My dalliance with the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is over. It was a political earthquake that ended with a few tremors and hopefully not too many aftershocks. It started as wishful thinking and ended as a bitter disappointment, but he put up a great fight and came up short. I find it a bit ironic that it is the Republicans who will nominate the outsider protest candidate — they are usually so predictable, more on that later.
The presumptive nomination of Hillary Clinton is historic in America; in more than 200 years of independence, a woman has never led a major party ticket for the presidency. No matter one’s opinion of her, it is incumbent upon all of us to recognize the moment and congratulate the USA for following in the footsteps of India, Pakistan, Israel, the United Kingdom, Germany, Argentina and Brazil among others who already freely nominated (and elected) women to lead their countries.
I understand her weaknesses as a candidate, but I challenge her detractors to admit that a male candidate with the same flaws would not be judged as harshly. Do not underestimate the sexism that dominates the Hillary-haters; it is just as obvious as the racism of many Obama-haters. Thankfully, Obama beat that back and hopefully Hillary can too.
I would have a greater comfort level that Secretary Clinton can replicate the Obama coalition and win in November if her opponent was any of the other sixteen Republicans who sought the nomination. While he holds zero appeal to me, Donald Trump sure has tapped into the anger quotient of this election cycle and he showed guts appealing to Bernie supporters to give him a second look. He doesn’t have to siphon off too many of them to be competitive or even win. He has proven in more than 40 years in the public eye that he should never be counted out or underestimated.
If Trump did not so appeal to racists, xenophobes and the loony fringe, he would almost seem politically refreshing. Instead, he uses his blunt candor to berate the most vulnerable and spew divisiveness. He has taken on the American judicial branch in the most irresponsible way, saying that a Muslim judge would not be impartial to him and that one of Mexican heritage cannot be either. Substitute African American or Jew for Mexican or Muslim and the distastefulness of his remarks become suddenly more repulsive?
A year ago, if asked to guess the party that would nominate the outsider I would have said the Democrats. I believed then and still do that while President Obama promised us hope and change he only partially delivered. We got a healthcare bill, but we also got Tim Geitner, Ben Bernanke, John Kerry and zero prosecutions of the Wall Street criminals who wrecked the economy. Obama presided over the most deportations in US history and seemed impotent to quell the murder of African Americans in police custody. If anybody is angry, I would think it is Obama’s left flank. Instead, it seems that working class white males, stagnant wage earning middle-aged folks and the racists are a lot angrier than the Occupy Wall Street types.
In the Democratic process, it is sometimes necessary to choose half a loaf than to get no bread at all. I would prefer a Democratic nominee who was not so cozy with Wall Street and has less baggage than Hillary but that’s not how it’s going to end up. So I am going to go with the nominee with more political experience, does not pander to racists and xenophobes and whose nomination is historic. I’m with her and I am not looking back.