A Vote for Bernie is a Vote for Trump
The 2016 primary has been anything but normal. The 17 member-strong Republican field has been narrowed down to only one, Donald Trump, now the presumptive nominee and champion of the people stands alone on the right awaiting his next opponent. His America First Populist agenda has resonated loudly and proudly with the populace who have grown weary of special-interest supporting, business-as-usual, professional politicians running the nation into the ground. His rise to greatness has been a knock-down, drag-out, cat-scratch-fever of a fight and he's demonstrated that he won't be intimidated, coerced, or bullied into accepting the nomination on any other terms except his and his alone. The race has been called everything from a circular firing squad to an all out war by the media, the pundits, and of course, the vanquished. With harsh words, angry gestures, and a brutal take-no-prisoners approach, Trump has been battle tested and emerged unscathed. The media and some of the unhappy conservative sites want everyone to believe that there is a civil war raging within the Republican party, since the old guard party elite were too slow to react to the Trump surge. Thinking they would eventually be turned to for sagelike guidance on how to stop Trump and his message, they kept pouring money into the coffers of candidate after candidate, hoping, no praying they'd eventually discover his weakness, yet watched in astonishment as each in turn fell short. They launched salvo after salvo trying to gain traction with voters on messages about perceived racism, sexism, inexperience, or lack of a clear pathway to victory using entire chapters of the Liberal playbook to execute their nefarious plans to derail Trump. And as the perceived battle raged, the Democrats giggled with glee, watching what they saw to be a complete meltdown of the GOP, seemingly putting their opponents on a pathway to extinction.
Hillary is the Chosen One
The infighting, name-calling, and schoolyard tactics of the overcrowded GOP field provided the mainstream media with a plethora of negative talking points which should have kept their presses running well into November. Story after story surfaced with a wide list of topics; the superstructure was fractured, donors were holding back, Trump was forever damaging the GOP brand, and more. It was beginning to look like money-in-the-bank for an easy and convincing win by the Democrats, specifically Hillary Rodham Clinton, the "chosen one" as far as party elites were concerned, to be the Democratic nominee in 2016. The Democratic field paled in comparison with only three serious candidates on the early stage; a severely underfunded Martin O'Malley and admitted socialist Bernie Sanders, who decided to shift from Independent to Democrat in order to run. With hundreds of super delegates committed to her before any votes were even cast, America and the world had little doubt of her eventual ascendency. The press was working in lockstep with her campaign team to minimize the leakage of stories about her e-mail server, her foreign connections with the Clinton Foundation, and any other wild-card negatives. She seemed to have placated President Obama enough that he would support her run and hopefully share his extensive database of contacts to aid her cause. It was all wine and roses and appeared to be the red carpet treatment for her primary run, which would allow her to stockpile cash and get ahead of the Republicans by many months in campaigning for the general election. Everything was going according to plan; a plan which would quickly be unraveled starting with a very narrow race in Iowa.
Clinton versus Sanders
With a margin of victory so thin that it raised eyebrows, the Clinton camp was forced to make excuses and create a false narrative about how Bernie Sanders was not a real contender. When he won New Hampshire a week later the excuse was "home field advantage." Once she easily won the next four states, things calmed and once again the Party elite were complacent. Across the asile, Donald Trump won state after state with his Make America Great Again slogan driving his message home. Perhaps Bernie Sanders saw the success Trump was having, perhaps his income inequality/rigged economy message was just taking longer to resonate, or perhaps his ground team was just fine tuning their game. Whatever the case, Bernie started winning, and winning big in big states, making the race more interesting each week. Hillary won the states that reflected the machine political platform of the party but was losing in areas with young voters; His message of socialism resonated with them. They weren't necessarily ready to accept wealth redistribution but support taxing the rich and helping the poor. Hillary's ties to big money, Wall Street, and the wealthy donor class was becoming a liability and was turning voters away from her message. There was truly a real and growing fracture within the Democratic Party; a civil war where the armies were just forming and battle lines were still in the planning stages.
The GOP army led by General Trump
On the other side of the political world, General Trump has clearly course corrected the internal issues with most of the Republican Party elite and the conservative media. Even anti-Trump on-line personalities like Glen Beck and Mark Levin are speaking in a positive way about Mr. Trump lately. Trump will quickly mend the fence with House Speaker Paul Ryan and outside of holdout Mitt Romney, should have all of his troops positioned and on the field within a few weeks; all of this while the Democrat Primary is still in progress. The great Republican revolt is nothing more than a whimper now as the elites line up for spots at Trump's table. The neo-cons will certainly try to weave their threads into Trump's agenda, and the angry American right will certainly push Trump to keep on message, but eventually both sides will soften and find common ground; Trump will be the kingmaker, the face of the party, and the voice of the American people. The sad crew of sellouts who got behind the #NeverTrump group will be punished behind closed doors and forced to publically endorse Trump. The feud Trump had with Fox commentator Megyn Kelly has even come to and end; again, all while the Democrat race is still undecided. This fact is significant for many reasons, namely because it gives Trump more time to speak to his audience, more time to hone his message, and more time to prepare his attack strategy on Hillary, or Bernie, depending on who finally gets the nod.
