Too Easy: How Republicans Would Tear Apart an Unvetted Bernie Sanders in the General Election
Bernie Sanders should have never gotten this far.
For nearly eight months, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was able to skate by thanks to a willing media in bad need of a horse race on the Democratic side. Sure, it would be a historic first in our country for a woman to be the first ever nominee from a major political party, but that kind of history is so boring. There's no drama in having a clear frontrunner, running a clean campaign, avoiding any major slip ups or scandals all while running against a weak, inept, and single-issue fringe candidate with no real legislative accomplishments to his name. By giving the race the sense of being a "coronation" the networks knew that the majority of viewers wouldn't be tuning it, despite that opportunity to see what the history books will eventually show as being a historical campaign. The media needed drama and the only way to create drama was to create a sense that the race was much closer than it actually was.
So like the good little Orwellian puppets that they are, our media did everything it could to create a horse race when one never existed. Sanders does well in Iowa and New Hampshire? The media simply ignores the fact that the demographics there play to Sanders' strengths. Sanders gets destroyed in South Carolina? The media simply ignores the fact that it's clear he hasn't won over the increasingly integral African-American voting bloc. Sanders struggles to win over Latinos? The media simply ignores the fact that he is unable to recreate the Obama coalition that was so successful in 2008 and 2012. Sanders wins a handful of states of Super Tuesday? The media simply ignores the fact that Sanders faced an impossible uphill climb to win the nomination from that point forward. Sanders wins 7 out of 8 primaries and caucuses in April? The media simply ignores the fact that Sanders is still down 240 delegates with multiple closed primaries looming. Sanders gets his second upset win in Indiana? The media simply ignores the fact that Hillary Clinton didn't spend any money on ad buys in the state and had already begun to shift her resources for the general election.
Along with simply ignoring basic delegate math, the media also had to bury any stories that made Sanders look bad. Thanks to some clever manipulation by the Sanders campaign themselves, they were able to successfully do this by creating counter narratives to try and justify the campaign's deceitful actions. Bernie Sanders caught stealing information from Hillary Clinton's voter files? Sue the DNC for shutting off the Sanders campaign's own access to their information as a punishment! Bernie Sanders flying to the Vatican to try and pander to New York's Catholic population? Claim it's because you've had a lifelong admiration for the Pope and simply couldn't pass up this opportunity! Bernie Sanders refusing to release more than one year of tax returns? Say that you'll do so when Hillary Clinton releases her full Goldman Sachs speech transcripts! Bernie Sanders' supporters creating a near-riot at the Nevada state convention? Blame the Democratic Party rather than taking responsibility for your supporters and your campaign!
Yet despite the media doing its best to create a sense of suspense, it's now painfully obvious to anyone not stuck in the cult of Bernie that Hillary Clinton will unquestionably be the Democratic nominee for president. Hillary's lead is insurmountable and she has significant leads in both New Jersey and California, the last two major delegates prizes this primary season. Despite being less than a month away from history in having the first ever woman officially clinch the nomination for a major political party in this country, that news is still bad news for the media. That would mean nearly a month and a half of no drama from either Republicans or Democrats which our news media simply cannot have. With Donald Trump now being the unquestioned nominee on the Republican side, it's up to Democrats to create some sort of drama between now and the July convention.
Fortunately for the media, they have a willing stooge in Bernie Sanders to do this.
Despite having no chance of winning the nomination, Bernie Sanders is now openly intent upon doing damage to Hillary Clinton. While Clinton rightfully asserts that she will be the Democratic nominee for president, Sanders still somehow and some way believes that he still has a chance. Should he lose New Jersey and California on June 7th (which appears more than likely) Sanders will have not only lost the popular vote by over 3 million, the delegate count by over 300, and more states than Clinton but he will also have lost any claim about having momentum leading up to the convention. Were that to happen then the only case Sanders would be left with would be the fact that certain polls show he would do better in a head-to-head matchup against Donald Trump. However, this very argument is flawed for a very obvious reason: an unvetted Bernie Sanders would get absolutely torn apart by Republicans in a general election campaign.
Don't believe me? What's the worst thing you've heard about Bernie Sanders from the mainstream media over the past year? The fact that he once supported Castro? The fact that he was unable to explain how he'd break up the banks in his New York Daily News interview? How he won't release his tax returns? How he refused to commit to fundraising for down-ballot Democratic candidates for nearly ten months? Chances are you've read more about Sanders' interactions with the local Portland avian community than you have about criticisms of his campaign and his voting record.
