It is becoming more difficult to take Bernie Sanders seriously as the potential Democratic nominee for president. When he decided to run as a Democrat many were generally supportive even knowing he was an Independent and a socialist and had previously dumped on the Party. Yet over the years he caucused with Democrats in Congress so my thoughts were, "Ok, let's get on with it."
Sanders got tremendous benefits by running as a Democrat including access to the media as competition to Clinton, a spot on the ballot, and the ability to reach voters through the DNC voter list. The same voter list his now-fired staffer was caught stealing Clinton information from. Had Sanders run as an Independent, which he apparently never considered, he would have needed millions of dollars just to do those things and would likely never have gotten a campaign off the ground.
As the campaign progresses it is becoming clear he doesn't have any interest in meeting what his responsibility would be as the Democratic nominee. In a presidential election year a big part of the nominees job is to help elect candidates down ticket; U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, Governors and state legislators. He would need to help them raise money and build a platform on which they can run. Appears he is so taken with his own rhetoric of 'revolution' he hasn't thought about those down ticket candidates winning giving it even a chance in hell of happening. As of today Hillary Clinton has raised twenty-seven million dollars to be distributed to state parties to assist their candidates and Sanders has raised one thousand dollars. The FEC is now questioning his campaign finances.
Sanders is making it clear he doesn't understand as Democratic nominee he would be running for a third Democratic term. Whether it fits his agenda or not, as the Democratic nominee he would be running on Barack Obama's record so tearing it down as he is doing only hurts the Party and him. Politico reported in response to a question on whether he will be better on race relations than Obama Sanders said, "Absolutely" and in an interview with MSNBC Sanders criticized President Barack Obama's leadership saying, "There's a huge gap right now between Congress and the American people. ... What presidential leadership is about [is] closing that gap." It is laughable Sanders thinks he has a better record of leadership, or accomplishment, than the President.
Sanders takes a line right out of the Republican playbook attacking Obama's record on bringing down unemployment insisting, "Real unemployment in this country is not 4.9 percent, it is 10 percent." This done on the day Obama is touting how far we have come under his administration where we have seen an increase of fourteen million jobs since his economic policies took effect compared with the end of the Bush Administration when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. Republicans immediately pounced on Sanders saying "Of course, Sanders can criticize Obama for the high unemployment rate all he wants, but it's not like socialism has ever, at any time in history, led to an explosion in jobs. So he might want to tread lightly there."
Sanders advocates' tax increases for all. Even Democrats with long memories can't remember a President McGovern or a President Mondale. They remember Mondale suggesting a tax increase for everyone. In 1972 McGovern won only Massachusetts and DC and in 1984 Mondale won only Minnesota and DC. Remembering those losses vividly The Hill reported House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made it clear, "We're not running on any platform of raising taxes".
Democrats, Democratic office holders and candidates across the nation must understand what Sanders at the top of the ticket would mean. We can't repeat the debacles of McGovern and Mondale. Whether or not they like any of Sanders policies the final consideration must be whether we can win an election with him as nominee. The answer is an emphatic NO. With the death of Scalia and potentially three Supreme Court nominations in the balance; Democrats must face reality which is we can't allow those nominations to be made by any of the clown car of candidates running for the Republican nomination. Hillary can win in November. She has been vetted and faced everything Republicans can throw at her. She is raising millions of dollars to help down ticket candidates and local parties. Her progressive policies will help people and actually have a chance to be implemented.
In the Milwaukee debate Hillary made the best case for her own candidacy. "We agree that we've got to get unaccountable money out of politics. We agree that Wall Street should never be allowed to wreck Main Street again. But here's the point I want to make tonight. I am not a single- issue candidate, and I do not believe we live in a single-issue country. I think that a lot of what we have to overcome to break down the barriers that are holding people back, whether it's poison in the water of the children of Flint, or whether it's the poor miners who are being left out and left behind in coal country, or whether it is any other American today who feels somehow put down and oppressed by racism, by sexism, by discrimination against the LGBT community, against the kind of efforts that need to be made to root out all of these barriers, that's what I want to take on. And here in Wisconsin, I want to reiterate: We've got to stand up for unions and working people who have done it before... the American middle class, and who are being attacked by ideologues, by demagogues. Yes, does Wall Street and big financial interests, along with drug companies, insurance companies, big oil, all of it, have too much influence? You're right.
But if we were to stop that tomorrow, we would still have the indifference, the negligence that we saw in Flint. We would still have racism holding people back. We would still have sexism preventing women from getting equal pay. We would still have LGBT people who get married on Saturday and get fired on Monday. And we would still have governors like Scott Walker and others trying to rip out the heart of the middle class by making it impossible to organize and stand up for better wages and working conditions. So I'm going to keep talking about tearing down all the barriers that stand in the way of Americans fulfilling their potential, because I don't think our country can live up to its potential unless we give a chance to every single American to live up to theirs."
Democrats must stand on the principles Hillary states so clearly and understand she is the nominee who can actually lead us to victory in November.