A Tortured Path To The Democrat Nomination
Last night’s Democrat debate in South Carolina underscored the difficulty Hillary Clinton will have if she is to become the first woman President. Simply stated, Clinton must win the primary process in the face of deja vu all over again. ABC’s Rick Kline described the Clinton-Sanders contest as a race between the Party’s heart and its mind. Remember Barack Obama’s appeal in 2008?
Sanders has chosen two factually sound positions (controls for too big to fail banks, and universal healthcare). Both issues are enormously difficult to message in sufficient detail for the electorate to quickly grasp.
Banks which gamble with depositors money are inherently dangerous and enormously unfair to tax payers who must bail out the banks should their “bets” go bust. There must be some consequence for any large bank that seeks a bail out, like a complete replacement of its board and chief executives (with clawbacks on past bonuses), and the loss of complete shareholder value. Breaking up existing “too big to fail” is an option but so would a set of consequences which could minimize these death wish strategies that nearly brought the worlds banking system to collapse in 2008.
Sanders second issue, universal healthcare, could not be more founded on fact. Regardless of whether someone feels healthcare is a right or if someone feels healthcare is a privilege, the unvarnished truth is Americans spends twice as much for healthcare than another modern country in the world and receive no better health outcomes. Obamacare goes a long way in achieving healthcare as a right, but has not made a significant dent in the per capita cost. A universal healthcare system like Germany or France’s would make that correction…. but would turn the current system on its head. How can we expect a Sanders proposal to suddenly pass in Congress when President Obama can’t get Federal Judge nominations through committee for a vote?
The general election will be different. The GOP has already scoped out extreme and provocative positions with which either a Hillary or a Bernie will stand in sharp contrast. Of the two, Bernie’s passion around healthcare and the banks will fade when confronted with GOP attacks on healthcare, Medicaid, Social Security, lower taxes for the rich (leading to more budget pressure on entitlements, and a return to neoconservative policies which got America into the Iraq War and the morphed nation building role in Afghanistan.
While many are “feeling the Bern”, in a general election campaign either candidate will be judged more as the opposite of the GOP and its platform than for what they might advocate during the primaries. The months ahead will determine whether it’s Hillary or Bernie but it is doubtful that universal healthcare or breaking up the banks will decide the general election.