Republicans are keenly aware of this. It's why Donald Trump has stated he wants to run against Bernie Sanders. He knows the kind of portrait Republicans would paint with all the opposition research they have done. Being called 'Crazy Bernie' would be the nicest thing Donald Trump and Republicans would say about Bernie Sanders. They'd attack his background, his family, his voting record, you name it. When all is said and done, they'd make Sanders look like the second coming of Karl Marx, ready to create a world of poverty and despair through Soviet-style communism. Most of us know that isn't true, but the average voter does not. But that's what the general election will be: reaching out to the average, low-information voter. And unfortunately, Bernie Sanders' closet is filled with skeletons that the mainstream media has gleefully ignored. Were he to actually be the Democratic nominee, Republicans would without question unleash a barrage of attacks that would invoke such titles as:
Bernie The Rapist
Think everything in Bernie's past is off-limits? Republicans know better. They know Bernie Sanders wrote a fictitious essay in 1972 describing the a woman enjoying being raped by three men. This was not the work of a high school boy. Or a horny college student. This was the work of a thirty-one-year-old man. With a child. If you think Republicans wouldn't go after this essay in an attempt to hurt Sanders' standing among women you'd be crazy. Republicans would plaster this essay all over a series of ads to discredit Sanders support among women voters and they'd do it without giving it a second thought.
Bernie The Bum
Think Republicans wouldn't attempt to portray Sanders as a drain on the system? Sanders collected unemployment through his mid-30s and did a series of odd jobs including carpentry, teaching, working as a hospital aid, and working for a nonprofit. At one point, he stole electricity from his neighbor because he had failed to pay his own bills. At this time, Sanders also shared custody of his son and quite possibly struggled to pay child support. Think Republicans wouldn't try to portray Bernie as a deadbeat dad? Then you clearly don't know Republicans.
Bernie's Disdain For Latinos
Think Republicans wouldn't attempt to lessen Sanders' support among key Democratic voting blocs like Latinos? In 1994, Sanders co-sponsored a bill that would have allow low-level nuclear waste from Vermont to be shipped to the poor Latino community of Sierra Blanca, Texas. Activists from Sierra Blanca fought back for four years and even traveled 2,000 miles to Vermont to speak with then Congressman Sanders. Sanders' response? He told the activists he didn't care and that he had a re-election campaign to worry about. Republicans would be certain that Sanders would be forever associated with the terms 'Sierra Blanca' and 'environmental racism.'
Bernie's Apathy Toward African-Americans
Besides women and Latinos, African-Americans represent another essential part of the Obama coalition needed to win a general election. Sanders is proud of his early civil rights work but don't think for a second that Republicans wouldn't remind the voters that Sanders has been noticeably absent for the past half-century. They'd point out how Sanders was "invisible" to African-Americans activists in Vermont and how civil rights icon John Lewis "never saw" Sanders go to bat for civil rights issues while in Congress. Don't doubt that Republicans wouldn't gleefully use these instances to portray Sanders as someone who simply isn't invested in the African-American community.
"Bernie The Bomber"
Think Republicans wouldn't love to shatter Sanders' angelic reputation among his core supporters? Sanders consistently touts his anti-war record. Yet in 1999, he voted in favor of NATO's military mission in Yugoslavia, much to the dismay of his hometown supporters. In fact, his supporters were so upset that they went to Congressman Sanders' office to speak to him or someone with his staff. Sanders was in D.C. but the protesters were promptly arrested without being given an audience. Yup, that's right. Civil rights hero Bernie Sanders openly arrested protesters in his own congressional office. Republicans could literally kill two birds with one stone by using this instance to show Sanders and being pro-war and pro-establishment at the same time.
Bernie The War Hawk
Sanders has also gone on record against excessive military spending. Yet Republicans would gladly point out how he openly supports the military's $1.5 trillion F-35 boondoggle that epitomizes superfluous military spending as well as perpetual war. Why does Sanders support this? Because it brings jobs to his home state of Vermont. And anything that brings jobs helps to get Senator Sanders re-elected every six years which is much more important than one's principled anti-war stance. Republicans would be sure to remind everyone in the other 49 states that Sanders loves to enrich his own pockets through war.
As we've already seen with Donald Trump, spouses are fair game in the year 2016. Unfortunately, for Bernie Sanders, his wife Jane has more than enough baggage for Donald Trump and Republicans to use. Not only has she continued to profit off of the same nuclear commission involved in the Sierra Blanca case, but she also received a $200,000 golden parachute from Burlington College, where she served as president to a for-profit school that is scheduled to close later this month due to crushing debt. She also has been accused of bank fraud for potentially having scammed the Catholic Church out of nearly $2 million in a land deal. If Donald Trump would criticize a woman for her looks, imagine what he'd do to someone who has a shady background concerning business deals and personal finances.
