Sanders or Clinton?

I’ve used a few posts to bash the Republican candidates for president. Now it’s time to take a look at the Democratic side. Perhaps we should spend more time thinking about the Democratic candidates, because either Ms Clinton or Senator Sanders is highly likely to be the next president of the United States.

The Republicans have a habit of nominating a presidential candidate who cannot possibly win in the general election, and they seem on their way to doing that in spades this year. Nominating Mr Trump or Senator Cruz would be suicidal. Even nominating Senator Rubio would almost guarantee a loss in the general election. All three of these candidates are far removed from the views of the typical American voter, although Senator Rubio is not nearly as far removed as the other two. Mr Trump is a clown, and Ted Cruz is so hated by people who actually know him that several Republican senators have declared that they will vote for the Democrat if Senator Cruz is the Republican nominee.

Although I’m partial to Martin O’ Malley’s Irish-sounding surname, he has little support. I expect that he will drop out of the contest after the first few primaries, so I will not waste virtual ink by discussing his views.

That leaves Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist.” I don’t know why he labels himself that way. The socialist label raises the image in the minds of many Americans of someone who wants to nationalize industry and have everyone work for the government. In socialist countries, of which which all but a few have collapsed, everything belongs to the state. Cuba springs to mind as an example. Those are not Senator Sanders’ views. I think it would be more accurate if Senator Sanders would label himself a “true liberal.”

I put the word “true” before the word “liberal,” because even the word liberal has become a term of disparagement among many who consider themselves conservatives. Radical conservatives paint anybody who disagrees with them with the liberal brush. They call Hillary Clinton a liberal, for example. I don’t think that hobnobbing with the richest of the rich makes one a liberal. I would call Ms Clinton more of a moderate, although Mr Sanders has caused Ms Clinton to campaign so far to the left that she seems to be out of her comfort zone.

The refreshing thing about Bernie Sanders is that he seems to be the only candidate in either party to say things that he truly believes without worrying about what effect that has on his poll numbers. He very correctly points out that our present system of taxation works to transfer wealth from the lower and middle classes to the ultra rich. That is undeniable. Historically, when a small group of people controls the majority of a country’s wealth, the result is a revolution. We’re far from being in danger of an armed revolution in this country, but history should teach us that it things continue along the present path, someday their will be an uprising against the rich.

Mr Sanders would revise the tax code so that the super rich would pay their fair share of taxes. That is not only necessary in order to have a civil society, it is the morally correct thing to do. As Warren Buffet has pointed out, his secretary pays a higher percentage of her earnings in income taxes than he does. That is not right!

Mr Sanders also wants to implement a single-payer healthcare system. I have lived in several European countries, and I can testify that the average person in those countries gets better healthcare than we do in the United States. Mr Sanders is right when he says that Americans would get better healthcare at a lower price with a single-payer system.

Ms Clinton, while applauding Mr Sanders’ ideas, points out that in the present political climate, it would be impossible to implement them. She is right. Say “single-payer health plan” to the typical member of the House of Representatives, and you’re likely to hear the word “socialism” in the House member’s response. To the typical politician, especially to the Republicans, a socialist is almost as bad as a liberal.

Then there is Senator Sanders’ lack of foreign-policy experience. He has none. I have yet to hear him lay out a plan to deal with ISIS.  Ms Clinton has a lot of experience dealing with other governments. Any Democratic primary voter has to ask if Senator Sanders prepared to handle not only ISIS, but al-Queda, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, and China on his first day in office? No, he would not be. There would be a learning curve.

On the other hand,  Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, and the second George Bush all lacked foreign-policy expertise when they became president. President Clinton started to catch on in the third year of his presidency. It took Barrack Obama a bit longer, and George Bush finally started to learn near the end of his second term, when it was too late. Bernie Sanders could learn to deal effectively with foreign policy, also. He’s a smart man. The question is: Do we want a new president to serve a foreign-policy apprenticeship during his first years in office?

Then there’s Ms Clinton. Most of us suspect that she is not entirely honest. She has modified her political opinions to make them more palatable to Democratic primary voters. She seems to have mislead us about her private email server when she was Secretary of State. Then, there are various conspiracy theories about her that seem to have zero basis in fact, so I will not mention them here.

 In other words, Ms Clinton is a typical politician. Perhaps we need a typical politician to deal with the politicians in Congress. Would Senator Sanders be able to get his programs through Congress? I highly doubt it. Ms Clinton, by precisely because she is not as pure as Senator Sanders, might have the advantage with working with those even more unscrupulous people in Congress. After all, we do not hire a president as a reward for good living. We hire a president to do a job.

By the way, in the left sidebar is an image of the cover of a book that I wrote and am selling on Amazon. Click on the image for more information of Amazon’s website.