Well, the Bernie freak out is now in full panic mode. The Bloomberg fizzle, following the Biden fade, has left the establishment gasping. Meanwhile, Bernie seems poised to win Nevada [if they can actually manage to count the votes], and the commentariat has finally grasped that the delegate apportionment rules may give him a daunting delegate lead on March 4th. I came very close to throwing my shoe at my TV set when I heard a nakedly anti-Bernie Chris Matthews report, as the killer detail from Bernie’s past, that Bernie had wept when JFK tried to overthrow Castro. As the co-chair and MC of the Cuba Protest Rally at Harvard in 1962, I took that rather personally. I am cheered by the return of Warren, whom I would delightedly support if she were somehow to get the nomination.
The time has come to ask three questions, to none of which I have genuine answers, but on all of which I have opinions.
First: can Bernie really win the nomination? He is the odds on favorite to have the delegate lead when the primaries are over, and he could conceivably have a majority, but if three or four others stay in the race, that could be very difficult to achieve. If Bernie is within two or three hundred of the number required and no one else is within a thousand, it would split the party and hand the election to Trump for the DNC to stage manage a coup for Biden or Bloomberg, or even Klobuchar or Buttigieg.
Second: if Bernie gets the nomination, will he win the election? My best guess is yes, but I genuinely don’t know. If, in the eight months before the election, the Corona virus becomes a genuine pandemic and tanks the world economy, Trump is toast. One part of my mind thinks that even with a good economy, anyone including Alfred E. Neuman [which is to say Mayor Pete] can beat Trump. But the prospect of a Trump re-election so appalls and frightens me that my analytical powers atrophy.
Third: if Bernie is elected, what sort of President would he be? That is a multi-part question, and the answers differ widely.
(i) as the manager of the enormous bureaucracy that is the federal government, he would be a disaster, unless he chose a really good Chief of Staff and delegated like crazy. His cabinet and sub-cabinet choices would be splendid.
(ii) as a proposer of legislation, he would be marvelous. As a successful enactor of progressive legislation, not so much, but that does not distinguish him from any of the other candidates, not even Warren.
(iii) as the Leader of the Free World [a.k.a. foreign and military policy head], I am not sure. He has no foreign policy expertise, no military experience, but his heart is in the right place.
(iv) BUT: if, unlike Obama, he were to keep his movement in existence and use it to elect progressive candidates at every level from School Committee to U. S. Senate, he could transform America.