story of Summer 2015, were it not for the Circus Freak Show residing under Donald Trump's combover.

I honestly don't know what to make of Sanders as a candidate.  As more economically liberal, I'm generally supportive of his platform; I love that he's articulating ideas that need more oxygen in American politics.

Yay for Bernie!

But I remain unconvinced that he can win a general election against a competent Republican candidate.  I'm not sure the Republicans HAVE a competent candidate, but one shouldn't leave these things to chance.

Jonathan Allen notes that Hillary is preemptively moving to the center, because her attempts to neutralize Warren and Sanders hasn't worked.  If you like the Warren-Sanders economic plan, you're not going to support Sanders-Lite (as Allen phrases it).  And, most importantly, Clinton is a moderate.

Of course, there are no such things as "moderates."  Typically, we give the name "moderate" to people who hold varying ideological positions and therefore do not fit easily into a Left/Right dichotomy.  Clinton is probably closer to the Sanders economically than many would assume, but she is more hawkish and more likely to embrace trade deals.  Maybe those are deal breakers in the 2016 Democratic primary.

But Clinton suffers from the fact that she is the first credible female presidential candidate, AND she represents a form of political dynasty.  Clinton has spent her adult life in the political blender.  She is very careful about the whirling blades beneath her. Too careful, perhaps.

But whereas Trump's outlandish statements - that would ordinarily be campaign-killing gaffes - actually improve his poll standings, any Clinton mistake is mulled over like an obscure Talmudic passage.  And there is a presumption of dishonesty in Clinton that really looks more like a surfeit of caution to me.  A lot of this comes from an unusual hostile relationship between the Press and Clinton.

Being more authentically moderate is a fascinating tack for Clinton to take.  I think she will lose New Hampshire, so she really needs to win Iowa, because I think she will clean up in more racially heterogeneous states, including South Carolina.

But it is not impossible for Bernie Sanders to win the nomination.  And up until recently, I assumed that it was.

This is a weird election and not a single ballot has even been cast yet.

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