Ten Reasons Bernie Sanders Would not and Could not have beaten Trump
Bernie Sanders suffers from Great Man syndrome. It afflicts all white men, some worse than others and it can’t be cured. In Bernie world Hillary’s popularity was only “because she was a woman.” Bernie’s followers lap up this hogwash because they don’t know any better, because they too have been conditioned to believe what the Great Man says no matter what. But Hillary, of course, was speaking up for the Obama coalition, that was black mothers of shooting victims (she was criticized for this, of course), women and children all over the world and here in the US (and criticized for this). She offered practical solutions to difficult problems that were actually workable. She didn’t make false promises like a false prophet, like a god. Hillary had a great plan for dealing with college debt, and wanted to extend and improve the Affordable Care Act. Hillary actually knew she could do the job well but like so many of us women know, not only aren’t we trusted to do the job, no one believes we CAN do the job.
I’m sorry that Bernie said what he said about Hillary and women. It fed into the warped frenzy of misogyny that overtook his so-called revolution. He still thinks, and his followers think, that he would have beaten Trump. He couldn’t even win in the primary. There was no rigging, there was no collusion. She won four million more votes that he did. The people chose HER and not him. All Bernie did was help Trump win. He knows this, which is why he’s now on a desperate speaking tour to not become Ralph Nader in he public’s eyes. Blame Hillary, blame the democrats. Do anything BUT blame Bernie. And Bernie is exactly who deserves much of the blame for what he’s done, what he is still doing, to ensure the democrats lose and lose again in four years.
Would Bernie have beaten Trump? The answer is no one can say for sure but I would guess that absolutely no, he could not have. Here are the reasons why.
But first, you might be inclined to say, “we’re fighting a fascist, why aren’t we uniting against Trump?” he reason is that we can’t unite because we are deeply and sharply divided still. 2.5 million more votes than Trump is what Hillary Clinton will have had by the end of the election. He won but just barely. He won the electoral college by going after the Bernie voters and counting on third party voters to sabotage Hillary’s lead and it worked. Bernie Sanders must take responsibility for his part in this or there will be no moving forward. You can’t lie to people when the evidence is right in front of them.
One: Historically speaking, this election was always the Republican’s to lose. The pendulum swing of American election cycles is maddeningly predictable: Both parties find it hard to hold onto the White House for more than 2 terms in a row. Reagan did it. But he’s really the only one in recent history. JFK and FDR both died in office and that’s the only way we ever got a successor elected, since the 1800s. We had one shot to win for the Democrats and that was to make the case that the last eight years were working for Americans, that Obama’s policies and presidency had been a success, and that we wanted four more years to finish what he had started, to overcome the obstructionist roadblocks, and buttress the Obama legacy with a Supreme Court that would work to uphold his great strides. But Bernie Sanders ran a campaign as a newly minted Democrat against the Democrats! With that reckless miscalculation, he lost this election for himself and for Hillary before it even started. His entire campaign became a beta test commercial for Trump’s candidacy, as Trump noted which Hillary attacks had traction and adopted every single talking point (minus the free college and free healthcare) that Bernie had hammered her with. Bernie helped Trump immeasurably.
Bernie knew could not have beaten Trump unless he’d been Obama’s chosen successor and be handed the baton to continue Obama’s policies. Since that wasn’t happening, Bernie’s only option was to tell voters that nothing about the past two terms was good enough for the American people. He made that case that the Democrats had fallen short. A ridiculous claim, but several thousand people in key states fell for it. Sure, after he lost the nomination Bernie tried to change horses mid-stream but it never really worked for him. By then, he had convinced a few million voters in his flock that Hillary was too corrupt to deserve their vote. 3 or 4 million of his most fervid supporters could never snap out of their brainwashing. If anything, some felt doubly betrayed, and many of them turned on Bernie, called him a “sellout” when got behind Hillary.
