The Democrats' Wisconsin debate, instead of showcasing statesmanship and a clear vision of leadership for the United States, demonstrated that blue Kool-Aid is just as potent a political aphrodisiac as red.
Bernie Sanders can gesticulate like an Italian cabbie, and Hilary, clad in her Yellow Brick Road frock, can craftily pull the Obama card as Defender of the Democratic Faith, but, with a Democratic base that is now at just 32%, the death of the revolution will come well before the tea-decaffeinated rebrand of anti-government insurgents within our government called the Freedom Caucus breaks out new pairs of their heel-dragging shoes.
Bernie Sanders' revolution depends on young voters, millennials, getting angry enough to participate in the process. Unfortunately, politicians can't depend on them to do much of anything, and, if history is any indicator, once the "hopey-changey" fad moves on, they will be unavailable for potential President Bernie by the midterm elections of December 2018.
Voting must not have been trending on Twitter, or easy to sneak into Snapchat selfies in the 2014 midterm elections. That 18-29 demographic turned in its worst-ever turnout for an election, 19.9%.
No matter how many "feel the Bern" in 2016, neither Sanders nor Clinton can do much to affect the badly-needed change in American politics or government that they're arguing about without a plan for re-enfranchising 45% of the American electorate, and getting them to stop playing Angry Birds long enough to get REALLY angry, drive the political artery-clogging Freedom Caucus out of the House, and end the toxic red tide that dominates so many state houses and governors' mansions.
PBS moderator Gwen Ifill tried to get to the heart of that problem by asking of Secretary Clinton: "Given what you and Senator Sanders are proposing, an expanding government in almost every area of our lives, is it fair for Americans who fear government to fear you?"
A perfect opportunity for either Clinton or Sanders to expound on why government is good, and chip into the decades and billions spent on propaganda that has turned Americans against the one agency that is there to protect them from the Kochs and Trumps of the world. Yet it was completely wasted by both candidates in their pre-scripted talking point wrestling.
When neither Democratic candidate has an answer to the problem of overcoming the decades and billions spent to disenfranchise American voters, both through gerrymandering and disgust and disinterest, then neither candidate's proposals hold much water, although Clinton, with her more incremental approach, at least isn't being quite as unrealistic as Sanders.
Sanders' plan requires a level of cohesion in a liberal base that is economically, socially, and culturally so fractured and fractious that, without a huge overhaul of the Democratic Party, and the sub-network of funding, to mirror the machine of the far right, there is very little hope of success.
Conservative media loves to demonize George Soros as the liberal antichrist, but, unlike the Kochs' far right movement that has hijacked the Republican Party, neither the Democratic Party nor any of its liberal funders have anything like the vast, decades-built infrastructure of think-tanks, shadow grass-roots organizations like Americans for Prosperity, rabble-rousing radio blowhards, or spin merchants like Frank Luntz and Grover Norquist to counter the dominating assault on American politics and culture that the 1% has quietly and effectively executed.
The 99% movement was a complete bust. Full of sound and fury, it amounted to nothing.
Democrats could get lucky, and face Donald Trump, or the Koch-backed candidates: Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio in the general election, all of whom are scary enough to turn out Democrats and socially moderate independents.
Neocon John Kasich's strong second-place showing in New Hampshire, though, should give both Sanders and Clinton a moment of pause.
He is going to still preach smaller government and the death of unions. Given the conditioning of the American electorate for more than two decades, that may resonate much better with independent voters than either Clinton or Sanders trying to out-Liberal each other. If minority voters get turned off by either or both of them, it could tip the balance to a less extreme, not moderate, Republican like Kasich.
Both Democratic candidates' lack of a strong vision as to how we break the 1% stranglehold on American politics. How we end Citizens United, or keep the Supreme Court from tilting even further rightward.
In terms of leadership, shouldn't Democrats be hearing more about how to overhaul their party? How to make it more of a force to be reckoned with. If Democrats are the party largely of the working person and the poor, with a fraction of the billions held in GOP coffers, then VOTES are their working capital. Organization. Motivation.
Yet, for all of the hardworking people in organizations great and small on the Left trying to change the world in their little niches, there is no overarching organization, no coordination, that will take on the highly ordered and organized opposition on the other side of the aisle.
What America needs to hear at Democratic Debates is not more posturing and rhetoric, or pop proposals to make the dwindling middle class feel a bit more special as they sell off their dream house and move into an apartment to pay their medical or college bills, even with the ACA.
America needs to hear real leadership. Whomever is chosen will face Obama's challenge: The cancer on their government, the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus.
How specifically would a president Sanders or Clinton end gridlock, restore the political balance and compromise that need to happen in American government to pass a budget, get the roads fixed, come up with long-range change in energy consumption, put more Americans to work outside of a Golden Arches minimum-wage service America, and protect citizens from the fascist imposition of non-elected "executives" running cities like Flint and poisoning the population?
The Far Right's November wish list is either for a president who does what they're told, or a bogeyman president that they can use to gin up white America's fear of becoming a minority. The scary black man-in-chief could easily be replaced by the scary woman-in-chief or the first Jewish president and that would keep their anti-government machine running strong, because both have been scapegoated by them for decades.
President Obama, even though he did his best to seek common cause and a middle ground, did not find a solution to making compromise and cooperation work. That is the challenge for the next Democratic president.
You feel that, Bernie? Hillary?
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that midterm elections will take place in 2016.