Hillary Clinton is in trouble. Her e-mail scandal is not going away, despite her recent apology. Though most pundits would have to admit that her use of a private e-mail server to conduct Secretary of State business is a rather trivial affair, the seemingly-experienced politician handled the quasi-scandal poorly. After months of standing tough and refusing to apologize, insisting that her use of private e-mail was “approved” and “aboveboard,” Clinton has finally caved and offered up a mea culpa. This slow, agonizing flip-flop has only galvanized the detractors of the former U.S. Senator (D-NY), who now smell blood in the water.
What should have been a small blip on Clinton’s smooth road to the Democratic presidential nomination has turned into a series of jolting, scarring potholes. It will likely be mentioned in future decades as a textbook example of what not to do when caught engaging in a bureaucratic faux pas. Instead of giving Clinton a chance to show a softer side and ask for forgiveness and understanding, the scandal has thrown her off topic and overtaken her campaign. Though she remains the frontrunner for the presidential nomination, her once-unbeatable lead has eroded alarmingly.
Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is on fire. America is feeling the Bern. The left-wing presidential candidate, who was once widely derided by the mainstream media as a “socialist,” is now actually leading Hillary Clinton in polls in New Hampshire and Iowa. Given a likely win in the first two primaries, it stands to reason that Sen. Sanders has a decent shot of winning the Democratic presidential nomination. Long known for drawing the largest crowds of any 2016 presidential candidate, Sanders is now making news for expanding his organizational game in early primary states, including South Carolina. The notion that Sanders will fade quickly after wins in Iowa and New Hampshire is erroneous.
But, despite Sanders’ huge surge in public support, it seems that the Democratic Party establishment is still rejecting him. Instead of warming up to Sanders as Clinton’s political star fades, the Democratic National Committee appears to be searching for another establishment politician to replace her, reports the New York Times. Indeed, this has long been the primary angle behind tentative support of vice president Joe Biden entering the Democratic presidential race. Biden, who seemed to have entirely written off a 2016 presidential bid, is now atop the news cycle as he apparently tests the waters. If Clinton cannot improve her standing on the campaign trail, DNC power brokers may want Biden to jump in and replace her.
This is an alarmingly poor tactic. Alarmingly poor. Frankly, it’s dunce-level poor.
If Clinton is caving, it only makes sense for the DNC to rally around Sanders. Injecting a new establishment candidate late in the game will probably not succeed. Sanders is a better general election candidate than Clinton, and a far better general election candidate than Joe Biden, Al Gore, John Kerry, or Elizabeth Warren. Sanders has executive experience as a mayor, a long history of winning against the odds, an unrivaled reputation for integrity, and an electoral history that reads like a Democrat wish list. Simply put, Sanders is the dream candidate of the Democratic idealist. None of the other proposed candidate mentioned by the NYT even come close.
Joe Biden is the consummate Washington insider who has a poor track record when it comes to competitive fights. His 1988 and 2008 presidential bids? Not pretty. Al Gore might fare better, but he’s been out of the game since January 2001 and would fare poorly in any debate about recent events. John Kerry? He received poor marks for his 2004 performance against George W. Bush and has done little to improve his standing since. Elizabeth Warren? Despite being a progressive like Sanders, she is still a political rookie and, given her legal and academia background, lacks the street cred of a pro-union populist. She is far more vulnerable to Republican attacks than Sanders.
Sanders will easily win the general election against any possible Republican nominee. He has the experience, integrity, energy, and skills to best rookies like Donald Trump and Ben Carson or flip-floppers like Jeb Bush. Sanders’ policies appeal to millions of working- and middle-class Americans…and have worked with sound success in European nations. The proposals of all other 2016 presidential candidates? They have little chance of success.
The DNC would be foolish to ignore Bernie Sanders and continue to seek a pro-establishment candidate. Those establishment politicians will not inspire voters and will lead to millions of Democrats, moderates, and independents remaining home on election day. Bernie Sanders, I guarantee it, will inspire millions of previous non-voters to go to the ballot boxes. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Joe Biden, nor John Kerry nor Al Gore, will accomplish such a feat. Bernie2016!