TWO The Republicans had major opposition research ready to launch on Bernie Sanders that would have made his numbers drop quickly significantly in the polls. But Bernie was never attacked by Hillary’s team, nor by the GOP. Ask yourself why and the reason is obvious. The GOP wanted to run against Bernie. They knew they had far more volatile stuff to dump on him that the whimpering “emails, emails, emails” chant that had lost all its pizazz. Their strategy was to leave Bernie alone because the better Bernie looked, the worse Hillary looked. Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald laid out some of that oppo research and this is what he found:
Here are a few tastes of what was in store for Sanders, straight out of the Republican playbook: He thinks rape is A-OK. In 1972, when he was 31, Sanders wrote a fictitious essay in which he described a woman enjoying being raped by three men. Yes, there is an explanation for it — a long, complicated one, just like the one that would make clear why the Clinton emails story was nonsense. And we all know how well that worked out.
Then there’s the fact that Sanders was on unemployment until his mid-30s, and that he stole electricity from a neighbor after failing to pay his bills, and that he co-sponsored a bill to ship Vermont’s nuclear waste to a poor Hispanic community in Texas, where it could be dumped. You can just see the words “environmental racist” on Republican billboards. And if you can’t, I already did. They were in the Republican opposition research book as a proposal on how to frame the nuclear waste issue.
Also on the list: Sanders violated campaign finance laws, criticized Clinton for supporting the 1994 crime bill that he voted for, and he voted against the Amber Alert system. His pitch for universal health care would have been used against him too, since it was tried in his home state of Vermont and collapsed due to excessive costs. Worst of all, the Republicans also had video of Sanders at a 1985 rally thrown by the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua where half a million people chanted, “Here, there, everywhere/the Yankee will die,’’ while President Daniel Ortega condemned “state terrorism” by America. Sanders said, on camera, supporting the Sandinistas was “patriotic.”
The Republicans had at least four other damning Sanders videos (I don’t know what they showed), and the opposition research folder was almost 2-feet thick. (The section calling him a communist with connections to Castro alone would have cost him Florida.) In other words, the belief that Sanders would have walked into the White House based on polls taken before anyone reallyattacked him is a delusion built on a scaffolding of political ignorance.
Unfortunately, Sanders supporters think he’s god-like and thus, they rely solely on those inflated poll numbers. Nate Silver would tell them that you can’t really trust polls until you’ve seen the candidate “punched” completely by the opposition party. Silver thinks now it was a mistake for Hillary not to attack him because now no one will ever believe he could have been attacked the way she has been for decades. To them, Hillary had it coming but the truth is Bernie has never been considered a threat enough TO ATTACK in the first place.
THREE Bernie is Jewish (as am I in case you want to start blamesplaining). He’s a socialist. And he’s an atheist. Do I need to explain this one? Obama might have been black but he was Christian. A man of faith. And though he was accused of being a socialist he is not. Bernie actually is! Has always been a socialist, bragged about being one, has expressed an affinity for Fidel Castro on video, and hates the Democratic party for not being leftist enough. The Jewish part is a touchy subject, but we have to be realistic about the American “heartland.” Is flyover America ready for a Jew in the White House? Let’s ask Joe Lieberman. Or how about ask voters in 40 states who have never sent a Jewish senator to Washington D.C. Ever. 40 states. Never Elected. A Jewish Senator. In 230 years. Are Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, suddenly ready to see a Jew in the Oval Office? I do not believe they are. Not in the America that just elected Donald Trump. They aren’t even ready for a woman. The Bernie people don’t seem to know this other half of America exists. To Bernie and his supporters all those people who just voted for Trump are did so because Bernie wasn’t on the ballot. Seriously, that’s what they think.
FOUR Bernie Sanders promised to raise taxes on just about everyone, even a small amount on the middle class. If you think any politician can win a national election by saying they are going to raise taxes on the middle class, you have another think coming. Yes, Bernie’s ideas on trade, and certainly on the climate, are appealing to most but his platform was predicated on making the government pay for everything. When you put together his own history of never having a job for his first 30 years as an adult, never really earning a paycheck that wasn’t from the government, you can fill out the bubbles from there, right? You can visualize the Republican TV ads, yes? Please tell me you can.
