Saturday, May 21, 2016

Democratic Party finally Feeling the Bern

Words cannot express how much I love this.

Two recent articles:
'New York Times', May 18, 2016

'Slate', May 19, 2016

While I certainly do not agree with his policies and think his brand of 'Democratic Socialism' would be devastating for the country, the whole Bernie Sanders saga is incredibly amusing to me for several reasons:

1. Self-Inflicted Wound
The Democratic establishment is frantic to try to place the blame on Sanders and demand he step aside; meanwhile they are also trying to make excuses on how this is different from Clinton staying in until the end in 2008.
I feel no sympathy for Democrats because I believe they fell victim to one of their core beliefs, and the one I disagree with the most, which is that they believe they know what is best for the rest of the population.
Had the Democratic establishment not been too preoccupied with preparations for Hillary's coronation, they would not be in the mess they're in and could have avoided it in two ways:
First, having a more open and competitive primary would have brought Hillary's deficiencies out much sooner and they could have been addressed well before the summer and general election.
Second, paying closer attention to Sanders early on, they would have realized his base was very much out of line with the Washington left.

2. Displeasure with the system
Again, had establishment Democrats been listening to the public rather than patting themselves on the back for the past eight years, they would have realized that voters were incredibly unhappy with the status quo and didn't want Obama 2.0.
Also, while everyone assumed Sanders's support came from a core of socialist sympathizers, they underestimated the swell of #NeverHillary sentiment.

3. Fighting against an ideology
For those watching 'Game of Thrones', the battle for the Democratic nomination reminds me greatly of the current situation in Westeros. Bernie Sanders is the High Sparrow and, of course, Hillary Clinton is Cersei.
Much like the High Sparrow, Sanders is not motivated by power or money, he is driven by his ideology and what he believes is right and just. While he was limited as a simple senator from Vermont, as his popularity grew, he realized the power of the mob and used it to influence even the most powerful and established politicians.
Now, emboldened by his supporters, he truly believes he is "of the people" and that his solutions are the only ones to solve the country's problems.
The dangerous thing about fighting an ideology is that, unlike a typical politician, he cannot be bought or intimidated. Sanders knows he's towards the end of his political career and is willing to bet it all on this campaign. Even if he loses, he believes his "revolution" will continue and his supporters will drive change in Washington.

4. Eyes turned to the GOP
Perhaps the best part about the current state of chaos in the Democratic is that for the past year they've been laughing at the dysfunction of the Republican party and its primaries.
Of course, the GOP is in worse shape and more fractured, but Democrats were grossly overlooking their own problems and missed the now obvious issues I laid out in 1, 2, and 3.

I still think a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump general election is inevitable, but how these issues play out in the long term will be interesting to watch.

Additionally, the next few months will be made even more exciting as a Libertarian candidate will be chosen soon. While still not much of a threat to win the election, a third party candidate will definitely garner a lot of attention and could garner the most votes since Ross Perot in 1992 (recent polls show Gary Johnson at 10% vs Hillary and Trump).
Dissatisfaction with both candidates will only grow as the direct attacks do (they are the two most disliked candidates in history) and, much like Perot in '92, could play spoiler to either party's bid.

Finally, I think I'll play around with the Presidential Election as 'Game of Thrones' idea a bit more. Maybe following up with another post on it later.

Thoughts on the concept or anything else?

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