I have read many disturbing opinions by seasoned veterans of past political wars who claim that recent bickering between the two democratic candidates are increasing Trump’s odds of actually winning the election come November. Some have proposed that the Democratic Party is as badly split, fatally fractured, as the GOP. On the surface, that might seem a logical conclusion, but upon reading Bill Press’ column in Opinionated last Sunday, I began to look beyond the surface and view things from a different perspective.
The republican party, which was broken long before Donald Trump threw his hat in the ring last June, is still broken. It does not matter how many republican governors, senators, representatives and party leaders now endorse Trump, it is still broken. Words are a funny thing … once spoken, they never truly go away. They take up residence in the minds of those who heard them, and while they may be forgiven, they are never truly forgotten. Nearly every politico who has recently endorsed Trump previously condemned and criticized him. You can switch trains in mid-track, but the train you were on is still there. It causes a thinking person to stop and wonder how sincere their endorsement of da trumpeter really is? My best guess is that GOP leadership, in their scramble to pull the party into some semblance of cohesion, of unification, has issued both promises and threats to its members. Remember how ill Chris Christie looked when he announced his endorsement of Trump? He was promised something that he apparently believed was of greater value than his integrity. So, though the GOP may be chortling over the recent escalation in conflict between Clinton and Sanders, their own closet is chock full of skeletons that, I think, will begin making appearances soon enough.
Now, undeniably the heat has been turned up on the democratic side as well, but there are some major differences. The points of contention between the two democratic candidates are policy-based, not personal attacks. Clinton accuses Sanders of promising more to the people than he could ever possibly deliver, while Sanders questions her ties to Wall Street. Neither have ever referred to the other as “ugly”, or a “pathological liar”, or a “narcissist”, as Trump has referred to various of the original 16 competitors from time to time. Additionally there is always, despite heated debate, an element of respect between Sanders and Clinton, with him referring to her as Secretary Clinton and she referring to him as Senator Sanders. Quite a contrast, I think, from Trump referring to Ted Cruz as “lyin’ Ted”, or calling Marco Rubio “little Marco”, a crude reference to either Rubio’s height or their previous discussion about the size of their … hands.
Debate on policy-related issues is a healthy thing, and serves to educate the public. Most who have watched any of the debates or Sunday morning television interviews have a pretty good idea of the policy platforms of both Sanders and Clinton. If not, both can easily be found online in numerous places around the internet. In contrast, followers of Trump are at a loss when it comes to pinpointing what actual policies comprise his platform, or ‘agenda’ as he prefers to call it, mainly because he has so few and those that he does have change from week to week. He prefers to mobilize his followers with hate speech, ranting and raving, name-calling and bluster.
This week, Clinton declined an invitation to debate Sanders before the June 7th California primary. The media would suggest this is a snub, but I disagree. They have had ten debates already. The previous debates covered every policy issue imaginable, these two candidates have not wavered in their positions throughout the campaign, so I ask, what is there to be gained by wasting time and money with yet another? The media remind me of a bloodthirsty pack of hyenas, licking their chops and hoping for a feast. Go over to the other side, guys, I am sure you will find plenty to love over there. Meanwhile, let Clinton and Sanders focus on their campaigns and defeating the real enemy.
Bill Press offers the following advice to both democratic candidates: “Sanders supporters must remember that Hillary Clinton’s the most experienced and best qualified presidential candidate in our lifetime, prepared to step into the Oval Office on day one. Clinton supporters must acknowledge that Bernie Sanders has re-energized the Democratic Party by putting forth a bold progressive agenda with tremendous popular appeal. We’d be lucky with either one of them as our next president. And, of course, from now on both sides must focus most of their fire on Donald Trump.”
Both the RNC (Republican National Committee) and the DNC (Democratic National Committee) have problems within their organization. The primary/caucus system is a deplorable mess and absolutely must be revamped before the beginning of the 2020 election season (which will probably start early next year!) The chairs of both parties are ineffectual, at best. The democrats ‘super delegates’ are a sham, a ‘fail-safe’ to enable the party leaders to retain some level of control over who ultimately becomes the party’s nominee. These are things that must be addressed. But the democratic party, overall, will withstand the test of Clinton vs. Sanders, just as it withstood the test of Obama vs. Clinton eight years ago.
There is too much at stake for it to be otherwise, for it is not only the Presidency, but also the Senate, House, and Supreme Court. And one final reason: the very thought of a Trump presidency is the recipe for nightmares far beyond anything we have seen so far. At the end of the day, I foresee Clinton and Sanders working together, doing their best for the selected nominee, to defeat Trump and ward off the nightmare. I am not, however, suggesting or even supporting the idea of Sanders as Clinton’s running mate, as I believe he can do more good overall by staying in the Senate. Time will tell.