Can Sanders actually win the nomination?

posted at 2:01 pm on January 14, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Perhaps a better question might be whether Democrats, from Barack Obama and Joe Biden on down, believe Bernie Sanders can beat Hillary Clinton to the nomination. One might also ask whether Hillary herself has suddenly realized just how vulnerable she is, for that matter. On that point, as Guy Benson writes, the answer is a definite yes — and Team Hillary is finally acting like it:

The attack on universal, single-payer healthcare is especially noteworthy. Hillary tried passing a similar system during Bill Clinton’s first term in office, and it resulted in losing the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Suddenly, Hillary wants to make Bernie look like a fringe candidate for supporting essentially what she proposed 23 years ago:

Socialist Bernie Sanders — whose proposed tax-and-spend binge makes President Obama’s unprecedented debt accrual look like child’s play — ought to be saluted for performing a valuable public service. By turning up the heat on his liberal rival, he’s forced Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment to unequivocally acknowledge, on the record, that implementing a single-payer government-run healthcare system would require battering middle class Americans with massive tax increases.  And what would taxpayers get in return? The nightmare of an even more bloated, unresponsive healthcare system that’s owned and operated by our incompetent federal bureaucracy.  “Medicare for all” may sound appealing at first, until one realizes that even with all of the taxes and service cuts (imposed to pay for Obamacare), that program is on a rapid and inexorable path to insolvency.  That’s arithmetic, not politics.  It’s also worth noting that the federal government administers healthcare for veterans, and for many Native Americans.

The former system is a corrupt, disgraceful mess, as evidenced in appalling detail during the recent VA scandal.  Lengthy wait lists for care were systemically covered up by bureaucrats determined to cook the books, in order to preserve funding and bonuses; hundreds of thousands of veterans died while awaiting care, an internal review determined.  And for those who finally do get access (wait lists haven’t improved, despite yet another large injection of taxpayer money) allegations and instances of substandard care are rampant.  Whistleblowers were punished.  Problems were deliberately whitewashed for political reasons. And abuses were wrongly downplayed, including by Hillary Clinton herself.

In another sign of desperation, the campaign sent Chelsea Clinton onto the campaign trail as an attack dog against Sanders. The Hill reports that the decision took Democrats aback, and have them worried about desperation creeping into Hillary’s campaign that could do real damage to the party:

Chelsea Clinton is stepping onto the 2016 battlefield against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a shift that some Democrats are interpreting as a sign of trouble for her mother’s presidential campaign.

Making her first solo appearance on the stump, Chelsea Clinton late Tuesday ripped Sanders over his proposals on healthcare and college affordability, arguing the White House hopeful wants to “dismantle” ObamaCare and Medicare.

Democrats have almost universally panned the attack, believing it to be ineffective and a misuse of her talents. …

“The thing that tells you as much as anything about [the Clinton campaign’s] current state of mind is Chelsea going on the attack. It tells you everything you need to know,” said one Democratic strategist. “That this [challenge from Sanders] is real and they’ve got to be freaking out.”

The attack caught many Democrats, including Sanders and his supporters, by surprise.

I’ll bet it did. Were Paul Begala and James Carville too busy, or did they realize that this was a lame attack and pass on the opportunity?

Larger figures than Begala and Carville may be concluding that Sanders can win, too. In my column for The Fiscal Times, I connect up a couple of dots from the last week or so, and wonder whether the Democratic establishment as it exists at the moment is signaling that they’d like to see that:

There may be other reasons for Clinton to worry. Over the last few months, Barack Obama had put gun control at the top of his priority list, a rare topic on which Sanders may be vulnerable with the progressive grassroots. As a Senator representing Vermont, where gun rights are prized, Sanders has walked a fine line.

Sensing the lead slipping away, Clinton has hit Sanders hard recently on gun issues in ads running in both Iowa and New Hampshire. However, Obama largely punted on his threats to use “executive actions” to force gun control, and offered one generic mention of “gun violence” in his final State of the Union address.  The lack of cover from Obama may well undermine the effectiveness of this attack.

At the same time, Obama shifted his focus in the address to Congress on issues much more closely associated with Sanders, such as income inequality and keeping “big banks or Big Oil or hedge funds” from writing the rules. Sanders has used the same warnings to hit Clinton over her ties to Wall Street and corporate interests. Joe Biden jumped into the fray as well, expressing his daily regret over not running for the nomination himself – and then noting that Sanders had more “authenticity” on these issues than Clinton.

Hillary was “stung” by Biden’s remarks, according to The Hill:

When Vice President Biden gave Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign a slight boost this week, some allies to Hillary Clinton couldn’t help but feel a little bruised.

“It stung a little, sure,” one longtime ally acknowledged. “How could it not?”

Just wait until she gets a chance to experience how a loss in Iowa and another in New Hampshire feels.

Update: Worth considering. You can bet that Team Hillary already knows it.

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Comment pages: 1 2

LOL, notice how Kenny never denies being a troll in his post? Great standup!

Del Dolemonte on January 14, 2016 at 4:42 PM

I’m perfectly aware of how you think of me, I also don’t care…

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 6:03 PM

But your main problem is it’s not “us” overstating Hillary’s problems; if you had actually read the entire post all the way to the bottom you would see that it’s Real Clear Politics who are “overstating” that she is collapsing this time even faster than she collapsed in 2008.

