Bernie Sanders has achieved something I never thought possible: he causes me to experience mild enthusiasm for the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
Oh, how I tire of the sanctimonious lecturing from the lofty heights of permanent opposition; the wilful neglect of the reliaties and restraints of constitional government; the lack of scrutiny applied to a batshit-crazy platform that would expand the federal government by 50 percent, and has as much chance of passing as a basketball through a hose.
Of course the economy is rigged to benefit the top one percent, Bernie. Of course the campaign finance system is a rort. Bellowing these truisms from a rooftop of self-styled moral superiority has a political degree of difficulty of less than zero.
The question for somebody in the business of enacting change, as opposed to merely calling for it in front of adoring crowds, is how to confront and overcome such challenges in a political system designed to make doing so as difficult as possible.
Bernie has no interest in this, of course. Apart from his tenure of Mayor of Burlington, Bernie has luxuriated throughout his entire career in the warm bosom of the backbenches. Actually, scratch that: not the backbenches as much as the cross-benches, because, until Bernie decided he wanted to be the party's presidential standard-bearer, Sanders wasn't even a Democrat. Being member of a political party was beneath him; would implicate him in too many messy compromises and imperfect policy outcomes. Much safer to holler from the outer, like a soccer hooligan who lashes both teams with equal ferocity to demonstrate fealty to the purist conceivable manifestation of the sport.
Bernie cannot win more than a handful of minority voters. He has no plausible excuse for this. If any other candidate scored so poorly among blacks and Hispanics, the Bernie crowd would –– for good reason –– argue that such a person has no right to occupy the top of the Democratic ticket. White college towns and ethnically homogenous caucus states shouldn't be enough –– in 2016 for fuck's sake –– to propel any Democratic candidate in the vaguest direction of the White House.
As for head-to-head polls that show him stronger than Clinton in a general election match-up, here's two points:
1. Try as I might, I can't think of a single thing less meaningful than a general election poll in March;
2. Bernie has been subjected to next to no scrutiny (in contrast to Hillary, who's been scrutinised without pause for 25 years). As soon as swing voters get wind of his radically expansionist agenda, they would run a mile. Not that it will ever come to that.
So, Bernie, get back to the Senate where you belong (well, stay in the primary race if you like; it's only making Hillary stronger). Rage against the machine. Fight the good fight. But stop this charade that you have anything near what it takes to occupy the White House in anything other than an Aaron Sorkin-penned fantasy.