Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Is U.S. of A. ready for a socialist prez? Or, can Hillary be thwarted again?

We’ve been hearing the rhetoric about how Hillary R. Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president for so long that it feels like it already has happened.

SANDERS: The next Obama? Or Bill Richardson?
Which is probably why there are some Democrats who are eager to find someone else, anybody else, to nominate for the 2016 election cycle.

IT SEEMS SIMILAR to 2008, when the then-former first lady and senator from New York tried running for president by creating the sense of inevitability. She was going to happen. Resisting was a waste of time.

Except that we got the whole Barack Obama phenomenon and a long, drawn-out primary that resulted in Hillary having to settle for Secretary of State (which actually was the best move in that it gave her a legitimate legacy of her own).

This time, Clinton is once again pushing that sense of inevitability – to the point where people are pushing the theme of the general election being between Clinton and whichever of the 15-or-so nitwits running on the Republican side manages to get that nomination.

But then we’re getting Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont who has put himself into the mix for the Democratic Party nomination – even though he’s technically NOT a Democrat.

SANDERS, FOR THOSE who haven’t paid much attention, is the guy who actually ran initially as a socialist. Although he now goes out of his way to declare himself to be a political independent – even though he usually falls into the Democratic caucus for practicality’s sake.

CLINTON: Is it finally her turn? Will it ever be?
I’m sure there are those people who are now thinking to themselves, “There’s no way this country elects a socialist as president.”

Then again, I’m sure they were arguing seven years ago that, “There’s no way this country elects a black man as president.” Besides, there are those people who like to use the “independent” label politically that they may give Bernie a second glance.

The times (to quote Bob Dylan), they are a changin’. Just look at last week, where the people who rant about the merits of the Confederate battle flag got reduced publicly to the level of the crackpots that many of us always knew they were.

POLLS SHOW THAT Sanders may not totally get his butt whomped against Clinton. A poll by WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H., had Clinton leading Sanders by 8 percentage points. Also, it had 45 percent of those surveyed saying Sanders “cares the most about people like you,” compared to 24 percent who thinks Hillary is more like them.

WALKER: His turf's being invaded Wednesday
Of course, you can argue that with Sanders being from New Hampshire’s neighboring state, he ought to be competitive against Hillary.

Similar to how back in 2008, the campaign started up with an Obama victory over Clinton in the Iowa caucus in large part because Iowans had heard of the senator from neighboring Illinois.

Perhaps he ought to be running neck and neck with Clinton. Then again, there is still eight months before people have to start actually casting ballots. Who knows who will change their minds between now and then? Voters can be so fickle!

SO WHAT SHOULD we think of Sanders – who on Wednesday will be the focus of a rally in Madison, Wis., where he’ll also be able to get on the nerves of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – who on Tuesday put out his latest fundraising plea for his own presidential fantasies. Sanders won’t be alone.

There will be members of the Chicago Southland for Bernie Sanders on hand, people from those Far South Side neighborhoods and surrounding suburban communities who will deem it worthy of their time to get on a bus bound for Wisconsin.

They’re even talking about sending people to Iowa to do the legwork of campaigning for Sanders. Who does have a gap to fill – one national voter poll had 59 percent backing Clinton to 15 percent for Sanders.

Then again, I recall back in ’07 when Obama’s name recognition nationally was nil (“Wasn’t he the guy who gave a speech at the Democratic Convention?,” was probably the way most people thought of him). That’s probably the same fantasy the Sanders backers are having now.


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