Why This Conservative Sent Bernie Sanders $10

That sound you hear is Hillary Clinton supporters whistling past the graveyard.  On June 19, The Hill posted on its website an article titled “Sanders surge is becoming a bigger problem for Clinton,” the first sentence of which reads, “Sanders is surging in the race for the party’s presidential nomination.”

Well, viva la surge, because, should Vermont senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign continue to gain traction, there will come a point where it will behoove conservatives to do everything possible to translate Sanders’s surge into a full-blown crisis for the Clinton campaign – a crisis, à la Rahm Emanuel, the GOP should not waste.

Indeed, that point has already been reached, which is why this writer just sent Bernie Sanders $10.00.

First, after a full century of currency destruction courtesy of your friendly Federal Reserve, what can you buy for $10 these days that would be as much fun as, let alone more fun than watching Hillary struggle to navigate the treacherous waters between Scylla, the far-left base of the Democratic Party, whose votes she will desperately need to win the general election, and Charybdis, the moderates and independents, whose votes she will also need?  Regardless of what the meaning of is is, Clinton cannot simultaneously agree and disagree with Sanders.  So what is the exact right amount to embrace Scylla’s views without alienating Charybdis?

This writer predicts that Hillary goes left; indeed, there are strong indications, such as in her recent Roosevelt Island “campaign announcement re-do,” that, precisely because Bernie has entered the race – and plucked the heartstrings of progressives everywhere, but especially in the important early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire – she already has:

Sanders has begun sharpening his attacks against Clinton — and she has started to move toward Sanders on at least one issue.

Clinton on Thursday said she would vote against giving President Obama fast-track authority, which would make it easier for the White House to negotiate trade deals.  That came after weeks in which Sanders bashed Obama’s former secretary of State for not taking a clear position.

This constitutes a complete 180 from her past publicly expressed support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during her tenure as secretary of state (emphasis mine):

[W[e need to keep upping our game… through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. ... This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements[.]

Somehow, for Clinton, the TPP has lost its golden luster since 2012, when she said the above.  That “somehow” – actually, some-one – of course, is Bernie Sanders.  After literally weeks of avoiding definitive comment, Clinton was forced to take a public position.  By Bernie Sanders.

Note also the particular issue: TPP, near and dear to the heart of the sitting president who not only is the head of her own party.  He is also the fave rave of a major part of the Democratic base, blacks, whose vote Clinton will need in Obama-historic-size numbers to carry her to the Oval Office.  Which is precisely why she struggled for so long not to answer, because of the choice it forces her to make, between appealing to the broad electorate without losing the support of the ever-expanding liberal portion of the Democratic base.  That’s a juggling act that would challenge even the Great McGonigle.

So why not make Hillary’s juggling act even harder?  The more, and more extreme, positions she is forced to take, the better for Republicans.  Bernie Sanders is the perfect person to force her, and the perfect place for him to do it is in a primary debate, where both candidates will be standing together on the same stage, and millions of voters will be watching.  And, more important, listening.

And just what might some of those issues be?  A look at Sanders’s Senate voting record should provide some clues.  Based on that record, Sanders:

  • opposes the Keystone Pipeline;
  • believes that wealthy Americans are undertaxed;
  • believes that HHS grants should go to organizations that perform abortions;
  • opposes making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime;
  • opposes banning partial-birth abortions;
  • opposes school vouchers;
  • opposes drilling in ANWR;
  • believes that the government should regulate wholesale electricity and gas prices;
  • would provide (read, waste) another $2 billion more on the “cash for clunkers” program;
  • opposes free trade;
  • would give the District of Columbia a seat in Congress;
  • opposes requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections;
  • opposes banning physician-assisted suicide;
  • opposes continuing military recruitment on college campuses;
  • supports continuing federal funds for declared “sanctuary cities”;
  • opposes building a fence along the Mexican border;
  • supports card-check instead of secret ballot for forming unions;
  • opposes eliminating the “marriage penalty”;
  • opposed $46 billion in tax cuts for small business;
  • opposes designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as terrorists; and
  • opposes promoting work and marriage among TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) recipients.

Needless to say, Bernie Sanders’s positions are to the left, if not far to the left, light-years, in some cases, of most Americans’.

But for many, if not most, Democrats, Sanders’s positions are just right.  McGovern’s were in ’72.  And it behooves the GOP to make sure that the electorate understands that – that despite Bill Clinton, Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Leadership Council (Remember them?), and vociferous protestations to the contrary, it’s the same old, same old Democratic Party.  It hasn’t changed.

And Bernie Sanders is just the right guy to do it.

Who knows what specific issues Sanders will emphasize going forward, what questions he will ask Mrs. Clinton, either rhetorically on the stump, or directly in a debate?  But do expect each such issue, position, and question to play to the sensibilities of the most left-leaning of the Democratic base, forcing Clinton into one of three irreconcilable positions:

  • Agree with Sanders, satisfying the Democratic Party’s liberal base, but alienating everyone else.
  • Disagree with Sanders, satisfying everyone else, but alienating the Democratic Party’s liberal base.
  • Weasel, or at least try to weasel, out of answering the question.

This writer predicts, with reasonable confidence, that Hillary goes for the third option, at least initially.  (“I agree with Senator Sanders, but…”  “I disagree with Senator Sanders, but…”)

Well, good luck with that.  Even with today’s sycophantic, blatantly partisan Democratic mainstream press, answering reporters’ questions by not answering them takes one only so far.  Certainly, one should not anticipate this tactic, which seems to work so well with the Clinton court stenographers of the press, working as well with a political opponent, Bernie Sanders, with deep and long-held beliefs beyond wanting to be president because he feels entitled to the office.

Hillary may avoid answering questions from the press, but can how long can she avoid answering questions from Bernie Sanders?

More important, how long can she avoid answering questions put to her not rhetorically, on the stump, but directly, face-to-face, on a debate stage?

One cannot predict what the Hillary Clinton will do if confronted with a credible challenge from the far-left-proudly-socialist Bernie Sanders and forced to take definite positions, preferably in a face-to-face debate with Bernie Sanders.  But one can get an idea from what she is saying now, at a time while she still remains solidly ahead of the senator from Vermont (emphasis mine):

Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she takes a "backseat to no one" on championing liberal causes, presenting herself as a standard-bearer for Democrats as primary challenger Bernie Sanders generates large, energetic crowds.

“I take a backseat to no one when you look at my record of standing up and fighting for progressive values,” Clinton said[.]

Ah, yes, the magic phrase: “progressive values.”  And unless there has been a recent revision of the English language of which this writer is unaware, when Hillary Clinton says that she “take[s] a backseat to no one” in “fighting for progressive values,” she is saying that she as liberal – as far to the left – as proudly self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders.  A stance that inspires joy in the heart of every liberal, and fear into the hearts of just about everyone else.  A stance that is far to the left of the majority off Americans.  A stance that conservatives should want that majority to hear Hillary Clinton utter early, and often.

It is easily worth $10 to this conservative to help make that happen.

Go, Bernie, go!

Gene Schwimmer is a New York Licensed real estate broker and the author of The Christian State.  Follow Gene Schwimmer on Twitter.