I am not a Bernie Sanders donor, or even really a supporter. I will be happy to vote for Hillary as many times as I can this Fall. If Baby Jesus is listening to my nightly prayers, the Republicans will run Ted Cruz against her and she will squash him like an overgrown dung beetle. Our Savior probably won’t answer my prayers so it will probably be Trump or Rubio, either of whom she’s quite capable of whupping.
That all said, I think the Bern is the best thing that could have happened to the Hillary and the Democratic Party this cycle, for a couple of reasons. The main one is that he is making Clintonworld get up and exercise. The dumb, unnecessary dust up over single payer is a great example of how those in the Clinton orbit need to be awakened from their dogmatic slumber more frequently. Faced with Bernie’s surprising (to them) poll numbers, someone in the vast network of hangers on, sycophants and grifters who surround the Clintons panicked and pushed out some dumb Republican talking points about single payer via Chelsea Clinton. They got the shitshow they deserved, and the sad fact was that it was unnecessary. They could have led with “what plan” (since Bernie had no real plan at the time Chelsea made her remarks), and they could have also made Richard’s good argument that single payer is a waste of time in the current or any near-term future Congress. And, after the almost mandatory Clinton bumblefuck, it looks like the Big Dog himself is is pushing the pragmatic angle. Now that Bernie has released a plan, there’s also still more ammo for any good political advisor to deploy.
Another reason that the Bern is like Ben-Gay to the arthritic Clinton machine, is that debates are great free media, and Bernie’s presence makes them a hell of a lot more interesting. By the way that verified liar Debbie Wasserman-Schultz tries to smother any possibility of a real prime-time debate in its infancy, you’d think that Hillary sucked at debating. But, contra the views of her craven lickspittles, she’s really good. And now that the Clintons are finally scared enough about Iowa to run a real compaign, lo and behold, we are getting a real prime-time debate, scheduled at the last minute. Debates are great free media because they contrast the Democrats’ serious approach to the Republican clown show, and they’re great practice for Hillary. I hope we’ll have a lot more of them.
The natural inclination of Democratic strategists of the establishment stripe is to bask in the inevitability of their poll-leading candidate and do what amounts to nothing. This complacency leads to panic and dumb decisions when the inevitable candidate stops looking like a shoo-in. Better to have that happen a few times now, so they’ll be ready when something awful like a poll showing Trump with a 10-point lead emerges in October. A little Bern on the leaden asses of Clinton’s inner circle now is going to make them less likely to sit down comfortably later this year.
By the way, I do not share John’s worries about how the Sanders campaign or his closest supporters will act when Bernie gets crushed in South Carolina, mainly because a little supporter butthurt is not going to poison the general election. If PUMAs really mattered, we’d have President McCain. I’m sure there are a few Sanders supporters who will go Nader on us, but the specter of President Trump, Cruz or Rubio will get any non-crazy Democrat to the polls come hell or high water.