Roger L. Simon

Republicans Better Pay Attention to Bernie

Most Republicans and their presidential candidates (when they’re not bashing each other like four-year-olds) are focused on Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, living in fear that the Department of Justice will give a pass to the former secretary of state on her email and foundation malfeasances, even if the FBI recommends indictments.

And where is the FBI anyway? What’s taking them so long?

But this has not been a good few days for Mrs. Clinton. First she lost in three states by stunning margins to Bernie Sanders, who garnered 71% of the vote in Hawaii, 73% in Washington, and and a huge 81% in Alaska.

Then it got worse. The L.A. Times reported that FBI interviews were finally looming for Mrs. Clinton and her close aides Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, Cheryl Mills and Philippe Reines. And 147 FBI agents are now officially said to be involved.  That’s a lot of investigative power being applied to one case (or group of cases) and a lot of potential leakers if the DOJ rejects an indictment.

Ironically, Sanders’ electoral success may actually be giving the DOJ encouragement — or more precisely permission — to go forward with the indictment. At least it may be setting up that kind of emotional climate. The people don’t really want Hillary, so it’s okay to indict her. Let’s move on.

But moving on for the Democrats may not be as predictable as we thought — bring on Biden or Elizabeth Warren — if Bernie’s popularity continues to grow. And it won’t be simple. Sanders has an army of supporters who would not easily be mollified if the nomination is taken from their hero. Many of them are young, as we know, and the young are the ones who like to demonstrate. Welcome back, Chicago 1968! The Whole World is Watching. Where are Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin? In Guy Fawkes masks?

Meanwhile, inside the convention, the Democrat superdelegates may be standard-issue party hacks, but they’re still people, subject to public opinion. They may start to see Bernie as a more formidable candidate in the general election than Hillary. The polls already show that, and have for a long time. And after the FBI/DOJ information has leaked, if it’s bad news, who knows…?

Winning is everything in politics. Accommodations will be made. Bernie may be a socialist, but socialism can be seen as chic, even to the gang at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, if need be. Anyway, Democrats will tell themselves, everyone knows that once Bernie’s in office, he won’t really be a socialist. The system won’t let him.

Actually, whatever the Democrats tell themselves (and you can bet they will if they have to) Sanders really is a socialist. An excellent article in Commentary by Seth Mandel  makes it clear. Mandel writes:

When he [Bernie] arrived at Brooklyn College in 1959, he was amazed to discover, in his words, “real live socialists sitting right in front of me!” His first such encounter was with the Eugene V. Debs Club—named for the first socialist candidate for president of the United States. Soon, according to Sanders’s biographer Harry Jaffe, his roommate would come back to their dorm room to find the socialist reading material Sanders preferred to his schoolwork.

After a year, Sanders transferred to the University of Chicago, where he threw himself into the burgeoning radicalism swirling around Hyde Park. He joined the Young People’s Socialist League and took a leadership position in the Congress of Racial Equality, and he would lecture his roommate late into the night on the ills and evils of capitalism.

In 1963, Sanders took a break from school to volunteer for the reelection campaign of Chicago Alderman Leon Depres. It was his first taste of electoral politics, and it was under the wing of a man who claimed one of his formative experiences had been visiting Trotsky in exile in Mexico in 1937. Sanders then threw himself into Marx’s writings ….

In reality, lovable Bernie Sanders is a dangerous man. He is already corrupting the minds of our young, who have been barely educated in civics in the schools — if at all. They don’t know the history of socialism and almost nothing about the economic failure and mass murder associated with the ideology.

Republicans should be paying attention to this phenomenon — the rise of Bernie — because it’s scary. Its results could be worse than a Hillary presidency, actually a lot worse. And, as I just mentioned, he’s beating everyone in the polls in both parties. You may think that will evaporate by itself or in the back and forth of a general election campaign — and I hope you’re right. But what if it doesn’t?


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