Sunday, March 01, 2020

Proceed Cautiously


MSNBC consultant and former Navy intelligence guy is not sanguine about Democratic chances if Senator Sanders is nominated:
Five weeks ago, before Sander succeeded in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada and failed in South Carolina, history professor at Dartmouth College lamented

the weaknesses in his background, which are little known to wide swaths of voters. How many Americans know that Sanders is not just an avowed democratic socialist but a former supporter of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, which wanted to abolish the federal defense budget and supported “solidarity” with revolutionary regimes like Iran’s and Cuba’s? Do people know that he spoke positively about Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution (“a very profound and very deep revolution”) and even praised the Soviet Union and criticized the United States during a honeymoon trip to the U.S.S.R.? Could Sanders successfully distance himself from these statements, or would the public perceive them as disqualifying? No one knows, but the downside risk for Democrats has no precedent among front-runners in contemporary American political history....

Sanders also has a long paper trail of writings and statements about sex, gender and race that have received relatively little attention but are likely to provoke far more controversy if he wins the nomination. In one 1969 essay, for instance, Sanders wrote that the “manner in which you bring up your daughter with regard to sexual attitudes may very well determine whether or not she will develop breast cancer, among other things.” And does his diverse coalition of young supporters know he once compared workers in Vermont to slaves?

If they did, they wouldn't care. Nor is it likely that these things would be sufficiently persuasive to undecided or persuadable voters to cost Sanders the presidential election.

To a large extent, these characteristics have already been factored in to the assessment of most voters toward Bernard. Additionally, most of the country already has decided whether it likes or dislikes President Trump while some voters will be swayed primarily by the events of the next eight months, such as the economy, Coronavirus, or a foreign crisis.

Although Sanders has thus far largely avoided the scrutiny a front-runner should expect to get, he has heard the complaints, the charges, the smears. And for the most part, he knows how to respond.

If the Vermont senator is nominated, the presidential election may be the least of our worries as Democrats. 

In November, 2018, thirty (30) House districts represented by a Republican went Democratic.  Of those 30 Democrats elected in what evidently are "swing" districts, exactly zero (0) have endorsed Bernard Sanders' presidential candidacy.

Some are moderate Democrats, some are not. But what virtually every one has in common is that he or she wants to be re-elected. And none has endorsed Bernard Sanders.

They probably know something the rest of us don't know, or can only speculate about.  There have been press reports of concern among these candidates and others that nomination of the Vermont senator could be deadly to their re-election efforts, as well as the chance Democrats could add to their majority in the House (and take over the Senate, which after Trump's acquittal was a live, even lively, possibility).

And they should be worried. At one time or another, from one direction or another, Sanders has heard of all the allegations, justified and otherwise, about his record or character. However, incumbent House Democrats have not, or at least have not had those charges directed at them.

It's one thing to defend one's own record as a Democratic Socialist. It's quite another- and much more difficult- to be centrist, center-left, or even definitively liberal, to have built one's brand on that, and then be branded yourself as a "socialist" or something more incendiary. They will have serious trouble navigating that.

It makes it that much more difficult when the head of the Party, the guy running for the top job, has openly confronted you. Such it was when


If the candidate for President has established himself as an independent, even rebellious, thinker, it might redound to his advantage in his own election. But if in the process he has disparaged you, re-election is an uphill battle.

So Bernie Sanders might prove to be an effective and successful candidate. Nonetheless, he could in the process find himself facing an increased GOP majority in the Senate and a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives.



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