Bernie Sanders will probably not be elected president, but the Democrat is driving the debate to the left while the Republicans self-destruct.
Bernie Sanders delights many because he comes off as being so credible when he talks plainly about social inequality and the crisis in our democracy. It remains until the general election in November, however, to be seen whether progressive Democratic voters actually prefer him over any of the Republican Party's right-wing candidates.
Bernie Sanders talks about a political revolution, but that's unlikely in a country where the people believe that everyone is capable of accomplishing anything. Criticism of the wealthy often disguises a longing people have to be wealthy themselves. Besides, presidential elections have nothing to do with revolution, but rather with the ability to gather enough delegates via primary elections to have a majority for the convention in July. Whether Bernie's supporters can translate enthusiasm into delegate votes isn't yet clear. For the general election, a candidate has to garner the support of more than half of the 538 electors.
The Dangerous Soul of the People
Nonetheless, it's looking bright for the Democrats, since the Republicans are destroying themselves. In the early primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the party establishment was mercilessly trashed. Still, one shouldn't underestimate what smolders in the conservative soul: They cheer on the demands for a fence to be built between Mexico and the United States, that reverting to torture and deporting illegal aliens en masse will result in greater national security, and they're satisfied with Donald Trump's largely meaningless assurances that he will “make America great again.”
There aren't enough hot water bottles in the United States to ease the bellyaches many Democrats have gotten from Hillary Clinton: too close to Wall Street, too little credibility, too power-hungry, too lacking in personal principles, the lingering investigation into the business of her emails, and her willingness for international intervention. Clinton is a power politician. That shouldn't be underestimated, but when seriously considered, it cannot be discounted either when someone really wants power.
Clinton lost to Obama in 2008, but since then, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state has survived mountains of scandal accusations and personal hostility. In 2004, the Republicans stooped to a mud-slinging campaign against Vietnam veteran John Kerry in an attempt to degrade him from war hero to a dishonorable pacifist, while at the same time promoting George W. Bush as the guarantor of America's security. There isn't enough imagination in the world to describe how the Republicans might deal with Sanders the Socialist.
The Democratic primaries last until June, but perhaps, we'll see how close it really is by March 1: That's when Democrats in 11 states — among them Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Texas and Georgia — vote for 880 delegates. At their July convention, the nominee will need the votes of 2,383 delegates. The New York Times has Clinton currently ahead of Sanders 502 to 70, thanks to her 451 super delegates, party functionaries and politicians allowed to vote because of the offices they hold. Sanders has 19 super delegates.
Sanders and his fans have forced Hillary to the left in their policy debate, and that may pay off for her should she make it to the White House. What's politically possible in America is now very restricted. There's a lot at stake there in November.