Now I know what Alice must have felt like when falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Last June I called Trump a “clown” and have not even tried to cover Sanders because he was a self-proclaimed “socialist,” a political scarlet letter “S” I assumed a majority of Americans couldn’t stomach.
Now I see Trump as a clever ringmaster who has made clowns of observers like me not to mention his fellow party candidates. And, while I still doubt a majority of Americans can accept a socialist president, perhaps enough Democrats can to make Bernie their nominee, especially if Hillary’s campaign continues to be plagued by the email mess she created and Bill’s philandering past and a $125,000,000 they have received in speaking fees since they left the White House.
It is now at least “thinkable” that our presidential race could come down to Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders. After all, one Vegas odds maker makes Trump an odds-on favorite and lists Bernie’s chances as 5/1 to win a primary (Hillary remains a 1/10 super favorite).
If a Trump-Sanders show down seems possible what isn’t? What about this? According to polls a number of Trump supporters pick Sanders as their second choice for president, and vice-versa with Sanders followers, ignoring party lines. Despite many differences between the two (e. g. Sanders wants to change a “corrupt system” which favors a few and Trump blames the “idiots” who run it for not making good deals for our country) they represent a determination to change the status quo and that common desire has attracted large, enthusiastic followings, reminiscent of when hope and change was Obama’s calling card.
How either candidate might change the workings of government is hard to magine. Bernie has plans, like a single payer health system, Medicare for all, but how would he get support for it? (1.) The main reason Obamacare hasn’t worked out to the satisfaction of many, is that too many deals had to be made with too many factions within his own party to barely get it passed.
And if it is hard to imagine what Bernie would actually succeed in doing, imagining Trump as president is unimaginable. So much of his successful candidacy has lay in the realm of the unpredictable, why would it suddenly change if he were president? And since he has no policy plans, only slogans and threats, what would he actually do if given the chance?
The situation seems “iffy” enough to throttle much speculation for now and wait for things to sort out more, but in the interim I will soon return to my favorite topic of what Trump’s success says about us. While Bernie is becoming more interesting as his chances have improved, he still runs a regular political campaign and that cannot become as addictive for many as a reality TV show with continuous plot twists. Most of us do not get hooked on a mere political campaign, but we do when it comes to a favorite TV show.
As in Wonderland, there is a surreality about Trump’s campaign. He has successfully ignored traditional political wisdom in running to win the presidency, but as good as he is at talking a great game, if actually given the chance to govern, who knows how or what he would do? Might he have us so hooked at that point that we will vote him in just to see? But that reality check is still just a possibility down the line.
For now I doubt if I am alone waking up each day wondering what new Trump surprise will be awaiting on the morning cable shows. How has he stolen the next news cycle this time? Oh, he has put Ted Cruz on the defense again, something others have been unable to do, and…. Oh, a surprise endorsement from Sarah Palin flying to Iowa to announce it, important because she had supported Cruz in his Senate race.
Trump has gotten us to the point where we are always wondering: What will Donald say or do next? If able to maintain that curiousity with Republicans, Trump seems likely to win the primary, surprised as I am to say that.
Will he then find a way to make the election all about him as well, make it his show as he has the primary? Well, I for one would be very curious to see.
(1.) Surprisingly, Trump has said that a single payer system seems to work well in other countries and may rate a look. If his mesmerizing power turns him into President Trump I can imagine him arguing that we are the richest country in the world and a great nation should take care of its sick and a single payer system would be the best way to do it. Cut out all those high cost insurance middle men and pressure the drug companies for lower prices. And suddenly this would cease to be a socialist idea and instead a common sense solution.