Politico has a piece speculating about what a Sanders administration would actually look like. Some of it is based upon what Sanders has said about his own priorities and people he’d like to see in his cabinet. The rest is based on talk among his campaign staff. The staff hasn’t officially started making lists of people who’d be invited into a Sanders administration but they’ve talked about it. The person at the top of the list, as I mentioned yesterday, is Elizabeth Warren:
When it comes to the vice presidency, nearly everyone around him believes that if he became the Democratic nominee, a likely choice would be Warren, his friend and ideological bedfellow. It is not a lock. But according to at least two people close to Sanders’ campaign, she would likely have the right of first refusal…
When Cenk Uygur asked him on “The Young Turks” in 2016 about the potential composition of his Cabinet, Sanders named five people: Cohen, who told me he does not envision himself in the White House, but “in the streets”; Bill McKibben, the environmentalist and author; Robert Reich, the Clinton-era Labor secretary; RoseAnn DeMoro, former executive director of National Nurses United; and Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO…
For attorney general: Former Rep. Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota, or Zephyr Teachout, the former New York attorney general candidate, or Sen. Cory Booker. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, has a shot at Education secretary. Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the mayor of Jackson, Miss., or Ben Jealous, the former NAACP president, could run Housing and Urban Development. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who introduced the House version of the Medicare for All bill, or Don Berwick, who was Medicare administrator under President Barack Obama and advised Warren on her health care plan, could land at Health and Human Services.
Sanders first order of business would be to undo all of President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and sign new executive orders dealing with DACA. He would also “revoke federal permits” for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines and prevent drilling on federal lands. There is a fair amount Sanders could do to damage the economy and create a new crisis at the border with the stroke of a pen. But that’s probably where his ability to make major domestic changes grinds to a halt. As some moderate Democrats told Politico, Sanders is too ideological and polarizing to govern:
James Carville, the former Bill Clinton strategist, said a magazine article like this one about a Sanders presidency belongs in the “fiction section.” Matt Bennett of the center-left group Third Way envisioned a failed presidency that splintered the Democratic Party. “I can imagine a world of almost pure stasis where nothing whatsoever happens, because he’s too radical for his own party, not to mention the opposing party,” Bennett said. “He is too ideological to govern.” You can envision moderate Democrats like him forming a noisy faction of the “Never Bernie” opposition.
Where Sanders could have a big impact is foreign policy. He would likely remove us from military operations in the Middle East and withdraw from contending with China and Iran. Foreign policy toward Israel would probably change quite a bit. And as someone who has been a fan of every left-wing government expect warming relations with Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and of course China.
All of this sounds to me like a nightmare come to life. The economy would grind to a halt as taxes and energy prices began to rise thanks to a flood of new spending and government regulation. Debt would well rocket beyond its already worrisome levels. Leftist autocrats around the world would be emboldened even as America’s strength was withdrawn from the world stage. It would be Jimmy Carter 2: Electric Boogaloo. The only upside I can see is that after four years of Sanders, most Americans would be ready to elect the next Ronald Reagan.
But the good news is that Sanders probably can’t win. We just ran a version of this election in the UK and the far-left candidate lost in a landslide. I don’t know what it would take for Sanders to win here in the US, maybe a recession or maybe another 20 years of socialist propaganda, but it doesn’t seem likely in 2020.