Thought experiments with Trump and Bernie

Donald Trump is leading big in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina.  If he wins those early primaries, what’s to stop him?  Meanwhile, the Democrats’ outlier, avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, has passed Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire polls and is attracting huge crowds wherever he goes, unlike the former First Lady.  The unfair stereotypes of both parties–the Republican capitalist and the Democratic socialist–have come to life.

I’d like to propose a series of imaginative exercises.  Set aside the probability or improbability of either one of these candidates winning their primaries.  But what if they did?  Think about these questions and put your thoughts in the comments:

(1)  If these two were the nominees of their respective parties, which one would you vote for?

(2) Which one do you think would win?

(3) What would a Donald Trump presidency look like?  (In reality, and also if somehow he controlled Congress.)

(4)  What would a Bernie Sanders presidency look like?  (In reality, and also if somehow he controlled Congress.) [Read more...]

Democrats surging to the left–as is the country?

Democrats in Congress voted against the wishes of their own President in in opposing the free trade bill, which has advanced thanks only to Republicans.  Meanwhile, the socialist Bernie Sanders has all but caught up with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and Iowa, attracting some of the biggest crowds of any candidate so far.

Political columnist Dana Milbank says that President Obama and Hillary Clinton may be “on the wrong side of history” (an old Marxist line often used by the president, the assumption being that “history” is inexorably headed to the socialist utopia).

Mr. Milbank also says that the country itself is trending to the left, out of revulsion for conservatives.  Do you think that is true?  Or would a far-left Democratic platform–assuming Mrs. Clinton goes there to fend off her primary challengers–would be the best hope for a Republican victory? [Read more...]

Socialist Bernie Sanders is running for President

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent who identifies himself as a Socialist, is running for president on the Democratic ticket.  You may think, another socialist?  But Sen. Sanders is at least open about his radicalism, and he has a constituency in the Democratic party.

Charles Lane discusses how the Democratic party has veered sharply to the left since Bill Clinton ostensibly brought the party to the center.  Now Hillary Clinton is having to present herself as “progressive,” despite her corporate ties and her record.  So now she is running against many of her husband’s policies. [Read more...]

Coburn’s parliamentary maneuver

More local color from Dana Milbank:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) . . .went to the Senate floor just before noon Wednesday and asked Democrats to agree to an amendment to the health-care bill that "would certify that every member of the Senate has read the bill and understands it before they vote on the bill."

Understands it? Would there be a quiz? Would the exam be scored by the Congressional Budget Office? When Democrats understandably rejected this idea, Coburn responded with a parliamentary maneuver that stopped all action on the floor until the Senate clerk could read aloud every word of a 767-page amendment offered by [Sen. Bernie] Sanders [I-Vt].

"For purposes of section 1101(a)(5)(c)," read the clerk, "individuals described in this subsection are the following individuals . . ."

Sanders, purple in the face, beckoned furiously at Coburn, who smiled, winked and attended to his BlackBerry. “How long will it take?” Sanders asked a member of the floor staff.

She eyed the five-inch-tall printout of the amendment. “I don’t know — eight hours?” she answered.

One hundred thirty-nine pages and nearly three hours later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) surrendered. He waved Sanders into the cloakroom. A few minutes later, Sanders emerged on the Senate floor and withdrew his amendment calling for government-run health care.

“This is nothing more than an ongoing stalling tactic on the part of the Republicans,” Sanders complained of Coburn’s stunt.

Sanders’s complaint carried some irony, because he delivered it at a news conference he had called to explain why he had put a “hold,” or a delay of his own, on Obama’s renomination of Bernanke.