A Dose of… Reality #1 — About Bernie and Hillary…

Some random examples of reality that too many “political junkies” seem reticent to accept:

Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic Primaries fairly and squarely.

No one “cheated” and it’s ridiculous to believe that the system is “rigged” somehow. The democratic process chose Hillary Clinton as the nominee because that is what rank-and-file Democrats wanted. Sanders only won a scant few primaries. The only states he won handily, outside of Vermont and New Hampshire, were caucus states, which are, by far, the LEAST democratic ways t choose a candidate. I know there are some folks who believe caucuses are “very democratic” based on the way they look, but how could they be? They are held within a 2–3 hour window at a time when many people are working for a living. How can that possibly be “more democratic” than a process by which any registered Democrat who wants to vote can do so anytime within a 13–14 hour window? To claim it’s the best process defies logic, and yet, many people are arguing just that.

As for “rigging,” well, the votes are held by state officials in 57 different jurisdictions. How would it be possible for the DNC to “rig” so many primaries in favor of one candidate? The answer is, of course, that it can’t. It is simply not within the realm of possibility that the DNC (whom you also claim is horribly inept) could possibly “rig” 57 elections being held by state and local officials in thousands of separate jurisdictions. Besides, there is a very clear example of just how terrible they are at “rigging” an election in 2008. If you’ll recall, Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination in that year, as well, until an upstart named Barack Obama ran the best campaign in at least the last 100 years and blew her out of the water.

The fact that Hillary won and Bernie lost is because Democrats liked her better. And the key reason for that is, Bernie Sanders ran one of the worst primary campaigns in recent memory. He crafted a stump speech when he announced and he stayed with that stump speech for about a year and a half. He is one of those people who says what he thinks “progressives” want to hear, but he offers no actual solutions. (And no — “free college” and “single-payer healthcare” don’t even state the problem, let alone offer a solution to anything. << — another dose of reality.)

No, Hillary Clinton did not lose because she skipped Wisconsin.

I mean, for chrissakes, people; THREE key states were decided by far less than one percent of the vote and there is ample evidence that Russian hackers may have interfered in those states and several others to make sure Clinton lost them. Also, there was little press, left, right or center, that covered just how bad Trump was, even though they all were obsessed with Hillary’s emails. Is it possible that she may have gained an extra 50,000 votes if she gave a rally in Wisconsin? Maybe. It’s possible, but not a given. However, there were many other factors that cost her at least that many votes, so why would anyone decide that her failure to visit the state was the deciding factor? For example, what about the 10 percent of Sanders primary voters who voted for Donald Trump? What about the seven percent of Bernie voters who voted for either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson? (Source) Those voters would have swung Wisconsin to Clinton, as well.

And by the way, how progressive are you if you can vote for Bernie in the primary and Trump in the general? Well, the following could explain that…

Closed primaries are the only way to go because the opposition can cheat in an open primary.

Finishing my thought above, most people will assume that everyone who voted for Bernie in the primaries is a “progressive,” which makes it an abomination that anyone could possibly vote for what he stood for in the primary and vote for what Trump stood for in the general election. Therefore, it is possible that many of the 10 percent who voted that way were trying to defeat Hillary Clinton in the primary. They may have been Russian operatives, or Republicans who knew Bernie would be an easier target than Clinton. (Another dose of reality — he would have been a far easier target.) In other words, if you look more closely at the Wisconsin numbers, it’s possible to claim that many of the Bernie voters were actually Republicans or others who just didn’t want Hillary to win.

The Wisconsin Republican primary shows the same sort of shenanigans. Ted Cruz won that one in a walk over Donny Trump, indicating that a lot of protest votes were cast, especially since it was already clear that Trump would win the nomination by April 5. Of course, all of this is pure speculation, but that’s the point. The parties themselves should choose their candidates and not be subject to outside influence. Primaries are not elections, per se. they are plebiscites used to choose who will represent the party in the General Election. Open primaries poison that process.

Hillary Clinton’s description of the Bernie Sanders diehards is remarkably accurate.

This photograph of a page from Hillary’s new book has been making the rounds:

It is not only a funny anecdote, but it is incredibly accurate. Everything the Bernie Stans said about Hillary and her alleged dishonesty was purely false. Not only that, but most of what Bernie Sanders was proposing was the stuff of which pipe dreams are made. Again, the issue with regard to healthcare is universal healthcare. “Single-payer” and “Medicare for all” are just one way to do that, but it’s not the only way to do so. In fact, the United States is now 35th on the list of countries ranked by health outcomes and only TWO of the 34 countries actually employ a single-payer system. In fact, the systems with the best outcomes all use a hybrid public-private system like that set up by the ACA as it was written, not passed.

The other Sanders pipe dream is “free college.”

Another pipe dream was “free college.” Yes, it’s ridiculous that so many young people are graduated with massive amounts of debt. They should not have to pay one dime in interest on that money and no one, especially the government, should be making money from that. However, how is “free college” a solution to that? Last year, we spend more than $500 BILLION supporting public and private non-profit institutes of higher learning. (Source) Out of that, the federal government spends a bit more than $100 billion on grants and other financial aid. That would mean their budget would have to roughly quadruple to cover the costs of free college. Over a ten-year period, that would be an increase of roughly $4 TRILLION. You’ll need a new Congress and you’ll need progressives running the show in all 50 states for that to work. It’s not happening. The most you can hope for is free community college and doubling the federal budget on grants and other financial aid, and low or no interest on student loans.

There is another aspect of this that needs to be addressed, as well, though. One reason many students are saddled with so much debt is because they borrow way more than they need. If you walk on a typical college campus these days, and few are making due with $500 laptops and wearing jeans from Walmart. At the University of Arizona “bookstore,” they have an Apple store and a Lancôme counter. These kids are wearing their debt on their sleeves and too many of them are just hoping they’ll make enough to pay it all back later. In other words, the problem has several elements, neither of which will be fixed with “free college.”

“Free college” is one of those things that really makes “progressives” look bad. Yes, college should be more affordable and no one should be prevented from going because they lack the means. That is not the same as giving a college education away free to anyone who wants it. It would also serve to create a sub-class of colleges, suggesting that a private education is worth more because someone had to pay to get it. “You went to a free college” could be just like the stigma that currently attaches to community college these days.

One last dose of reality:

$15 an hour is not realistic as a national minimum wage.

People who live in large urban areas should be able to make at least $15 per hour because it is impossible to live on less than that. However, there are large portions of the country where that is not a realistic minimum wage and where it would cause major problems for small businesses.

That is just the real world. In New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, the minimum should probably be $20 per hour. That would be realistic. However, to have to pay a maid at a small hotel in rural Arkansas or Alabama that much would probably put a lot of those places out of business. To imagine a McDonalds or Wendy’s franchisee in rural Missouri to pay that much to every employee and to raise the wages of every shift manager, as well, would cause the prices of the burgers to skyrocket, which would, ironically, make the $15 minimum wage a lot less effective. Hillary Clinton’s proposal was $12 per hour, with higher minimum wages in those areas with a higher cost of living. That was realistic. if we are using 1968’s minimum wage as a bellwether, which seems to be the practice, then the minimum wage should be about $11 to keep up. That makes $12 per hour a good minimum for most of the country.

There is your dose of reality for this week. Come back next week for more…

Originally published at PCTC Blog.