Sunday, May 31, 2015

Surprise! The Surging of Senator Bernie Sanders

He's packing them in.

In an Iowa town of 240 total population, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont this week drew a crowd of 300. The New York Times reported that some people drove as much as 50 miles to hear Bernie speak.

In other Iowa towns he has filled halls to overflowing. There are photographs in the media to prove it.

This isn't supposed to happen. Just like it wasn't supposed to happen in 2008 when the mighty Clinton machine was supposed to roll over and crush the little-known one-term senator from Illinois.

The media have been babbling on for months about the invincibility of Hillary Clinton, dwelling on her mountains of money, cadres of hired guns, and a much more sophisticated campaign operation than the primaries in 2008.  Also she is supposedly "well-positioned as a centrist" but one who is "becoming a centrist liberal".

Meaning that she has changed her position on five major issues in a desperate attempt to catch up with a majority of American people and move away from the shenanigans that got her in trouble in 2008, such as voting for the Iraq war and having a President-husband who never saw a break for the rich that he could resist. We can thank good old Bill for much of the deregulation of the financial industry that led to the disaster of 2008.  She has also abandoned Bill's stance of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, apparently noticing that gay people are not only telling but are telling people to come to their same-sex wedding. And most Americans are glad to get the invitations.

So in typical Hillary fashion, she has run around to the front of the crowd in order to look like a leader.

The media acknowledges that Hillary "runs the risk" of looking "squishy". The word "squishy" is a term of art that I borrowed today from the New York Times. It's fine. But to say that Hillary runs the risk of appearing vacillating is to misstate the state of affairs. She isn't running a risk.  She has jumped over the cliff into "risk" canyon.  She is already up to her knees in squishiness and we have only just begun.

Can Bernie Sanders really pull this off? After all, Obama piled up his win against Hillary largely by winning caucus states. The much vaunted Clinton machine of 2008 had overlooked what any political science student probably knows: A lot of states have caucuses. The Clinton people will likely not make that mistake this time.  So can Bernie win without the Clintons being asleep at the switch? This will be a fascinating test case of whether a grassroots candidate like Bernie can muster enough local volunteers to get people to those caucuses who support him. Or will Clinton's paid troops do a better job than the volunteers?

Why, you ask, doesn't Hillary Clinton use volunteers instead of paid people? After all, volunteers generally are more acceptable to voters at the front door. My bet is that she won't use volunteers because no one wants to volunteer for her.

Why not? Where are those ranks of women who loved Hillary in 2008?

That is the subject of my next posting. In only eight years, America has changed.

Tune in next time to find out how and why there are no troops for Hillary anymore.

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