Allow me to begin by making the admission that I am very much a Senator Sanders supporter, I am very sympathetic to his agenda, and I believe he would be the best bet for the Democratic Party to win the White House come November.
But, being less of an idealist and more realistic, I also must admit that the numbers are in, and even though Sanders still has a faint chance of clinching the nomination by swaying remaining and unpledged superdelegates to his progressive camp, the reality is that the math isn’t in his favor and that such an event would only be likely if Hillary were to be indicted. Hillary won’t be indicted. It just isn’t a realistic event, the FBI would have made a move months ago if the Benghazi “scandal” were truly as problematic as the GOP has made it out to be.
Clinton hasn’t earned the presidency, but she certainly has earned the nomination. She’s not only stood behind the progressive yet bipartisan agenda of former President Bill Clinton as First Lady, but she has also served as the dynamic and influential Senator of New York, and as the obligatory “war hawk” Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. She was, in the minds of Democratic officials in 2008, the obvious choice for the nomination before Barack Obama led in pledged delegates and ultimately superdelegates to win the nomination and the presidency.
These past eight years we have all been waiting for a second Clinton run, and most progressives and staunch Democrats were prepared for a sweep as she would become our eventual nominee this coming July at the Democratic Convention. But then came Senator Sanders, and with him, an electorate she just couldn’t capture in the 19 contests that Sanders won.
All said, Clinton is ready to be President of the United States: she’s aced her exams, she earned her Latin Honors and then some, and she’s received her diploma. She’s had plenty of cooperative / experiential learning semester rotations, and she’s ready to take on the job of the Presidency.
But Clinton is missing an important piece that will decimate her these next six months and culminate in a Trump Presidency come November: nobody is as enthusiastic about her as they are her opponent Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders draws crowds of thousands, to the point where most people stand in the overflow just for the chance to hear his gravelly yet reassuring call to action against real issues. Sanders’ passion for campaign finance reform, income and wealth inequality, climate change, immigration, medicare, and racial justice has positioned him as the most progressive figure in American politics since FDR, and that has become very important to independents and millennials. The latter demographic is turning out like never before, and possibly never again if Sanders does not have a place on the ticket in November.
REALITY CHECK. Sanders appeals to essential demographics: millennials, white males, Muslim-Americans, and independents. However, he does not have the same overwhelming support Clinton has from Latinos, African Americans, and women.
It seems more evident than ever that if the Democrats are to truly unify the party and defeat Trump in November, something has to give. I believe that something is a ticket with Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders. The result could be the largest voter turnout in American history, but more importantly, a strong coalition against the misogynistic xenophobe that is Donald Trump.
Let me put this as clearly as I can: while I respect Republicans and their nomination process (I loathe the Democratic Party taking the voice from the electorate and placing it in the hands of party officials), I cannot respect Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee, and I cannot morally accept the notion of a Trump Presidency. The only YUGE thing that would come of it would probably be an unhealthy blend of foreign and domestic conflict that would tarnish the legacy of Barack Obama and be a one-two punch to progressive policy that has made us so much more respected in the international community.
We simply cannot afford a Trump Presidency, but neither can the Republican Party. It is beyond problematic that voices such as Paul Ryan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham and many more have distanced themselves from Trump, some even breaking their pledge to support the Republican nominee in November. While Paul Ryan cannot just walk away from the convention, being that he is the most powerful party official and chair of the Republican National Convention, he has said that he is “just not ready” to back Trump. Condemning Trump isn’t an option either, especially if Ryan seeks to make a run in 2020, something that has turned from speculation to truth in the eyes of many Republican loyalists.
And then you have Sarah Palin, the catastrophic hot mess that is the undeniable poster child of the anti-establishment Tea Party movement that allowed Barack Obama an easy path to victory in 2008 and has been a hangnail on the index finger of the Republican Party ever since. It was inevitable that she would pledge her support to The Donald, and it’s no surprise that she’s taken every opportunity to go for the throat of Paul Ryan. It will be difficult to unify the party when such toxicity is celebrated by Trump supporters in opposition to the most powerful man in the Republican Party.
Trump is proof that the GOP has splintered far beyond repair. However, if he manages to unite the party these next six months, he will prove to be a powerful force against the Democratic ticket.
It is undeniable that Senator Sanders has irrevocably moved the Democratic Party far left of center, something unheard of in past primary contests, and something that will define this election as a watershed moment for our country. Are we a people defined by love or defined by hate? Ultimately, it is up to the electorate in the general election to decide. And perhaps if Secretary Clinton had the feather in her cap of Senator Sanders as her VP, it would be an easier argument to make to the millions of independents and millennials who are looking for a ticket that is genuine, experienced, and ready to take on a likely brutal contest these next six months.