The Daily Banter

Bernie Sanders Might Be Running, But He’ll Never Be President

Apologies if you’ve heard this one before.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) dials the customer service number for his cell provider. An automated voice on the other end says, “Press one for English and two for Spanish. Para Espanol, oprime el dos.” Sanders replies, “Fine, but first let me tell you about the middle class…”

No other senator of either party is quite as good as Sanders when it comes to pivoting to his agenda, and there’s ultimately nothing wrong with Sanders’s agenda. Middle class, middle class, middle class. He’s a decent senator and remains tremendously popular in his state and among the broader far-left. But don’t count on him winning the Democratic nomination in 2016. He has even less of a chance at winning the presidency in a national election. There’s no real way to objectively quantify the reasons why, but being a self-identified socialist is a big one. He’s just not really presidential material and he’s not mainstream enough to win nationally. Plus, even though he caucuses with the Democrats, he’s spent his entire Senate career as an independent. The party cares about things like that, and tends to reward loyalty — not fair-weather friends who only climb aboard when it’s convenient.

Sanders plans to run anyway but supporters would be well-served to keep their hopes for victory firmly planted in the reality of presidential politics. Candidates like Sanders, or guys like Mike Gravel or Dennis Kucinich, always say they’re running to win, but it’s never actually true. It’s all about getting the message out. Bernie Sanders will run almost exclusively for those moments during the debates when he’ll be able to pivot the conversation from anything else to middle class, middle class, middle class. He also won’t mind having “presidential candidate” on his list of accomplishments. He is, after all, a politician who will eventually want to collect some decent speaking fees.

But there will surely be… CONTINUE READING

(ht Jason Kalafat)