Republicans know it's one thing to paint someone a certain way because of their policies, but it's another one entirely to paint someone a certain way because of their lifestyle. Bernie Sanders was an open supporter of Communism in the 1980s. He honeymooned in the USSR and traveled to Cuba in 1989 in an unsuccessful attempt to meet with Fidel Castro. Yet these two instances pale in comparison to Sanders' interactions in Nicaragua. Not only has Sanders gone on record in praise of the Sandinistas but he also attended an anti-American rally where the crowd chanted for "death to the Yankees." Combine this nugget of information along with Sanders' radical ideas on income inequality and Republicans could easily paint him as an unpatriotic anarchist hell-bent on destroying America.
Bernie The Crook
Don't think for a second that Donald Trump wouldn't attack Sanders on anything and everything related to finances. Unfortunately for Sanders, his campaign has left a lot to be desired in this regard. Sanders and his campaign have been flagged for multiple campaign finance violations including 639 pages worth this past month. These violations combined with the fact that the Sanders campaign has a mystery $10 million donation from one single address in Washington, D.C. that has yet to be accounted for. In addition, Sanders' long time friend and political advisor Tad Devine is raking in a cool $800,000 a month for his consulting firm. With this in mind, there can be no question that Donald Trump would go after Sanders for being a hustler, a con man, and a crook when it came to other people's money.
Bernie The Hypocrite
The last line of attack Republicans use would be a culmination of everything Sanders has said or done throughout his political career. They'd point out that Sanders has railed against super PACS but is being openly supported by the National Nurses United. They'd point out that Sanders went on the picket line to support Verizon workers but he uses Verizon at his campaign headquarters. They'd point out that Sanders has spoken out against Boeing but that he has accepted over $72,000 from them this election cycle alone. They'd point out that Sanders criticized Hillary Clinton for supporting the 1994 Crime Bill but Sanders himself expressed no regret in actually voting for the bill. They'd point out that Sanders claims to be against the NRA but was supported by them for his first successful congressional run in 1990. They'd point out that Sanders claims to be able to work across the aisle but that his blind ideology caused him to vote against the Amber Alert system. They'd point out that Sanders supports universal health care but it failed in his home state of Vermont due to high costs. They'd point out that Sanders has consistently bashed Democrats, including President Obama, and is admittedly using the party for his own personal gain. And, perhaps most damaging, Republicans would point out how Sanders has claimed to be able to save families money but has openly admitted that "we will raise taxes" in order to enact his agenda.
So that's the Bernie Sanders Republicans would present to us over the next five plus months. A womanizing, hypocritical, radical who along with his wife have fleeced the American public for both exposure and financial gain. An inept Senator who has done nothing for Latinos, African-Americans or other core Democratic voting blocs that he has professed to care deeply about. A closet war hawk, who loves war when it benefits his constituents, loves guns when it helps get him elected, and who will blatantly ignore or even arrest those who have the audacity to question his motives. A man whose past has more questions than answers and who lived off unemployment for 13 years as he attempted to find a way to monetize his radical views. A man who willing to say or do anything to become elected for a "political revolution" that he completely ignored for the first 73 years of his life.
That Bernie Sanders would get undeniably obliterated by Donald Trump in the general election. Because unlike the media, Trump would willing use this information in the way described above. Trump wants to win and win badly and as we've seen with the Republican primary, he is willing to stoop to any level to do so. The rules of political engagement have been thrown out the window in the year 2016 and there is no doubt that Bernie Sanders would not be able to win this new, unregulated game. Whereas Hillary Clinton has the proven ability to rise above the fray, Sanders is irascible and erratic and cannot handle being verbally attacked or questioned, something Trump excels at. Combine that with the fact that Trump would certainly bully Sanders through low blows and crude remarks and you have the ingredients for a situation where Sanders would almost certainly be unable to defend himself on the national stage.
And that ultimately is why Sanders' argument in favor for his polling against Donald Trump holds no water. The American public is simply unaware of Sanders' background, even after him having been in the public eye for 13 months. Ninety-nine percent of Latinos don't know the significance of Sierra Blanca but if Bernie Sanders were to be the nominee you can certainly count on that number being cut in at least half. The same can be said of Sanders and his rape essay with women or Sanders and his inability to reach out to African-Americans. By hearing these targeted attacks, these core Democratic voting blocs would be less likely to turn out in a general election. Combine that with the fact that many low-information voters easily confuse communism with socialism and would be scared to vote for a socialist and you can easily see how Bernie Sanders would in no way be a stronger candidate than Hillary Clinton in the general election. Despite what any poll states in May about any hypothetical general election matchup in November, there's a lot to be said of the fact that Hillary Clinton has been excessively vetted so both her and her campaign are ready for what Donald Trump will throw at them over the next five months. The same unfortunately cannot be said for Bernie Sanders.
And that is why Sanders' claim that he is the stronger candidate against Donald Trump is a completely ridiculous argument.
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