clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Laura Washington: Get ready for battle of the unelectables

Bernie Sanders supporters in Burlington, Vt. protest outside a Donald Trump event on Jan. 7. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Follow @MediaDervishElectability. Voters, from today’s Iowa caucus goers to political junkies everywhere, are not focusing much on that critical factor in the 2016 presidential sweepstakes.Progressive Democrats loved George McGovern, the lefty lion and 1972 Democratic nominee. Michael Dukakis, the Democrats’ 1988 pick, was a Massachusetts liberal with a great head of hair. Remember where that got them?History shows us that electability can trump all.OPINION

Follow @MediaDervish

Speaking of Donald Trump, right now, Democrats are gleefully proclaiming the “D” Word.

If “The Donald” is the Republican nominee, we are home free, they cheer. The lovable Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is their other dream nominee.

A Cruz presidency would be so nauseating to mainstream GOP honchos they would have to live on maximum-strength Mucinex for the next four years.

The Democrats have Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. When he first launched his presidential bid, the party nodded its collective head knowingly. Bernie will just push our sure thing, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a tad to the left. No worries.

Now, most polls showing him just a sliver behind Hillary Clinton in Iowa, and winning New Hampshire handily.

And Sanders has found change he can believe in. He is drinking his own Kool-Aid. His campaign motto, “A future we can believe in” has a familiar ring.

“Almost all of the polls that — and polls are polls, they go up, they go down — but almost all of the polls that have come out suggest that I am a much stronger candidate against the Republicans than is Hillary Clinton,” PolitiFact quoted Sanders as saying last month at a town hall meeting in Underwood, Iowa.

Hmmm. Well, there’s one poll, the fact-checking web site noted. A NBC/Wall Street Journal survey completed Jan. 13 showed Sanders besting Trump by 13 points, compared to Clinton’s winning margin of by 7 points.

In 2008, the right called Barack Obama a radical socialist. The label didn’t stick. Sanders, however, is the real deal. He calls himself a “Democratic socialist.” GOP critics charge that Sanders and his wife, Jane, “honeymooned” in the Soviet Union.

During Thursday’s Republican debate, Marco Rubio declared: “Bernie Sanders is a socialist. I think Bernie Sanders is a good candidate for president of Sweden.”

If elected, he would take the oath of office at 75, America’s oldest president ever. His promises of free tuition at public colleges and universities, and a nationalized single-payer health care program are already icy cold, and dead on arrival.

The Democratic establishment will never forget McGovern and Dukakis. The lefties loved them. The rest of the country, not so much. In the 1972 general election, McGovern was slaughtered in a rout. Richard Nixon won 49 states, McGovern, one.

Then there’s Ralph Nader, the stalwart consumer advocate and windmill tilter. Nader was on the 2000 Green Party presidential ticket. That cost Vice President Al Gore history-changing votes in his razor-thin loss to George W. Bush.

This time, Michael Bloomberg is looking to jump into the fray. The former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman is mulling a third party bid, which would surely siphon away votes from the Democrats.

Democrats and Republicans are burdened with surging outsiders who are eschewing political tradition, conventional wisdom, and common sense.

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump may look unelectable now, but someone has to win.


Follow Laura Washington on Twitter: Follow @MediaDervish