Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hillary let Bernie storm into the race. Will she let the GOP do the same?

The Iowa caucuses are tomorrow. After about 15 agonizing months of endless, tooth-gnashing, hair-rending, bottomless, repetitive, redundant, unnecessary, and banal pre-electioneering buildup, some votes are finally about to be actually cast, in Election 2016.

I am a Bernie Sanders fan, and I believe in the agenda, the program, and the spirit of what he's offering the American people. To that end, I've ponied up a small chunk of change, and I hope everyone reading this will at least consider doing the same. That said, come November, should Hillary Clinton be on the ballot against the RepubliCons' Team Insanity, I will gladly do my part to help her win.

Most recent polling seems to indicate a tight race, with a slight Hillary advantage. But here's the thing:

Unless there is some massive Hillary blowout, that none of the polling has caught, Bernie Sanders has already won Iowa.

Bernie Sanders, the now permanently-italicized democratic socialist was not even supposed to be part of the conversation, in Iowa, in 2016; at least not if Team Hillary had its way . . . not if the party Establishment had its way, either. With his hard-progressive message, he has stormed out of New England like the New York Yankees of old, and the very fact that we are even discussing a POSSIBLE Sanders victory tomorrow is a testament to the strength of the kind of progressivism so many Americans are begging to see in our national conversations. No way was the gruffy "Old Professor" supposed to be a real threat to the "Polished Candidate;" it's not clear that Team Hillary even imagined that a populist, left-wing, people-powered campaign was an option this year, DESPITE the obvious indicators from the American progressive community.

Rather than attempt to surf the populist tide of indignation, Team Hillary has rallied herself to the billionaire class, and the party's monied elite. She has relied on her experience, mainstream centrism, and the bona fides of her lengthy resume (we dare not call it inevitability) to bolster her claim to the nomination. Her message of the last few days can charitably be called "pragmatic," while many of us on the Left are left with the unpleasant reverse echoes of Obama's 2008 trademark: "No we can't."

My memory's not entirely clear when exactly Team Hillary started "taking Bernie seriously." I suppose there were some indications that Secretary Clinton might be starting to see the potential problem with the insurgent Sanders candidacy in early December. This was months too late. Bernie was already a full-on phenomenon in progressive circles by August. At any rate, we are now talking about a VERY TIGHT RACE, which, regardless of who actually gets the most delegates tomorrow, will launch a contentious primary season in what, for Establishment Democrats TM, was presumed to be a cakewalk for Team Hillary.

This gets me to the real crux of the issue, and the title. If Team Hillary, resting on its certainty of victory, and gloriously blase about the chances of any other candidate, was so sanguine about Bernie Sanders, that they myopically let him define the race as "real progressive vs. Establishment . . . " and let's be real, Hillary has CERTAINLY ceded that talking point . . . who's to say Clinton won't be caught napping by a Trump or Cruz candidacy she doesn't take seriously EITHER?

There's a lot of talk about the GOoPers giving up on the White House this year, and how the Democrats are somehow a shoo-in for the Oval Office in 2016, due to the RepubliCons running a complete and obvious shitshow and whatnot. But I'm not so sure. While there's some logic to that type of thinking, I'm pretty worried that if Clinton DOES win the Democratic nomination this spring, she'll find a way to let el Trumpissimo or that dead-eyed snake, Ted Cruz, "make a race of it," when it should have been a slam dunk. In fact, Hillary Clinton has a pretty long record of allowing insurgent outsiders to get the best of her. Trump and/or Cruz (Tea Party dream ticket-??) may only be a recession away from getting he inside track anyway, in 2016. If the vaunted geniuses at Team Hillary are so prepared and ready and good-to-go and competent, and Up-to-Speed on Day One, why did they allow the democratic socialist to sneak in the back door in the Democratic primary? Why did they let the Old Professor define her as the Establishment candidate? Why are we event talking about who will win Iowa tomorrow?

Why should any progressive Democrat think the general election will be any different from the primary?

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