Can anyone really imagine Bernie Sanders in the White House?

Despite Sanders’s rhetorical fire, he once again failed to demonstrate the range or the realism the presidency requires. He began the night with a couple obligatory lines on the Paris attacks, but he pivoted back to his one-note message about economic inequality and billionaires so quickly it was jarring.

Then, challenged to explain how he would make good on his rhetoric, Sanders repeated his lines about leading a “political revolution” in which Americans will press his agenda forward against the wishes of the billionaires. “What we need is leadership in this country which revitalizes American democracy and makes people understand that if they stand up and fight back and take on the billionaire class, we can bring about the change that we need,” he said.

This is not a serious answer to a question about political reality, in large part because the billionaire class is not the only reason Congress wouldn’t ever approve his program. Sanders’s is a version of the same pitch we hear every four years from one presidential primary candidate or another: If we rise up, Americans will realize that they really agree with us, political incentives will reverse and we will have to compromise less. That sort of thinking has done wonders for Republican Party lately.

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