The 2016 Presidential election may end up being a snore fest depending on the nominees, but the months prior to the nominations being solidified seemed destined to be unique. Then again, they may also seem to be eerily familiar to Hillary Clinton who is watching a once-dominant lead whither away like it did in 2008.
While similar, it’s definitely not the same. This is a different Hillary Clinton, a better one though one that is loaded with more personal challenges to her credibility. More importantly, Bernie Sanders is not Barack Obama. He is stronger than Obama in some ways, but he doesn’t have the cross-generational charisma that helped Obama rise meteorically. Instead, Sanders, appeals less the younger generation that believes in his socialist principles and the older generation that simply doesn’t like Clinton. In the middle, the pragmatic thirty- and forty-somethings form her formidable base.
Where Barack Obama represented hope, Bernie Sanders represents angst. Where Barack Obama represented fresh concepts and a statement of progress by being the first black President, Bernie Sanders represents a return to the norm of old white men running the country. Both of these concepts favor Obama’s victory over Clinton while damaging Sanders’ chances, but there’s one more component that must be considered.
While Obama tried desperately to avoid the idea of having a socialist economic plan, preferring to focus on social liberalism instead, Sanders is the complete picture. Whether it’s the military, taxes, minority rights, gay rights, women’s rights, or income equality, Sanders is unabashedly left and a declared socialist. While it’s hard to imagine as conservatives an America that is willing to bow down to a socialist ideology, we must understand that there are many people who can be easily manipulated to believe that socialism can work… for them in particular.
This is a powerful force. Sanders will appeal to the selfishness of the individual while giving them the righteous rallying call of income equality. This will work on those who feel entitled and unfortunately there are a lot of them. Then, there are the “euro-snobs,” the American thinking elite that believe that we have it all wrong in America and if we were as progressive as Europe we would be a better fit for the 21st century.
There’s one other notion that should worry those who want Clinton to be the nominee. She’s taking on the role of picking up the Obama mantle and carrying it on as his “third term.” It might work, considering that he’s still a popular President. Then again, it could backfire greatly, particularly if the economy, the Middle East, or terrorism in America take turns for the worse during the primary season.
Whether we like it or not, there’s a path for Sanders to emerge with the nomination. The real question that conservatives should be asking is whether or not we want that to happen.
In Short, No
Hillary Clinton is a weak politician and a weak candidate. She is corrupt; even her supporters don’t completely believe her. She is someone that Ted Cruz could easily defeat with his principled style of governance and most of the other candidates would have a good chance against her.
With Sanders, it’s hard to tell whether or not he could win the general election. Common sense tells us that a socialist could never win the White House, but if we’ve learned anything this election cycle it’s that common sense has no place in the 2016 political scope. He’s a wildcard while Clinton is clearly a weak opponent.
Does this mean that we need to go out bashing Sanders? No. For the Republican party to win the White House, we need the Democratic nomination process to be drawn out as long as possible. The sooner it’s certain one or the other will be the nominee, the sooner they’ll be able to focus on the general election. The Republican nominee will almost certainly go through a long fight. We need the Democrats to fight each other as long as possible.
Whether or not Bernie Sanders can win the nomination will remain unclear until March. However, if you watch the GOP debates, one would believe that Hillary Clinton has already won. This is a mistake. Sanders must be considered.