About two years ago, on Twitter I started following this odd American politician. A man named Bernie Sanders. I thought to myself this man can’t be a Republican or Democrat. He’s saying what neither party could ever countenance let alone tolerate. Neither of the two conservative American parties would touch him for a second.
Then I found out that Sanders is the independent senator for the state of Vermont. And then after that I researched him a little further. He’s been around a long time. It’s clear and consistent what he stands for. And tellingly he’s saying now what he’s been saying for years.
And surprisingly enough that gives Bernie Sanders an almost unbreachable shield. It’s difficult to mount attack ads and craft slogans against someone like him. Voters will nod dully. They’ll say we heard Bernie say that before. He’s being saying these things for years. Besides it’s difficult to criticise someone who’s so far ahead of his time that now the world has just caught up to him.
And now he’s running for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Against the already presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. And people are waking up to this truly maverick politician. And something very interesting might happen.
Clinton is almost unbeatable for the Democratic nomination. She has too much money, a massive network, extraordinary media clout and a long record of experience. Her campaign has already learnt the lessons from her defeat in 2008 and Obama’s victories then and in 2012. They have obviously learnt how to capitalise on her time as an effective Secretary of State and new York senator. Further Hillary Clinton cleverly has already ensured that President Obama has more or less endorsed her. But she won’t be able to touch Bernie Sanders. And that is why her campaign is worried.
Her main threat should be from the Republicans. As a party, they have prepared for her candidacy for a long time in fact since she was First Lady and senator for New York. They’ve readied the attack ads and slogans.
But that won’t matter. It won’t matter regardless of whether the GOP has a Tea Party candidate, running mate or both. It won’t matter as the GOP will appear to be as they actually are. Divided and unelectable as shown by the antics of Donald Trump. Even if Trump’s latest tantrum results in him running as an independent, it will probably make things worse for the hapless Republicans. Besides they can’t even pass laws on road repairs (with a majority in both Houses!).
In normal times, a divided and ramshackle Republican party would mean an easy run for Clinton. In theory, that is, unless Sanders loses and listens to his followers. They will clamour for him to run as an independent. And Sanders being an independent will do just that. Then it will become interesting indeed.