Sunday, May 22, 2016
Bernie Sanders for DNC Chair!
I've been floating this idea out there now with various friends on Facebook, and getting a little bit of negative feedback about it. But that negative feedback is making me examine the idea in closer detail, and the more I look at it, the more I like it. Here's my idea, and I'm thinking it's nothing short of 100% brilliant:
Bernie Sanders for DNC Chairman!
But no! You might say, I want Bernie for president!
Well, no, that's simply not going to happen. Bernie would need 90.5% of the remaining delegates just to tie Hillary. Leave out the superdelegates, and Bernie needs 68% of all remaining pledge delegates. You've already read my quantitative analysis posts (if you're currently reading this, that is), so you know I've run the numbers. If the metric we use is Bernie garnering the needed target percentage to catch up with Hillary's lead, then Bernie has lost twelve states in a row (not including Wisconsin, where he missed the target percentage by only 1%). Plus, Hillary's poll numbers are up in California and New Jersey. The fracas in Nevada and Bernie's "sorry, not sorry" response to it have hurt his brand, causing his poll numbers to begin to decline. True, it's only a slight decline, but when you need to go full-throttle forward, and immediately, even a slight step backward is as good as running in the opposite direction.
If I may go off on a slight tangent, is it possible that Bernie has gotten a little power-drunk? Well, it's certainly hard to argue against that observation, isn't it? Never before has this Senator from relatively quiet Vermont ever known popularity like this. He doesn't seem to have anyone around him who isn't a yes-man, or who has the courage to speak truth to power. Yes, he's had one hell of a run, and it must be so very hard for him to admit to himself that the ride is finally over. Hell, I wouldn't want to admit it either, if I were him! He's continuously held aloft by the loud cheering of his adoring fans, and he can no more remove himself from it than a ping pong ball can extract itself from the air of an upturned hair dryer. He's trapped by his own fame, and he will likely not see it until June 7.
So, now we have a problem. What do we do with this huge constituency that he's built up? How do we mollify such a large and rabid minority - yes, minority, albeit a significant percentage - when they are threatening "nuclear option?" That is, voting for Sanders as an Independent?
Let me go off on another tangent, here. Sanders can't run as an independent. There are "sore loser" laws on many state law books. And although they probably don't apply to presidential candidates, this has never been fully contested in court. That may well happen someday. But even if not, the deadline for a third-party or independent run has passed for Bernie. Why? Because of the requirements for independent or write-in candidates. A candidate may win as a write-in, but those votes only count if the candidate has registered beforehand with the proper paperwork. By the time the Democratic National Convention is over, five states will have their deadlines passed and another fourteen will be past deadline by the following Tuesday. And there's just no way anyone can raise the number of signatures needed in those states in so short a time. Furthermore, Texas, the third largest state, has had its deadline already passed. It was May 6th. So Texas is out. North Carolina's deadline is April 9th, two days after Hillary will officially cruise to her easy victory in California. So North Carolina's Out. That's 8% of Bernie's vote already struck down before we even begin to consider a "nuclear option." If Bernie waits until the Democratic National Convention to announce an independent run, he will find another 8 states have already missed the deadline. Another three states after that have their deadline on August 1st, only two days after the convention, including California. No, a 3rd party run won't work. Even if he declares now, it's too late.
In other words, my beloved Bernie fans, you have no "nuclear option." Except to be a needless spoiler in aid of Trump.
So, back to my original suggestion. Bernie for DNC Chair. Good idea?
I think so! Look at all the problems it solves: First, it gets rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Some say she's done a decent job as DNC Chair. Others say she's awful. Personally, I don't know enough about her to really tell. But she did run away from Barack Obama's winning record in 2014, which was a tactical blunder of epic proportions. That weighs big with me, and I still hold her responsible for that. On those grounds alone, I would say that it's time to replace her. Certainly many in the Democratic Party hate her, and that can be grounds enough to make a change. In all honesty, she's little more than a placeholder to my mind. I may just change my mind later after I research her record, but for now, that's the way I see it. And even if she isn't, she'd have to be quite outstanding in order for me to decide that she's too valuable for Bernie Sanders to replace her.
Second, it brings the Bernie camp totally and completely in. Every Bernie supporter will back the Democratic presidential nominee and everyone else down-ticket 100%. There will be no more bickering about Bernie getting shoved out. After all, he will have not only been invited in, but given the most powerful party leadership position, second only the presidency. The revolution will have arrived, and it will be the Democratic party's alone.
Third, it erases all the negatives that those opposed to Sanders hate most. They say he's gone narcissistic, only cares about his own ticket and not the Democratic Party as a whole, and threatens to divide the party. But put him at the head of that party, and all that changes. There won't be a single democrat who can say he doesn't care, because suddenly it will be in his best interest to care. It will be both his job, and his sworn duty.
But will Bernie do a good job? I dare say he will! He would primarily be put in charge of raising money and applying national strategy for taking back the House and Senate. He would back candidates that are even further to the left than are currently in place, and he might even foolishly back some candidates who are sufficiently leftist but have no chance to win in a Republican district or a typical election season. But this is NOT a typical election season! The presence of Trump and the endorsements of Sanders will help ensure many formerly Republican districts fall. As far as raising money goes, he would certainly tell all the super-pacs and federal lobbyists to go shove it. Would that hurt the Democratic platform financially? Maybe, but I think that might be off-set by a powerful X-factor, and that's Bernie's incredible money-making powers. He's exceeded everyone's expectations.
What else would he do? Well, he would probably push for getting rid of the superdelegate system. Hell, he might even push to eliminate caucuses. But if that's the price we pay for party unity, and safeguarding our nation for the next four to sixteen years, so fucking what?
"But he's an outsider!" some would say. "He's not even a real Democrat!"
No, but he's certainly a real progressive. And isn't that what really matters?
I know it might make some people nervous, making a loose cannon like Sanders the standard-bearer. But hell, he's a loose cannon anyway! There isn't anything he would damage in the party as its Chairman that he wouldn't damage ten times more as an outsider. So if he's going to be a bull in a china shop, let's make sure he's our bull, and that it's their china! And so, though it might be one hell of a gamble, I believe it would pay off handsomely.
And in an election where Donald-fucking-Trump is actually the opposition's choice, we can afford to be a little-bit "gung-ho."
Bernie for DNC Chairman! It's a good idea!