With the battle of NY over and most pundits concluding the delegate math is too daunting for Bernie Sanders to reach the convention ahead of Hillary Clinton in pledged delegates, the talk is turning to a “what’s next?” phase.
Sanders is not throwing in the towel yet as he owes a lot to his supporters for their donations and spirited enthusiasm at rallies and to further the causes that are near and dear to him and his followers. He will likely get to Philadelphia in July for the Democratic National Convention with a strong cache of support and tons of money remaining. #hocopoliticsAs such there is widespread fear among Democrats that the Sanders team will not unify behind Clinton in a way in which she did so when Barack Obama eventually amassed the number of delegates to win the nomination. A Democratic Party who is not fully behind the standard-bearer is something to be concerned about even if the Republican opponent is a flawed candidate like Donald Trump.
Despite the hand-wringing by GOP “establishment” types over the looming possibility that Trump will secure the nomination prior to the convention in Cleveland, most will hold their collective noses and reluctantly support Trump because he will be matched up against the dreaded Hillary with the Supreme Court balance (a huge priority for Republicans) at stake. Though current polls indicate Clinton beats Trump in a head-to-head contest, a unified Republican Party versus a fractured Democratic Party can bring upon unpredictable results. You can throw these early polls out the window.What should the Democrats do to combat the catastrophic possibility of a Trump presidency? Unless they unify and get out the vote, anything can happen (Trump winning, for instance), and that’s a risky proposition.
The Sanders candidacy is a movement (he characterizes it as a revolution) that appeals to the left wing of the Democratic Party and has attracted independents as well. His candidacy has energized this sector of the party like no other, and although it will not be enough to win the nomination, there are too many votes to be had if they are not mined effectively.A way to help unify these factions would be to name Sanders as Clinton’s running mate. While they have both been negative towards each other in recent weeks, that should not be a deal breaker. In recent history, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson weren’t exactly best buddies but necessity forced JFK to name LBJ to help win the prize of Texas and other southern states. They prevailed in 1960’s close election. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush formed an alliance, too, despite a testy primary battle. They won in 1980.
The battle between Clinton and Sanders was not nearly as contentious as these pairings, and the differences between the two could be smoothed over if Sanders wrings some concessions from Clinton regarding the party’s platform and promises to move to the left on key areas of policy. Giving him a major role in the Clinton administration as vice president will enhance his chances to effect these changes—infinitely more so than if he remained in the U.S. Senate.
The fact that Sanders is in his 70’s and Clinton flirting with 70 should not be a deterrent. Both appear to be in excellent health and Sanders’ legion of young followers love him irrespective of his age. Besides, Trump is around Clinton’s age so there is no generational chasm among the candidates.An energized, unified Democratic ticket would demolish Trump by historic proportions even if the GOP gets behind the mega-wealthy charlatan. If such a landslide takes place, the Democrats could regain the Senate with a veto-proof majority, thus putting them in the driver’s seat to change the leanings of the Supreme Court after over a half century of conservative tilt.
This possibility is something both camps should seriously consider. Both Clinton and Sanders would benefit greatly from the union as they both need each other to accomplish their respective goals: Clinton becomes the first woman president and Sanders, with a stronger Democratic make-up in Congress, would be in a powerful position to accomplish his goals.Clinton brings to the election massive support from women and minorities; Sanders contributes with younger, idealistic and left-leaning individuals. Trump’s base of angry white men is way insufficient to counter these demographics.
Clinton-Sanders is a winning combination that would put the Democrats in sound footing for years to come. They should seriously consider it.