When I attended a Bernie Sanders rally at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum in August 2015, I viewed the excursion as a foray into opposition research. Here was my opportunity to see what a real socialist candidate looked like in the flesh. I attended two presidential campaign rallies in the run-up to 2016, one for Donald Trump and one for Sanders.
This I can tell you: aside from the wildly divergent ideologies, they were remarkably similar. I came away from both rallies convinced I had seen the best candidates the two major parties had to offer.
Cue the standard disclaimer regarding Sanders, the thing that every conservative analyst must say when admitting that Bernie is the most exciting and authentic candidate the Democrats have. None other than Donald Trump Jr. issued the disclaimer on Hannity just the other night. It goes something like:
“While I disagree with everything Bernie Sanders stands for, and believe that his election would be a cataclysmic (catastrophic also works) disaster for our country, he remains the most authentic candidate they have. He’s the real deal, a real socialist, he really believes yada, yada, yada…”
After heaping damning praise upon the Vermont senator’s authenticity, the conservative pundit or politician then goes on to stress how critical it is to stop Sanders in his tracks. Strange bedfellows? It looks like the Democratic establishment feels exactly the same way.
Both rallies I attended featured extremely enthusiastic crowds. Trump’s in a celebratory “We’re going to do this!” kind of way, and the Sanders rally in a more riotous, “Our time has come!” kind of way.
Plain and simple: Sanders is great on the stump. It must be admitted that when he called his forces to arms on the night of his New Hampshire primary win saying, “This victory here is the beginning of the end of Donald Trump,” he was displaying his exceptional ability at retail rhetoric, delivered with a bang.
Let’s get real. When conservatives like Trump Jr. praise and abhor Sanders in a single sound bite, the sub-context is that they hope that he is the Democrat nominee. The easiest for Trump to defeat. Some outlier analysts, however–Ari Fleischer has said as much–contend that the right should be careful what it wishes: that, given the almost equally-divided contemporary political landscape, Sanders could actually give the president a run for his money.
But mostly everybody else, whether analyzing from the right, center, or center-left, given the realities of Sanders’s certifiable and potentially very undemocratic socialism, don’t give the Moscow honeymooner a snowball’s chance in hell.
Judging by the actions of the Democrats’ central planners and strategists, they don’t either.
I witnessed two presidential rallies on the way to 2016. Candidate Trump was in the process of sweeping the primary electorate. It is not even arguable now that Sanders was robbed on the way to his showdown with Trump and his deplorable supporters.
I abhor everything Bernie Sanders stands for. I believe his election would be an…unmitigated…disaster for the country. But isn’t it time that Sanders gets his shot?
There is no other Democrat candidate either authentic or qualified enough to bear the party standard. Elizabeth Warren has prevaricated herself into hopeless inauthenticity. Mayor Pete and Amy Klobuchar—perhaps Veep material, but no, cue the return of the proverbial snowball.
When Joe Biden lashed out at an idealist Democrat student, earnestly looking for answers about the former vice president’s ability to effectively join the battle against Trump, and he called her a “lying, dog-faced pony soldier,” it became clear to this armchair analyst that his trajectory towards sad embarrassment had traveled beyond the point of no return.
Anyone who thinks Michael Bloomberg can save the Democrats from democratic socialism is suffering from full-on desperation fantasy. If the billionaire, constituency-challenged RINO suit gets the nod over Sanders, Trump’s walk will become a cakewalk.
The Democrats should not, I repeat, should not, conspire to jury-rig the rules and deprive Sanders of what is rightfully his.
Let’s do this. Let’s have each party’s most representative and charismatic candidate go head to head for the White House. Let’s duke this capitalism versus socialism thing out right here, right now, this year.
If that happens, “mostly everybody” will end up being right. Trump will win.
But the contest will be made, the stakes clear.
And the entertainment value will skyrocket.
Mark Ellis is the author of A Death on the Horizon, a novel of political upheaval and cultural intrigue. He came aboard at PJ Media in 2015. His literary hangout is Liberty Island. Follow Mark on Twitter.