Much has been said, and still quite much more will be heard and read, of how the Republican establishment is frenziedly animated into stopping Donald Trump in his tracks. Among other motives, the prime movers of the Stop Trump movement are full of trepidation about what could happen to the party of Ronald Reagan should Trump become the nominee and, by some queer twist of fate, win the November election.
Should Trump become the nominee, the fear goes, traditional Republicanism as we still know it today will cease to exist. A lot of the things the party philosophy frowns on could well end up becoming its article of faith. Gay Marriage. Welfare. Medicare. Social security. Abortion rights. Voting rights for all groups, or what have you. The party, by a gradual process of alchemy, could transmute into something else that would make Reagan turn endlessly in his grave. The establishment, not wanting any of that, has resolved to fight this “Trojan Horse” in their midst with all the resources it has got.
Now in a much different and perverse sense, suppose Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Party’s Trojan Horse? Suppose Sanders has come to take the Party of Obama radically out of its mainstream to ensure its defeat in November so that it could rise from the ashes of its own death and thereafter look exactly like what Sanders wants?
When he launched his run for the White House as a latter-day Democrat last year, Sanders, formerly an Independent, began on a rather innocuous and promising note. He would not run a negative campaign, he said. He would not own a super pac, he promised. He would focus simply on the issues that agitated the minds of the people, he gave his word.
Not particularly a great public speaker like Obama or Clinton or any Democratic candidate before him, no one thought the senator from Vermont could go far. But with time the issues he raised and the passion with which he backgrounded them, began to light up fire in the souls of men. Next Sanders brought in self-centered professionals to run his campaign. The Clinton campaign, representing the more traditional core of the party, now began to fret. And rightly, of course.
The story hasn’t been the same since. The once avuncular, nice-sounding Sanders has, all so suddenly, become a grouchy, nasty-sounding fellow who delights, or so it seems, in feuding with anyone and anything in sight, from Clinton, his primary opponent, to the DNC to Goldman Sachs to Fossil Fuels to Wall Street to the Washington Post and etcetera. Time and again, he has impugned the character of his primary opponent, and is now even suing the Democratic Party on whose platform he hopes to rise to become the leader of his country and the free world. Sanders has quarrels with the media as a whole, or anyone in the media who is so audacious as to ask him the tough questions about how he intends to pay for the Shangri la he is promising the incurably idealistic amongst us.
Sanders is raising gigantic sums of money online for his campaign alone, while Clinton, the opponent he savages, and whose character he continues to cast doubts on, is busy thinking beyond herself as she raises money for the DNC as well, all in the certain knowledge that we succeed only when we win collectively, not individually.
In the last two months alone, Sanders has raised well over $80 million online, most of which he intends to spend on negative ads against Clinton while at the same time pursuing his suit against the party whose ticket he seeks to run the election.
When once asked in Ohio why he had chosen to run as a Democrat and not as an Independent, Sanders didn’t respond by saying that he’d thus decided because he believed in most, if not some, of the party’s ideas. Instead, he said he’d decided to do that because he needed the media publicity and the large sums of money that would come with running as a Democrat. Running as an Independent, he argued, could starve him of much of that badly needed pretty penny and publicity.
How prescient! Sanders, 72, and a self-confessed social democrat, has been getting tons and tons of money and attention from the media, even far more than he needs to motor his campaign splendidly along the road to Philadelphia. In March alone, Sanders hauled in $44 million, larger than the $40 million he received from his online contributors in February. As I have said, a large portion of that money will be used to savage Clinton and make her, should she become the nominee, a weaker candidate for the GOP to attempt to make a short work of.
So, you come back to the conundrum: Suppose Sanders, in his own special way, is the Democratic Party’s Trojan Horse? Suppose he’s out to ruin the party ahead of the November election?
I pose those questions knowing that Sanders knows that the math does not favor him. At the present time, it should be far easier to Feel the Math than to Feel the Bern, although I must confess I haven’t, and never will, Feel the Bern. Sanders and Tad Devine, his campaign’s communication director, know that, mathematically, he cannot overcome Clinton’s lead in delegates. A Carmel would first and foremost have to pass through the eye of a needle neatly. Unless an asteroid falls down from the sky and crushes Clinton to smithereens, unless she gets indicted by the FBI — a thing the Sanders campaign must be banking on — Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. But none of the two scenarios above is going to happen, so what is the point of Sanders’s desperation and this strategy of his that amounts to scorched earth policy if not to destroy the Democratic Party? Well, I’m just saying.