The Sanders Puzzle
A long time ago in a universe far away — I got the pre-election anaylsis all wrong.
I thought there was a strong populist wave buried in the electorate, and I thought that wave would overcome Hillary, just the way Obama did, a calculation I based partly on her myriad problems/scandals, which I in turn, felt made her unfavorables into a big fat Achilles heel — Sanders would use to swamp her.
On the other side of the aisle — I thought the populist wave would find a home with any candidate EXCEPT the billionaire, Trump. I had this completely wrong, something I realized after his first rallies.
That kind of enthusiasm cannot be faked. His charisma was powerful enough to overcome the public’s long-standing refusal to elect anyone President that had not served in elected office or the military — before.
Which leads me back to Sanders; Sanders the populist, Sanders the truth teller who made bringing “Truth to power” — a subtext of his campaign, Sanders, who correctly identified the forgotten middle class worker as a pressure point in the election — that is the Sanders I watched and choose to remember.
The Bernie Sanders that told Fox News in an interview that many working-class Democrats who backed him in the presidential primaries are “disgusted” with U.S. trade policy and probably voted for Trump.
I love that guy, he shoots straight, and we need that.
But that is Not the post primary Sanders.
This new Sanders is a puzzle.
This Sanders is burning up more political capital — than Sherman burned buildings in Atlanta – trying to put his choice, Keith Ellison, the only black muslim in Congress (from Minnesota), at the head of the DNC. Sanders, for reasons which elude me, favors him over Tom Perez, Obama’s outgoing Labor Secretary,
Perez is popular, successful, a practical liberal with a message much more closely aligned with the forgotten American worker then Ellison, a Congressman — can credibly make.
Surely Sanders sees this, his political vision is very sharp.
But then again, I didn’t understand his closing ranks with Hillary, as I said at the time, this dirtied Sanders, and didn’t help Hillary.
As my great-grand mother Nichol used to say, “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”