By Brigitte L. Nacos
In spreading the message of economic and social inequality more widely than the Occupy Wall Street movement and forcing the discussion of this fundamental unfairness into the political discourse is and will remain Bernie Sanders’ merit.
But when populists are buoyed by large, enthusiastic, oftentimes fanatic crowds, their egos get into the way of reason. Drawing the “us” versus “them” card becomes the everyday rhetorical diet regardless of the broken dishes left behind.
In justifying his claim that he and not Hillary Clinton can beat Donald Trump in the November election Bernie Sanders relies on poll results. But should he and should we trust those polls?
I do not think so; and here is why: As underdog in the Democratic race Bernie Sanders has not been scrutinized by rivals on the Democratic or the Republican side or by the media. Of late Donald Trump sides openly with Bernie. Since he is assured of the GOP nomination Trump can now watch with glee how Bernie attacks Hillary in his quest to somehow wrestle the nomination away from her.
I am sure though that Capitalist Trump would love to run against Socialist Sanders knowing full well that even in a crazy election year like this one a socialist will not be elected as president.
As noted, so far nobody has laid a glove on Bernie Sanders or his closest adviser, wife Jane. That’s the underdog advantage. While reporters and pundits press Trump for the release of his tax returns and Clinton for the transcripts of her Goldman Sachs speeches, nobody seems to mind that Mr. and Mrs. Sanders have not yet produced their 2015 tax return. Nobody has tried to dig out controversies that may have occurred in the past of Bernie and Jane.
Even when events point to questionable actions and result in some news coverage, nobody seems to care. Earlier this week, for example, there were reports of the forthcoming closure of Burlington College in Vermont with references to Jane Sanders and her role in the demise of the tiny private institution. As past president, Mrs. Sanders made allegedly a controversial real estate decision that saddled the college with a heavy and eventually fatal debt burden. Years before the end of Burlington College Sanders departed reportedly with a hefty $200,000 severance package.
Were Trump and Sanders to face each other in the general campaign, the latter and his family would not merely be attacked by The Donald but also scrutinized by the media.
For Bernie, then, the polls would no longer be as tempting as they are today.