It Is Over For Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders is to be blamed for Bernie Sanders’ failure to be able to clinch the nomination. I am not referring to mistakes he may have made in the beginning; I am not referring to shortcomings, all the candidates have those; I am not referring to his lack of substance during debates, Trump seems to do fine without that; I am not referring to the delivery of his message, he is great at doing it; I am not referring to lack of enthusiasm, his campaign is the only one with much enthusiasm and energy; I am not referring to campaign strategy, his is as good as or better than most. I am referring to Bernie Sanders violating the most important principle of his campaign.
My wish for Bernie to become the Democrat Party nominee began to fade the day he decided to switch into attack mode; that was well before the NY primaries on April 19, 2016. The Illinois primary on March 15, 2016 was the turning point that the campaign with the “berning” flames has begun to flame out. Bernie Sanders has only himself to blame for that.
Although I knew my wish for Bernie to become the nominee was in contradiction with my analysis that Hillary will be, - and I am very rarely wrong - I rode the emotional, hopeful and promising coaster of Bernie as President of the United States. Much like everyone else, I found Bernie to be honest, consistent, different and even unique perhaps but there were two other characteristics of the Senator I fell in love with: his stance on “campaign financing” and his aversion for mudslinging in politics.
When he launched his bid for the presidency, Bernie re-affirmed the principle he’s been living by for decades, he will not resort to mudslinging and negative campaigns. That was then; he was not even a blip on the Democrat Party’s radar. He was a distraction; he was the Socialist (the only one) US Senator from the second least populated state (the first is Wyoming) in the country; he is only one of two Independent US Senators (the other is Angus King from Maine, the neighboring state) in Washington; he is a 75 year old man, probably grumpy. Nobody cared that Sanders was running for president. No one cared about his principle not to resort to mudslinging. His voice was too weak for anyone to pay attention to. Presidential election is serious business for grown-ups, crooks and all those who are comfortable doing backroom deal, selling the country to the highest bidder. Bernie knew he had no chance to play in the grown-ups league let alone win but true to his principle, he wanted to contribute something, anything which could make a difference for the people of Vermont, for the people of America.
His early rallies attracted a few hundred people; since Bernie swore not to solicit campaign financing from the rich and the powerful, he was on his own and had to completely rely on the few supporters to help pay for his travel across towns (by bus, train) using the cheapest means of transportation. That was then. However, when he brought up the “radical” FREE college education for all idea and began to talk about how he’s going to eliminate students’ loans, he got the attention of an army of young graduates and college students burdened with debts and no prospect of a good job. Armed with fresh knowledge, great skills, lots of energy and unwavering hope that grandpa Bernie will live long enough to make good on his promises once he reached the promised land, I mean Washington, young men and women across the country flock Bernie’s rallies. Using social media, they’ve helped organize the largest movement in modern time; coined “a Revolution” by Senator Bernie, the ever increasing crowd of millennials (of all races, creeds, colors, religions and sexual orientations) propels the “FeelTheBern” movement to national status which has not only changed the dynamic of the Democrat Party race but also opened up the opportunity for Bernie to aspire to and even possibly win the nomination. When the New Hampshire primary votes were tallied (Feb 9, 2016), – Bernie won a crushing victory over Hillary by more than 20 points (Bernie: 60.4%; Hillary: 38%) - it became clear that Bernie was no longer a blip on the radar but a serious candidate – to pay attention to - for the nomination. Two months into the primaries, Bernie has proven to be much more than just a worthy opponent, he could become the next president.
Unfortunately however, Senator Bernie has violated the most important principle of his political career. He went after Mrs. Clinton with a vengeance all the while offering excuses for ditching his principle. In the Illinois primary for instance, Bernie’s campaign spent over $3 million in attack ads featuring Hillary with the disgraced mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel. The negative ads did not work; Sanders still lost the primary in the state of Illinois.
I can now put my secret wish for Bernie to win the nomination to rest; he is not going to unless Hillary is taken away in handcuffs for using a private email server to send and receive sensitive information, some of which if fallen on the wrong hands may be detrimental to national security.
I’ve always had a very difficult time getting a grasp on the rationale anyone uses to switch strategy, to modify something that’s working or to simply adopt a brand new way of doing things all the while abandoning one which brings good results. Although Bernie’s campaign manager and strategists mean well, – they all want him to become the nominee – they’ve failed to understand that Bernie’s principle is more powerful than any strategy they could possibly concoct up.
It finally dawns on me that Bernie is not meant to be the nominee let alone become the next President. I am somewhat disappointed that Bernie – after so many victories using his noble principle – has decided to abandon an attitude that is sorely needed in political debates. Most importantly, I am very disappointed that Bernie couldn’t recognize he has gotten that far in the race without resorting to negative attacks.
Bernie Sanders will not be the nominee; he’s brought the omen unto himself.