If I switched a couple of names around in a headline I noticed this morning it could have come from any GOP establishment advocate during this election cycle. The article in question comes from Jay Michaelson at the Daily Beast who is an unapologetic Hillary Clinton supporter. (Nothing unusual there.) But there was a certain familiar ring to the warning he issues to his fellow Democrats when he says, a vote for Bernie Sanders is a vote for Donald Trump.
Dear Bernie Voter,
Unlike many Clinton supporters, I am not writing to you because I think you’re naïve, or misguided, or sexist, or dumb, or any of the other patronizing and condescending crap that Hillary voters often say. In fact, I probably agree with you on most issues. I am writing to you because I am sincerely worried that you will hand this election to the Republicans, and I want to do my best to convince you not to do so.
The point of primary elections is not to select a president; it’s to select a candidate. For that reason, “electability” is not just one among many issues: it is the central issue. Yet despite having absorbed several dozen pro-Bernie articles and videos, I have yet to hear a plausible path to victory for Bernie Sanders.
The list of reasons Jay launches into after that is really beyond question on the technical merits. In fact, it’s the same set of reasons that many conservatives have cited when crossing their fingers in the hopes that the Democrats might somehow pass over Hillary Clinton and send the Vermont senator to the big show next fall. He’s a socialist. He wants to raise taxes to a point where even Democrats will balk. His proposals are unrealistic and will never make it through a divided Congress. We’ve heard it all before and most of us on the starboard side of the political ship would likely be nodding our heads in agreement.
But isn’t this what we keep hearing from supporters of Rubio, Bush or Kasich in the GOP primary? A vote for Trump is a vote for Hillary! Despite the fact that some early polling actually showed Trump beating Clinton in a head to head match-up, it still gets repeated to this day. The argument goes that we need to stick with what’s safe and known. On our side it’s a selection from the Bush, Rubio, Kasich triad. Across the aisle, it’s Clinton… the known, familiar pattern of 20th century American politics.
And yet something has changed over the past couple of years. Trump continues to lead in the polls nationally even after he did the equivalent of setting a puppy on fire during the last debate, at least as viewed by the traditional media. And Bernie continues to rise, while still not overtaking Clinton in the national polls. Yes… something has changed. But at the same time, it’s almost refreshing to see the establishment Democrats in the same boat as the old school GOP, paddling along in the lane next to ours. So what happens to all of them if it actually winds up being a final race to the finish between Sanders and Trump?