FIVE He couldn’t win the primary. In the Land of Nod , the sad fable is that Bernie was cheated by the DNC. That’s what the Republicans wanted the Berners to believe, that’s the story they seeded, nurtured and harvested, and so it was! The most hardcore Berniacs threw one hissy fit after another, stoned Wasserman-Schultz, threatened to bust up the convention all because Hillary Clinton won more votes. He lost. Not by a little, by a lot. 55% — 43%. But for a huge number of his sullen supporters, if Bernie couldn’t have the prize, the no one could. That was their attitude.
But the fact is Bernie’s supporters simply didn’t vote in large enough numbers. They didn’t even vote down ballot during the primaries. They didn’t vote for any of the progressive candidates Bernie had anointed, like Russ Finegold and Zephyr Teachout. For all their demonizing of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, they couldn’t even be bthered to vote for her Bernie-certified opponent Tim Canova. The “revolution” was failing at every level, all across the country. The giddy crowds showed up at rallies but apparently standing in line to vote wasn’t exciting enough. Maybe no one ever taught these people about government. They certainly don’t seem to know much about safeguards the three branches help ensure. Bernie Sanders lost so badly in the South he never could have won the general election with those kinds of numbers even with Hillary out of the way. His excuse? “Oh, they’re just too deeply conservative in the south.” And worse: “Oh, they’re not educated about the issues.”
Great way to connect with black voters, there, Professor Sanders! Dismiss them as being too ill-informed to know what’s good for them. Charming. Perhaps if Bernie had one more year of campaigning to strengthen his weaknesses, he might have got a better toehold. But he didn’t. The theory is that good reasonable Democrats would shunned him the primaries would have come ‘round and voted for him in the general. But I’m betting many would have fled altogether and voted for Trump, for the three following reasons.
SIX a) Isis. If you didn’t get that Isis was a big part of this election you were living in a bubble, a fantasy bubble where your biggest fear is fracking. But the news that most people watch like CNN or Fox News? It’s all Isis all the time. Fear of Isis is pumped into their living rooms around the clock and it’s become ingrained in our national reality. These voters aren’t staring at Facebook and reading biased boutique news sites that tell progressive liberals what they want to hear (gluten free water cures cancer!). They’re looking around at the world from their own homes and they’re scared. Whether Bernie and his minions thought Isis was a threat is irrelevant. The voters clearly did and they thought it in a big way. It’s an issue much more important to a truckdriver than free college. And there are millions of longhaul truckdrivers.
Trump and Hillary Clinton both mopped the floor with Bernie Sanders on Isis and terrorism and foreign policy. Remember the Daily News interview? Bernie forgot to study for that exam. 6. b) Economy. Trump pretended to be Bernie’s best friend because it made Hillary look bad. He used Bernie like a bar rag, sopping up the stale foam of angry white dudes, hipster or otherwise, who could not believe their Feel-the-Bern icon of virtue had been beaten by a girl. 6. c) Immigration. See 6a) and 6b) Because the greatest trick Trump ever pulled was convincing a stunningly large swath of white Americans that all their terrorism fears and the economic woes would magically evaporate if we could only Build That Wall. So it was all about Isis, the economy, and immigration. It was in the beginning, it was in the end, and it is now. Trump would have crushed Sanders on those key points alone and it wouldn’t have even been hard.
SEVEN Bernie is in it for Bernie. He probably would have chosen Cornel West as his running mate, but it’s pretty clear he would not have chosen anyone he would want to share the stage with, because he didn’t like sharing the stage with anyone, not even his poor wife. (“Don’t stand next to me!”) So his veep would have been… who knows. Certainly not dynamo Elizabeth Warren. She would have swooped in like Bernie’s charismatic caregiver. Although in the dreamland of liberal utopia it would have been Sanders and Warren. But even that duo would have lost and lost badly to Trump. Outside the major cities where most of us dwell, the majority of Americans saw Trump and Sanders as different species of outsiders.
