Sunday, May 05, 2019

In The Atlantic in mid-April, Edward-Isaac Dovere wrote "Aides say that (Vermont Senator Bernie) Sanders is envisioning himself in the Oval Office, which has been guiding his decisions on both campaign operations and policy positions."

That continued with responses to two questions (beginning at 10:52 of the video below) asked of the Vermont senator on Sunday's "This Week" on ABC.

When Jonathan Karl asked "Cory Booker says he will name a woman as his running mate, will you make the same pledge?" Sanders sensibly responded "I would give very serious consideration to that." Karl immediately followed with "person of color?" and Sanders replied "I think it's premature. It would be silly to make that statement right now."

Of course it would, as understood by anyone who believes he has a serious chance to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

By contrast, at the recent "She The People" presidential forum in Houston, Booker promised "I will have a woman running mate. To me it’s really clear that we do that.” The previous day, Representative Eric Swalwell had stated "I’ve pledged that I would ask a woman to serve as Vice President."

It's easy for them to say. Booker is a dark horse candidate, and Swalwell is no more likely to be nominated than, say, the guy or gal behind you at the supermarket checkout lane. Additionally, such a preposterous promise is a safe one to make for both individuals, given that Swalwell hails from a liberal district in California and Senator Booker from New Jersey, where being a Democrat is an increasingly distinct electoral advantage.

But Sanders is one of the two leading candidates for the presidential nomination.  No doubt it has not escaped his attention that Donald Trump, the surprise winner in the last election, did not choose as his running mate someone based on gender, race, or religion.

When in July, 2016 candidate Trump was about to select Mike Pence as his running mate, Chris Cillizza presciently lauded the choice because, he noted, Trump needed the Koch brothers, the industrial midwest, and "message discipline," as well as "to reassure the GOP establishment" and "social conservatives."

Even Pence's popularity in the Christian right community did not turn on the particular Christian denomination to which he belongs. Rather, it derived from his support of forced-birth, opposition to same-sex marriage, and dedication to "religious liberty," the euphemistic term for permitting discrimination on the basis of claimed religious belief. (It is not apparent what church, if any, Pence attends and he describes himself as an "evangelical Catholic." If you don't know what that is, you're not alone.)

The overwhelming support for the GOP nominee among self-identified (white) evangelicals very likely was determinative in the presidential election, and probably would not have come about without Pence on the ticket. Pence got the nod because it was believed that the Indiana governor and former GOP congressman improved Trump's opportunity to be elected.

And so we have Bernie Sanders properly refusing to commit himself to selecting as a running mate either a woman or a "person of color,"  preferring to wait to determine how best to get to 270. As Dovere found, he's in it to win it. He may not, but at least he didn't make the stupid promise two other Democrats have.


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