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

Monday, February 1, 2016

Have We Changed Enough?

Charlie Pierce notes the similarities between the Sanders campaign and the Jesse Jackson campaigns of the 1980s.  It's an interesting comparison about the relative importance of the Left within the Democratic Party.  Jackson failed to win the nomination, and the narrative is that his rhetoric further cemented the Democratic Party as a party that kowtows to minorities over the white working class.

Bill Clinton won by running against Jesse Jackson's Democratic Party (and by having Ross Perot in the race).  But the Obama Coalition is a coalition that depends on the same groups that Jackson appealed to.  The change in America allowed that coalition to win the White House.

The question in this bizarre election year is whether or not Sanders can win the White House against a populist like Donald Trump.  Can dueling populists cancel out each other's radical nature and appeal?

Can we trust Bernie Sanders to beat Donald Trump?

That's the critical question for Democratic voters.  Clinton will do what it takes to destroy Trump.  I have little doubt of that.  It will be a campaign that the NY Times described as "nasty, brutish and anything but short."  But I believe the combination of demographics and the odiousness of Trump's politics will insure that Clinton will emerge as the "safe" choice not only for Democratic constituencies but several Republican-leaning constituencies, too.

The worry that Sanders has to address is whether he is mean enough to go toe-to-toe with a guy like Trump.

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