Issues Over Inertia: With Clinton No Longer Beating GOP, Sanders’ Policies Must Win the Day

Donald Trump

In an unthinkable development, it appears that Hillary Clinton is now no longer definitively beating Republican presidential candidates in head-to-head match-ups.  For many months, the former Secretary of State dominated all 2016 presidential election polls, both for the Democratic primaries and for the hypothetical general election.  Recently, however, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has risen swiftly to challenge Clinton’s road to the Democratic presidential nomination.  The progressive populist, who has described himself as a democratic socialist, has surged from being a fringe candidate to beating Clinton in the polls in both New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two states to hold presidential primaries.

Although Sanders has drawn record-setting crowds and inspired millions with his bold policy proposals to enact universal health care and tuition-free public higher education for qualified students, he and his supporters still struggle to be taken seriously by the mainstream media and the Democratic establishment.  Even today, when Clinton is besieged by scandal and malaise, the media continue to insist that she is a veritable shoo-in for the Democratic nomination.  When covering Sanders’ attempts to make inroads with minorities, the media repeatedly assert that blacks and Hispanics continue to remain loyal to Clinton because, as the media put it, she is the only one who can win the general election.

Frankly, aside from Clinton being a woman, this is the top argument endlessly put forth for why she should be the Democratic presidential nominee.  “She can win” has been the mantra of the Democratic establishment from day one.  The only problem?  “She can win” has rarely, if ever, been followed up with examples of policy proposals or examples of past leadership.  As Clinton’s lead in the polls has swiftly eroded, it appears that she has little to fall back on to bolster her inertia.  Her campaign has been all momentum, inertia, and circular reasoning.  “She can win” is now beginning to sound more like desperate reassurance than confident prediction.

Why can Clinton win?  How can Clinton win?  Is it because her bold, progressive policies appeal to millions of working- and middle-class Americans?  Is it because her proposals have a proven track record of success in other Western nations?  Is it because she has a stellar track record of voting for progressive causes and equitable treatment for all citizens?  No – all of those reasons belong to Bernie Sanders.  Clinton has, well…

Clinton has universal name recognition.  She has a lot of money in her political war chest.  She is extremely well-connected with members of the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic Party insiders.

Unfortunately, those will help little in the general election, where she must appeal to all Americans.  No longer being able to win hypothetical match-ups against Republican candidates like Donald Trump means that Clinton is dead in the water.  “She can win” may help convince many liberals to vote for Clinton in the primaries…but it will not do anything in the general election.  Moderates and independents, whose voters are up for grabs, want more than “she can win.”  They demand performance, not platitudes.

Bernie Sanders has what moderates and independents want:  Specific policy proposals, a sense of heart and spirit, a clean history, and a proven track record of winning against the odds.  Sanders has been fighting for the same stuff since the 1960s, and America has come to adopt many of his viewpoints.  He has been in the right.  He has not swayed.  His ideas and beliefs, particularly those in regard to civil rights, have gone from being radical to being law.

Which other candidate in the 2016 presidential field can claim that?  Not a one.

With polls revealing that non-Democrats are not buying the “she can win” mantra of Clinton’s camp, the only sensible option is for the Democratic Party to immediately back Sanders and his impressive resume and policy proposals.  They will win the election.  No Republican has anything close to what Sanders brings to the table.  His policies will vastly improve and simplify the lives of millions of citizens and will actually improve the climate for small businesses, a bulwark of the GOP.  With universal health care enacted, small businesses will no longer struggle under complex frameworks of health care legislation.  Their employees will be happier and healthier, and the small business owners will no longer have to deal with exhaustive health insurance rules.

In fact, making primary health care and public higher education as accessible as public K-12 education will likely appeal to just about everyone, including most of the top one percent.  Though the taxes of the top one percent may increase, the new ability for government to truly control medical and higher education spending may quickly bring their tax burden back to its present level.  And, with Sanders’ desire to cut government spending on defense and prisons, everyone may well see a tax cut under this democratic socialist.

Who would you vote for?  “She can win” or more money in your bank account?  Bernie2016.

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Calvin Wolf

By day, Calvin Wolf is a high school social studies teacher. By night, he is a freelance writer and novelist, penning political thrillers and commentary on politics, education, economics, foreign policy, and culture. In the past, he's worked as a professional cartoonist and as a backpacking guide. He once stood between a mother bear and her cub and emerged unscathed!

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