In two weeks, the first votes will be in, as the Iowa caucus will take place. The battle for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency is shaping up to be a classic. The Media is already trying to label the race as being one of choosing between what ones head or what ones heart wants. I’ve even heard that in a simplistic way, a writer labeled the race as being between a person who is a revolutionary versus the other major player being a candidate who is more evolutionary. My fellow Americans, the choice is not that simple, but of this we can be certain, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have passionate supporters, and they support change, change inspired by wanting to help the lives of the American people better.
Bernie Sanders is asking for a political revolution. Perhaps the word revolution is too dramatic, because the word revolution implies that a dramatic change will occur that is often violent in nature. But no, alas, he is asking for change, yes, but the change is to get America moving again. He is asking for America to return the power of self governing back to the people. This is not revolutionary, this is who we are and who we were. What is revolutionary is that the power now resides in the top 1 to 2% of the people. What is revolutionary is the coup that took place that the media ignored. While no one was noticing wages became stagnant and income inequality grew and grew, and political power went from the people to the oligarchs who buy our elected officials. Do you feel the bern?
The race to the White House between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is going to be a hard fought and a lengthy battle for the nomination. The Democratic Party is lucky that each candidate has ideas and a vision for the future to offer the American people.
The question of competence or the question of who might be the more effective President is a fair one. In the year of the outsider it might be helpful to remember how the dictionary defines competence. Competence is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently, with proficiency, skill and expertise. Being a politician is not for the faint of heart. Being a successful politician and or a successful president requires different skill sets. Winning an election requires of a candidate to present themselves to the public for their trust and approval and most importantly for their votes. Likability is often a key to success when it comes to being elected. But what happens after you win should be a consideration in choosing your candidate. Who will be able to work with Congress and get things done must be a consideration in who you choose. Being the loudest or the most revolutionary candidate does not guarantee success, but rather it is often how you can work with others that makes a person a successful and competent leader.
A key argument that Hillary Clinton states is that she will continue the legacy of President Obama and be able to change things incrementally by being able to cajole and convince Congress to do the right thing for the people. This is a strong argument for many Democrats. It seems to be a fact that rarely if ever does the revolutionary candidate win. He or she might push the candidate who promises slower change further and faster along the path of change but is he or she the best person to get the job done is the question.
Let’s take the argument over health care for example. Hillary Clinton wants to improve what we now have which is the ACA or as others call it Obamacare.
Bernie Sanders wants Medicare for all. This is a position that many Democrats want, but is it a realistic option at this time? We have a Republican Congress who wants to scuttle the ACA, even though millions of Americans now have health care that did not have it before. Yes, we still have too many who are uninsured, and yes good health is a right and not a privilege. But let us be realistic, the ACA, only passed by 1 vote in the House of Representatives. There is no indication that the Democratic Party will win back the House. They may regain the Senate but it takes both houses of Congress to pass a law and the signature of the President to make it become a law.
Is Bernie Sanders serious about presenting Medicare for All to Congress when he knows it can’t pass or is this an election ploy smartly used to curry favor with the left wing of the Democratic Party? It would have no chance of passing Congress. We don’t need a President who will tilt at windmills and ask for the impossible. It might be a teaching moment to re-acquaint the public with the idea of Medicare for all, but is his proposal more revealing of his being a candidate and possibly a future president who will be unrealistic?
Hillary Clinton on the other hand presents herself as being the candidate to vote for to be revolutionary in other ways. She would be the first woman president. She offers the voter competence, and pragmatism. She offers incremental change.
Right now Bernie Sanders does really well in the polling versus any Republican candidate. But hold on a minute, the Republicans have had over 20 years to use the politics of character assassination, against Hillary Clinton. They have not even gotten warmed up regarding what the personal attacks will be like against Bernie. One thing you see already is that they will not refer to him just as a socialist but as a communist. The talk will be that Bernie wants a classless society and all of the nonsense that goes along with their willful misunderstanding of what a democratic socialist is. They will say that Bernie wants to turn America into Europe.
What this exciting drama that is about to unfold between Hillary and Bernie will be about is who will win the big delegate states and who will have the best organization to get out the votes. Do not for one moment discount the importance and power of Hillary Clinton possibly becoming the first woman President and finally breaking the greatest of all glass ceilings. Do not underestimate the long term relationships she has developed with voters among the minority communities. She has now in a smart political move wrapped herself in the cloak of being the candidate who will ensure the continuing legacy of President Barrack Obama’s programs. Hillary Clinton is a force to be reckoned with. Democrats have a tough choice to make. For Democrats let us not forget what the end game is all about, and that is the importance of winning in November. Losing is not an option!