Care to “blow RCP’s numbers out of the water,” or are you going to continue to rely on your British Bookies to make you feel better about your totally unaccomplished and totally unqualified “candidate”?

Del Dolemonte on January 14, 2016 at 4:42 PM

Well I could just point out that she’s about 7 points higher than she was during the worst part of the email ‘scandal’. She shot back up once that evaporated. Maybe this time it is more meaningful…but then again maybe not.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 6:06 PM

If Bernie wins, I want one of those Bern phones.

woodhull on January 14, 2016 at 6:07 PM

Well I could just point out that she’s about 7 points higher than she was during the worst part of the email ‘scandal’. She shot back up once that evaporated. Maybe this time it is more meaningful…but then again maybe not.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 6:06 PM

You think that was the worst part of the email scandal?

You haven’t noticed that the FBI has now admitted they are investigating the corruption in the Clinton Foundation and the pay for play with foreign governments, between the nation’s State Department and pockets of Bill Clinton?… information revealed in the emails.

The FBI now has hundreds of investigators dedicated to the unprecedented corruption.

You haven’t noticed the latest emails show that Hillary had emails stripped of their classified designation so she could have them faxed to her non-secure government server?

And that stripping the designation also is used to hide those documents in an investigation and for court orders?

You think the email scandal is over?

The email scandal has barely begun my friend.

petunia on January 14, 2016 at 6:21 PM

California, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Minnesota…

Just a few places where Clinton is leading Sanders…for now.

TYCapitalism on January 14, 2016 at 6:26 PM

Obama just stated that Michele will not, no way, will not run.

And that worries me for obvious reasons.

Meremortal on January 14, 2016 at 6:49 PM

not even y’all can muster up hatred for The Bern.

everdiso on January 14, 2016 at 3:23 PM

Hatred?! I’m voting for him in the primary!

Serious Drivel on January 14, 2016 at 6:54 PM

You think the email scandal is over?

The email scandal has barely begun my friend.

petunia on January 14, 2016 at 6:21 PM

Uh huh. At least from the perspective of public perception that was the worst part of the email scandal to date. You are welcome to believe it will get worse than that at some point in the future.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 6:55 PM

Have you ever, once, in your life thought that the markets were overvaluing something?

Of course not. You don’t even know what I’m asking.

blink on January 14, 2016 at 7:22 PM

Personally I don’t think markets are very good at predictions at all. But the point is conservatives have insisted for decades that markets are absolutely infallible. So, you know, I have no problem making you eat that as a big sh*t sandwich.

Have another bite, blink!

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:24 PM

Y’all do realize that if Sanders becomes a real threat; well … Sanders IS 74 years old. Even taking a walk in Fort Marcy Park could be enough to finish him off.

Subotai Bahadur on January 14, 2016 at 7:29 PM

Says the guy that’s constantly citing them.

Because of the power they have over conservatives. You should learn that using evidence your audience finds compelling is effective.

You’ve tried this stupidity before. Conservatives have never said they were infallible.

blink on January 14, 2016 at 7:43 PM

So you’ve never read anything any conservative has ever written. Okay.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:50 PM

The democrats top tier candidates: An old scabby whore and a communist. That’s a real sweet ticket.

Old eagle on January 15, 2016 at 1:25 AM

Boinee Sanders? Noice!!

Wasn’t he a Colonel during the Cuban Revolution under Castro?

Didn’t he cross paths briefly with Michael Corlione?

Sherman1864 on January 15, 2016 at 5:03 AM

No. But not because he’d lose to Hillary.

As I first said the week of the 4th of July, once it becomes apparent Hillary is going down for any reason – emails, corruption, record of failure, health, drinking, doesn’t matter why – Biden will enter the race for the good of the party, and win.

He’s acceptable to the far left, having been one of the more liberal Senators for over 30 years. He’s never made enemies of the Clintons or their machine, and he is the obvious choice to represent the Obama legacy.


He couldn’t win the general unless we screw up and nominate Trump or Cruz, but that’s not the point. Joe would give the down-ticket a fighting chance, at least. With Bernie or Hillary heading the ticket, it could be the final debacle top to bottom that finishes the modern Democratic Party, and their interest groups will do anything to postpone that day.

Adjoran on January 15, 2016 at 5:10 AM

Trump would win in a landslide over Col. Sanders

Senator Philip Bluster on January 14, 2016 at 2:08 PM

That’s what I said about the junior senator from Illinois with the funny name.

Rational Thought on January 14, 2016 at 3:57 PM

I seem to remember that a ham sandwich could beat the Iwon …
twice …. I am buying more popcorn … gonna be interesting …

conservative tarheel on January 15, 2016 at 8:04 AM

I think democrats are suffering from Trump envy. They have been watching as all the excitement has been on Trump and they desperately want their own outsider. Sanders is benefiting from Hillary’s unlikeability. They know she is a corrupt influence peddler and so they are flocking to Sanders to be their Trump. They want an outsider and despite being in congress for 20+ years they think because he calls himself an independent, well, that’s good enough. Also, I expect Hillary to fight back, she has the money, staff, and connections to dig up the dirt on Bernie and she most certainly will.

Dollayo on January 15, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Since there are no Democrats in the race at all, I guess they might nominate anybody…

Snowshooze on January 15, 2016 at 7:18 PM

Maybe the Democrat party could have a brokered convention to see if they can find a Democrat to represent them.
Wouldn’t that be a load of fun?

Snowshooze on January 15, 2016 at 7:59 PM

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