The Real Civil War
Now that the only focus in the Primaries is the Democratic ones, people are just beginning to see the facts of the matter; Inside the Democratic Party a real war is brewing. It's a battle for the hearts and minds of the youth, the minorities, the gender-fluid crowd, the environmentalists, the open-border crowd, Wall Street money, green energy, and common core crowd. The primary race going this far has obviously demonstrated that there is unrest in Liberal land. It's not about electability, it's not about a path to victory, it's about Progressivism versus socialism. Hillary claims to be a Progressive but Bernie Sanders is just-as or even more progressive than Hillary on just about every issue; the economy, nationalized health care, campaign finance reform, foreign policy, and LGBT rights. The self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist has been consistent for most of his political career on what he stands for, unlike Mrs. Clinton who has changed her stance on several topics over the years. Some pundits argue that Hillary tries too hard to be uber-Liberal, bending with the changing winds to support even the most fringe groups. The major issues show striking differences and would seem to lean heavily in the favor of Clinton.
The top four issues in the general election will be the economy/jobs, foreign policy and America's role, immigration/open-borders, and Obamacare. National Security, TPP, and several other important issues will be discussed, but not the level as the top four. Bernie has no experience in foreign policy and with America coming off of 8 years of weak foreign policy under President Obama, electing Bernie would make things worse. Bernie wants to raise taxes on the middle and upper classes to fund trillions of dollars in new spending. More than half of Americans disapprove of Obamacare and many failures and cost overruns are to blame, however Sanders wants to ratchet it up and go even further in the way of government sponsored healthcare, eventually moving to single-payer. These are all very Progressive positions but fundamentally go against everything this country stands for.
Hillary Clinton has baggage from her years as a Washington insider in various roles. It's inevitable that a lot of those topics will reach the debate stage if she wins the nomination. E-mails, her husband Bill and his lifestyle, her ties to big money, Benghazi, and Clinton Cash are topics which come to mind as hot topics. Her foreign policy experience can be viewed as an extension of the Obama policies and her role as Secretary of State was tainted by American deaths overseas. Her relationships with Middle Eastern billionaires has been under scrutiny and called "influence peddling" by some. When the wealthy class bought and paid for the Democratic Party courtesy of her husband Bill Clinton, the old values and tenants started evaporating, now so far gone as the membership is considering a Socialist. She is all-in for a massive increase in the minimum wage, somehow equating that to economic prosperity for America. She's all about "reform" for immigration which is just a nice way of saying amnesty and open-borders.
The issues within the party
As Clinton struggles to become more Progressive than Sanders, even adopting some of his talking points as her own America is realizing that today's Democratic Party is a shadow of what it used to be. Now it's an ever shifting tsunami of event-driven talking points with too wide of an umbrella trying to be all things to all people. Hillary espouses that mentality and that's what's getting her in trouble with voters. She practices what her Party brethren would call Republican-like principles in her personal life, surrounded by obscene wealth, monied bankers and hedge fund managers, and foreign influence. Bernie on the other hand is funded by millions of small donations from regular people. It's the ultimate battle of big versus little. Add the fuel to the fire of Bernie offering a bigger bag of "freebies" than even Obama, including free tuition, and it's easy to see how Liberal Democrats are shifting his way. Younger Democrats see Bernie as a standard bearer who won't flip-flop for the sake of gaining personal political capital, something Hillary regularly does. Hillary Clinton plays the woman-card, rides the old-school gravy train of racial politics, and uses her well-oiled machine to hide any transgressions; Bernie really doesn't have any skeletons in his closet. Clinton voters say they'd vote for Sanders if he was the nominee, but a large portion of Sanders voters would not reciprocate, and could possibly shift to Trump. Clinton has been doing everything to demonstrate she's in touch with voters of all ages and classes, while Sanders just sticks to his message with few hurdles.
How they stack up
Business Insider, a highly reputable publication has put together a wonderful chart on how the two candidates stack up and it's well worth reviewing and making your own determinations on what will make or break the race. What is clear, that at the moment its a contested convention. Hillary cannot win the nomination without the support of Superdelegates at the convention. Sanders is fighting hard and repeatedly stating how the system is rigged in support of the anointed one, and in many ways he is right.
The Issues in America
The following list are some of the things the next President will deal with both good and bad. I'm sure many readers will add to this list and I encourage them to do so.
1. Supreme Court Justices - it's likely that several will be replaced in the text term, leading to a stacked court on one side or another - this is bad for America, but good for party politics
2. Climate change or lack of climate change legislation - this impacts our national energy programs, environmental regulations, and more
3. Obamacare - scrap it, fix it, change it, no one is sure what will happen with this impactful and huge wild card issue
4. The Middle East - should we stay or should we go? How to handle radical Islam?
5. Immigration - illegal and legal entry into America has become a huge topic - are we open borders or should we build a wall?
Is a vote for Bernie actually a vote for Trump? The answer lies in how you look at it. Every state Sanders wins adds another wrinkle to Hillary Clinton's forehead. His tenacity and vocal message isn't going away anytime, his growing support base and their disdain for business-as-usual politics is standing tall and seemingly refuses to back down or fall into line with party doctrine just because someone told them to. It's no secret that if Hillary gets the nod, they will perceive it as a machine-politics practice of using Superdelegates to keep the little-guy off of the main stage. They have an open-minded approach and seriously would consider Donald Trump, another outsider, instead of Hillary. Trump may not have the big goodie basket they want, but some of his other topics can overcome that. America First means a lot to a country with almost 100 million people out of the workforce, closing the border once and for all means a lot to older Americans who are afraid of cultural dilution and the dangers of foreign criminals on our home soils, cleaning house in Washington resonates with all regular people who are tired of the same old practices and same old people running us into the ground with excessive spending, projects to nowhere, and outright waste. How will it end is anyone's guess, but the one thing we can all agree on is that the Civil War within the Democratic Party is no where near over.