That’s both funny sad, because Bernie only seemed like an outsider, because nobody in 49 states had ever heard of him before last year, despite his decades in public office. So given that choice, to those voters, Trump would have been basically Bernie except glitzy capitalism instead of scary socialism, Trump was Bernie except with a strong hand against terrorism instead of weak one. Trump was Bernie except with the sultry MILF by his side. None of this would have sat well with a man as vain as Bernie Sanders. Bernie would have been pressured by his all-or-nothing followers to pick a progressive veep so now you’ve got the Bernie progressive vote, you’ve got some of the loyalist Democrats, but you’ve lost ALL of the moderates who are too freaked out about taxes and Isis to take a chance on a radically left ticket.
EIGHT Change in America is incremental and slow. It does not come quickly. After two terms of a Democratic president, the American people have never and will never move farther to the outer reaches in the same direction of the party in power. America is populated by mostly moderates who care more about paying taxes (or not) than just about anything else. Whatever Bernie is offering, this is an electorate that could barely accept Obamacare because they thought it was socialism — what kind of a crackpot does one have to be to think Americans would be ready to veer all the way to 100% government-run health care? They wouldn’t. They won’t. Not yet. I’m so sick of having this conversation with people and if Bernie Sanders runs in 2020 then and only then will they understand, just like the McGovern supporters learned and the Nader voters. You learn that ugly lesson once. For those of us who have lived through people learning that lesson, to watch it learned over again is not just frustrating, it’s tragic. All the left seems able to do is put republicans in power, until they get a clue about what America is and what America isn’t.
NINE Liberals were living in a bubble of illusion, including and especially the Berniecrats. They were following what the media kept saying and the media focused entirely too much on Sanders — only when he hurt Hillary. They never focused on his policies. They didn’t want to talk policy. Policy is boring. Let’s watch the scrappy senator take down the powerful woman. Let’s watch Trump take Hillary down. That’s what they were invested in. And they lulled Americans into falsely believing the democrats had it in the bag. This is true now and it would have been true if Bernie won. The only difference is that now Bernie would have to find another scapegoat to explain what would have been a landslide loss for him. But the polls, they would cry, the polls! Because the polls were all they had and the polls were wrong when it came to Trump. They were wrong. Liberals need to break out of that bubble because the joke is on us. America is laughing at us and our hysteria and in order to save the environment, fight for civil and LGBT rights we have to get smarter about it and getting smarter about it does not include living in a deluded fantasy that “Bernie would have won.” No, he wouldn’t have.
TEN You can’t lead the democratic party and focus only on the white working class as Bernie did. You can’t lead the democratic party by not acknowledging the success of its two term president, Barack Obama. You can’t lead the democratic party by perpetuating the false notion that Hillary Clinton was only where she was because she was a woman. The democratic party is not the party of the white working class. It stands for a bigger, broader group than that. Bernie writes it off as “identity politics” but it’s bigger than that because America, and the world, are changing. Hillary has more of a record of action than Bernie ever had in 30 years. To discount that is to tell a lie. If you tell enough lies sooner or later they catch up with you and Bernie’s would have caught up with him. He should never have divided the democrats the way he did. He should never have influenced so many young people not to choose pragmatism.
On top of our deep sense of sadness (and yes, everlasting anger) over the way this election was manipulated by the FBI, by WikiLeaks, by Putin, by news media both slanted and fake — it’s just exhausting two weeks later to have to listen to Bernie’s simplistic lectures about the Democrats “failure to connect” with the white working class, and scolded for not seeming to know what people in America care about. It has become depressing and tiresome to watch Bernie continue to blame Hillary even now. Had he ever tried to discourage the character assassination against her early on, we would have had a chance. But Bernie could not stand it that Hillary was beating him. He still can’t stand it and he still can’t believe it. It’s time for him to stop already. Just stop.