Sunday, July 5, 2015

Political reality

The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is in full swing, even though the primaries don't start for another seven months. The two leading candidates are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of New York and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders is a longtime favorite among liberal activists; he has been outspoken in his opposition to the invasion of Iraq, the national surveillance state, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and other policies supported by centrist Democrats and Republicans. Clinton is a former U.S. Senator and former First Lady. She notoriously voted for the invasion of Iraq, which arguably cost her the Democratic nomination in 2008. Since entering the 2016 presidential race, she has focused on economic populism, in stark contrast to her history as a founding member of the centrist, pro-corporate Democratic Leadership Council.

Although Clinton has a massive fundraising and name-recognition advantage, Sanders has been drawing enthusiastic crowds to his campaign events. At a rally in Madison, Wisconsin four days ago, nearly 10,000 supporters showed up, the largest crowd attracted by any candidate for either party. Polling shows Sanders running neck-and-neck with Clinton in the early New Hampshire primary.

However, there is one factor working against Sanders that nobody is willing to talk about, and that will, I believe, cost him the Democratic nomination: the presidency of George W. Bush.

The Bush presidency has been the worst for the country in the last 150 years; arguably, the worst ever. He lied the country into an illegal war in Iraq, severely curtailed civil liberties while presiding over a massive increase in surveillance, and made the torturing of prisoners a key military policy. And while it is irrational and wrong to hold all white men to blame for Bush's actions, the public is unfortunately prone to allow emotion and prejudice to dictate its actions.

Let's face it: after the disasters Bush inflicted on the country, no white man is going to be allowed to become president for a long time. Bernie Sanders is making a valiant effort, but in the end, the prejudice against white men that Bush has instilled in the American public is too great to overcome. The Democrats know this, and that's why Hillary Clinton has been the frontrunner, and why she will, ultimately, win the Democratic nomination and the presidency next year.

Maybe in another sixteen or twenty years, the public will be ready for another white male president. But for now, it's too soon.

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