How can Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton?
Bernie’s biggest obstacle is Hillary’s triangulation coach. His name is Bill. He is very shrewd. Bill has analyzed Hillary’s potential voter markets in light of Obama’s vaunted coalition of women, minorities and young people.
Coach Bill and his star athlete, Hillary, have formulated a strategy to appeal to all groups on all sides of the triangle, as they did back in the ’90s. Bernie’s biggest obstacle is that the Clintons have been huddled in this strategy session for decades.
It is not just Obama’s celebrated coalition that Bill and Hillary seek to duplicate; Hillary started working on another triangle long ago. She established herself as a defense hawk way back in her senate days, even carving out a relationship with Jesse Helms, one of yesteryear’s biggest defense hawks.
Bernie is not seen as a defense-minded candidate in this era of ISIS and nuclear deals with a 24-hour lead time, and one way to lose both moderates and some of the Jewish vote is to support Obama’s agreement with Iran.
This area might be Bernie’s second biggest obstacle, as Hillary is going to double down on that end of her conservative triangle, trying to make up for the loss of young voters who are abandoning the novel idea of the first woman president for Hollywood’s cool candidate: Bernie.
But Hillary will keep trying to appeal to minority communities by dropping nets of empathy, hoping to weave a personal narrative of her past that resonates. Does Bernie have any heart-tugging stories that make minority groups think he is on their side
But in the Democratic Party, such things often seem much more important than economic issues. It is one reason why some low-income citizens feel like Democrats only concern themselves with pandering to voting blocks, not with the general, economic well being of the majority.
But Bernie probably won’t get all the low-income and middle-income men who have been hurt by these trends; many will vote for Trump. Bernie might get Hispanics with his pure economic message, as might various Republican candidates, particularly Trump, contrary to conventional wisdom.
Hispanic citizens, as opposed to taxpayer-subsidized, illegal workers, have a higher unemployment rate, and that doesn’t count the rate of underemployment and the lowest workforce participation rate since 1977, which is plaguing American citizens in general.
Hillary is telling the story of her mother’s early teenage years, hoping to deflect attention from her upper-middle-class background and the wealth of the Clinton’s post-presidential years.
Bernie might fear that storytelling ability as an obstacle, but in my opinion, Bill was the master at feel-your-pain politics, whereas Hillary is more bookish and school-teacher-like. But Hillary has various ways of engaging in economic populism.
Toward the end of the 2008 primary cycle, Hillary whipped out a brand of populism that gained some ground. Though she can’t compete in the authentic populist arena with a man who has said the same thing for 30 years, Bernie needs to realize that Hillary is playing a 4th quarter game, hanging back as if she were in the Tour de France.
If we expect Hillary to sprint up the mountain, leaving Bernie in the dust, but Coach Bill and her old boss, Obama, have been known to do such things in the last half of the game.
Bernie needs to keep his energy up and keep on his toes, as Hillary is preserving her energy until she can scan the horizon at the end of the race. She is waiting to see what preoccupies voters closer to election time. She is waiting for the light of autumn to see which sides of the triangles she should bang on.