If Hillary implodes, will Democrats choose Sanders?

If Hillary implodes, will Democrats choose Sanders?

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Clinton's campaign is failing under the weight of an email scandal, an automaton candidate, and Democrats stuck between cynicism and boredom. Can Bernie help?

Bernie and Hillary: Definitely not cool
Bernie and Hillary: Definitely not cool

DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 30, 2016 — As the kleptocratic android candidacy of Hillary Clinton begins to implode with an expected loss in Iowa, the beginning of the end is in sight, giving the surging Bernie Sanders candidacy a game-changing opportunity.

The Democratic Party is scrambling as the Clinton campaign once again unravels amidst inevitability gone awry, uninspired campaigning, self-congratulatory diatribes and growing legal problems on the way to a coronation, now dethroned.

Democratic leaders are on the verge of facing the spectacle of an insurgent, motivated, well organized Sanders campaign clobbering Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire, and turning key African-American leaders in South Carolina to his cause in time for an upset there.

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The calendar makes it difficult for a new candidate to get into the race; filing deadlines are fast evaporating. Once Sanders gains the momentum of crushing victories in the first two states, his campaign will explode with new donations and grass roots support in the remaining battleground states. It’s 2008 all over again.

Even if Clinton battles on through a succession of primary states, it’s clear that once the balloon of inevitability is pierced, an implosion can’t be far behind. Money will, and already has been drying up. Campaign overhead is enormous, donors are skeptical and tapped out, her grass roots support is unenthusiastic, her crowds are small, her excitement is forced.

The sword hanging over her head is the email scandal and the coming expectation that the FBI may recommend an indictment. It’s no longer just a right-wing lunatic conspiracy but a serious criminal investigation that will shortly land on the attorney general’s desk.

Her guilt for storing highly classified information on her unsecured server is indisputable. The jeopardy of her senior aides to criminal prosecution, including Huma Abedin,is real. At the very least, several people will be forced to fall on their swords for her, and as they go down not all of them will go quietly.

If the FBI recommends indictments at any level and the attorney general and White House fail to act or prosecute, expect a Watergate-style, Saturday Night Massacre spate of resignations from senior FBI officials, followed by public denunciations.

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This puts the White House in a no-win situation of Hillary’s making, and that makes it all the more deliciously Shakespearean. You couldn’t write fiction like this because no one would believe that anyone would be stupid enough to send high level communications of any sort on an unsecured server.

Honestly, that’s the crux of it: the sheer stupidity of leaving high level U.S. government communications so vulnerable and the pathetic mendacity of acting like she did nothing wrong.

It’s prima facie, it speaks for itself, and in the face of the precedent set by the handling of Gen. Petraeus, it is a perfect storm of self-evident wrongdoing.

Petraeus may have shared classified information with his mistress, but the secretary of state shared her emails in real time with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. Which of these acts seems to have had actual, harmful repercussions?

And that’s just the emails we can see. It doesn’t even include the 30,000 deleted messages, unless those have also been recovered by the FBI. This is a shoe that isn’t just going to drop, it’s going to blow up in her face and leave body parts all over the Democratic Party.

This is the problem: the Democrats have a crippled front-runner on the verge of losing the first three contests—while facing potential criminal indictment—to a Democratic Socialist who has galvanized his supporters in an unlikely grassroots coalition.

But the Democratic Party establishment is afraid of Bernie Sanders, seeing him as a certain loser in the general election. They will be in a state of panic as reality dawns and they frantically look for a replacement for Hillary.

Hillary will not go quietly into the good night, either, all of which is quite a problem for the Democrats as it may end up being too late to stop a Sanders nomination.

If not, the obvious alternatives are Joe Biden and John Kerry, ready-mix presidents waiting in the wings to be brought out of cold storage and defrosted.

Either would make a very capable nominee and could easily carry the mantle of the party the establishment seeks in wrapping itself in the concept of an Obama third term.

A more interesting choice would be Gov. Jerry Brown, who could run the country the way he has California, with just him and his wife Ann as chief of staff in the Oval Office.

Brown has done a remarkable job in Sacramento. He has both fiscal discipline and visionary leadership, is a fascinating person, and would be an exciting candidate for the Democrats.

Not since James Polk and his wife ran the country in the 1840s would America be getting more bang for their buck from a “non-establishment” establishment politician, at the surprising height of his powers at age 77.

However, if you really want a third Obama term, there is simple solution to the coming Hillary implosion: Run Michelle Obama. Thats right. Michelle Obama.

Mrs. Obama is extremely popular. She would definitely represent a third Obama term, and no one would have to move out of the White House if she won. Democrats would still have Barack Obama around as First Lady, and Valerie Jarrett could continue running the country for the next eight years.

It sounds like a no brainer.

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While Democrats overlook the obvious, it may all be moot if Sanders sweeps the early primaries and wracks up the delegates.

What is the Democratic party going to do, mount a massive effort to deny him the nomination, alienate his supporters and split the party? Perhaps they should embrace Sanders and stop trying to paint him as an extremist.

Maybe they should realize that the Sanders message and the Trump message are not that far apart. Both reflect a chasm of disconnect in America and a sense that the game is rigged against the people the government is supposed to represent.

Sanders’ plans aren’t that extreme, when you actually look at it. America has had social welfare underpinnings and corporate welfare for decades. Shouldn’t Social Security taxes be levied on all income instead of being capped at $118,000?

By raising that to $250,000 you solidify the underpinnings of the system for generations. That isn’t socialist. That is just economic common sense.

If single-payer health care were implemented it is a fact that Americans would not be spending between $5,000 and $30,000 a year for health insurance they may or may not use.

Yet other Democrats and the media attack Sanders’ plan to finance single-payer as if this fact didn’t exist. Whatever you think of single-payer, those savings would be real, even if they were offset by Medicare premiums and taxes.

You don’t have to like Sanders’ ideas to see the intellectual validity they may have, and you can’t deny their appeal. You may not agree that a stock transaction fee should help support higher education, but you can’t disagree that it is no less a normal trade-off than most special interest arrangements, including the “carried interest” loophole, for example.

More importantly, Sanders has created a legitimate, nationwide grass roots movement that Democrats should be loathe to alienate.

It promises to snow Monday in Iowa, with heavy accumulations in rural Western counties where Hillary is stronger. Turnout is always a question in these caucuses, but the excitement and momentum all seem to be on Sanders’ side.

As Hillary Clinton implodes and Democrats scramble to fill the void, the spring promises chaos and wonder on both sides of the political aisle.

It will be tempting for the Democrats to play with the process and deny Sanders the nomination it appears he is on his way to securing. They do so at their peril.

They don’t seem to get that the establishment can’t force a ticket down either party’s throat this year, even if it is Biden/Warren.

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