I Love Bernie But He Can’t Beat Trump

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The one question, indeed, almost the only question that causes more obsessive nightmares among Democrats is who can beat Trump? Biden, Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobachar, and even Deval Patrick have run almost exclusively on the vow that they are the Democrats who can oust Trump. They make the claim on two grounds. One, they are centrists and can talk the language of the low income less educated, low income rural and blue-collar voters in the five states that will decide he White House. Two, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are too left wing, too radical to get any listen from those voters.

Biden and company might well not be the answer to the Trump in the end. But they are probably right about Warren, and definitely right about Sanders. It’s painful for me to say that because Bernie has been not a breath but a desperately needed gale of fresh air to American politics.

He’s a throwback to a time when politicians actually talked about the issues and not such idiocies as the hair styling, make-up, dress, and facial expressions of their opponents, or endlessly toss out silly sound bite personal insults, digs, barbs, dirt or about at them.
Sanders is much more than a gentleman-politician. His proposals to tackle wealth and income inequality, corral Wall Street abuses, back a top dollar minimum wage, and a massive job creation program is a dream come true for progressives.

This is why he’s seen as almost the second coming of the Messiah to many, and from the moment he mounted a virtual one man crusade against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party establishment in 2016 has been the hope and dream of millions of frustrated, mad, discontented, and energized progressives and young persons. The starry-eyed rock star size crowds he draws to all his rallies and chasing close to Biden in the polls is proof of that. Packing an arena with tens of thousands of screaming, adoring fans looks impressive and gives the feel that there’s a real winning mass movement afoot for the candidate. But Sanders’ big crowds have come in cities such as Portland and Los Angeles that are majority white, liberal or both.

That’s just the first in the checklist of why Bernie can’t beat Trump. He is a socialist, yes, I know a Democratic socialist. Toss out the millennial’s approval of a socialist candidate, and polls consistently show that a majority of voters will not vote against an African American, a woman, Jew, or a gay Lesbian, solely because of their race, gender or sexual preference. They will vote against a socialist. That’s not just conservatives or GOP leaning voters. That’s a sizeable number of Democrats and a majority of Independents too. That’s just the start. Let’s go down the rest of the list.

1.California and NY don’t decide the White House Florida and the four heartland states do.
2. Trump’s base is dominant in those states.
3. Medicare for all and open borders are the kiss of death for a Democrat in those states. Warren has already backed from Medicare for all. BUT Bernie hasn’t.
4. Back to Bernie’s socialism tag. It is a monster scare for the majority in those states. Trump will red bait him to death with the tag.
5. Trump will hammer home that if you put Bernie in there and you’ll get big taxes, big
government, and federal control of your health care
6.Many of those centrist Democrats will never back Bernie and they are crucial to any Democratic candidates chances.
7. Bernie’s base though passionate, and young, is not vote deep enough to offset the onslaught from Trump’s energized base against him in those states.
8. Moderate and conservative independents are a huge vote force, though many loathe Trump, with the thought of a socialist in the White House they will either hold their noses and vote for Trump or not vote for president at all. Again, Democrats need their votes to win.
9. Money and media; Trump will have it all and a United GOP in those states especially against a Sanders.
10. America despite the fantasies of progressive is still a core a right centrist country.
It’s no accident that early in presidential political games, the GOP presidential candidate(s) run to the hard right. Democrats run to the left. Sanders is the all-time best example of that. However, in the stretch run when the Democrats and the GOP get down to the real business of weeding out the field. The final nominees quickly move to the center. The two rare exceptions to this rule were the rightist 1964 GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater and the leftist 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern. They were crushed in the general election. The electorate deemed both to radical. That’s to say, I love Bernie, but he can’t beat Trump.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of Who Can Beat Trump? (Amazon ebook). He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network

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