The latest polls, and the latest terrorist attack, make it appallingly clear that Donald Trump really can be elected president. Though many are still in denial about that, the sense that things are increasingly out of control and established elites can't be trusted to handle them plays right into Trump's longstanding media narrative.
Despite a solid month of Trump blunders, Hillary Clinton was unable to build a lead larger than mid-single digits. Now, even though cleared of criminal liability in her rather silly e-mail scandal, an FBI director scolding and attendant media hysteria has knocked her down into either a tie with Trump or a lead within the polling margin of error. (Ignore the Rasmussen polls, showing a sizable Trump lead, which are disinformation once again as they were with Obama's elections.)
As I've been saying for nearly a year, Trump's rise means this election can end up very badly for America. The election of an aggressive know-nothing neo-fascist chickenhawk bully boy should be unthinkable; Trump should have been at least 20 points behind by now.
Instead, the presidential election, and the Enlightenment ethic which drove the founding of the American republic, is teetering on the edge of an abyss.
If a few things that can go wrong do go wrong -- like an economic downturn, major jihadist terrorist attacks, geopolitical humiliation -- expect to see Duce Donald's gold-plated flying travesty replace Air Force One.
Bernie Sanders gave a full-throated endorsement to Hillary Clinton when the two appeared together this week in his New Hampshire stronghold.
Trump, after all, is finally getting more of a campaign together. And his family, led by daughter Ivanka, and a less sycophantic crew of advisors, led by a veteran hired gun for foreign dictators, are starting to rein in Trump's mad social media habit.
Hillary could make a good president, but she may be too conventional and compromised to do more than play the steady hand who sometimes attacks Trump.
She's simply not going to win this election, and stave off the triumph of Trumpism, without a lot of help. Which brings us to Bernie Sanders.
Sanders may be just what the doctor ordered, at least for a big chunk of the task.
Since he's not the presidential nominee, he'll never undergo the savaging that would drive his polling numbers down. And he has great credibility in the economic populism wheelhouse that Trump is so brazenly and ludicrously trying to claim for himself.
Though Sanders took a lot of media guff -- the LA Times ran a lead front page story trashing his failure to get out of the race even after it was evident that his Clinton endorsement was imminent, and Washington insider columnists and tip sheets, keyed as always to the Beltway Bandit culture, snarked endlessly -- Sanders actually did what he and his campaign signaled they would since losing the California primary last month.
They throttled down the anti-Clinton component of the campaign and concentrated on the Democratic platform and electoral reform.
Thanks largely to the Sanders influence, the Democratic national platform is more liberal, and more populist, than it's been since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In some ways more so, in fact, since the racist white South is no longer part of the Democratic coalition.
With the platform process completed (and he didn't win quite everything he wanted), Sanders then gave Hilary his full-throated backing in a spirited New Hampshire event on Tuesday. His backing came right when any reasonable person looking at the process calendar would expect it to.
"She will be the Democratic nominee and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States!" Hillary, Sanders intoned, "will make an outstanding president."
Hillary is going to need every bit of help she can get from Sanders especially if her campaign goes down the conventional running mate path of a steady but dull figure like Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, the former governor and Democratic national chairman.
Unlike Trump, Hillary doesn't need someone to anchor her, she needs someone who can help her soar. The usual grind-it-out mode may just not do in an increasingly chaotic situation in which Trump looks increasingly reasonable.
With Bill Clinton somewhat hamstrung by Trump attacks, and never the steadiest advocate for his wife, and Barack Obama vying with possibly more than he can handle in the Oval Office, Hillary has a decidedly problematic situation. Fortunately for the Dems, Sanders sounds up for his part.
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