We all make mistakes, but it takes a lot for most of us to admit to making them. We will rationalize, justify, explain away, or just plain lie about our mistakes, while few of us ever truly own up to the ones we’ve made. Well, Charleston, I have made a mistake. When I wrote a few months back that Bernie Sanders would not become president, I was wrong. I think he will become president.
Just maybe not next year. In fact, it won’t be until 2020.
Of course, that will make Sanders the oldest person ever elected president of the United States, but I think there’s a very good chance that’s what he will end up being, especially since he is going to get there by taking the vice presidential slot on next year’s winning ticket. And no, I’m not talking about as the running mate to Vice President Joe Biden.
Donald Trump will offer Sanders the VP slot when Trump either wins the GOP nomination or, more likely, splits off from the Republican Party to run as an independent sometime before next summer. I’m not wrong about this or, at least, I somewhat hope that I’m not.
After all, what more perfectly encapsulates the asinine, never-ending summer-movie-of-stupid affair that is American electoral politics than the campaign of Donald Trump? His staff has been better at getting their candidate’s name in headlines and on television than any of his competitors. They’ve been so successful that the wizards at Fox News have realized they’ve created a monster and are trying to walk it back. They’ve failed miserably.
Through it all, Trump has managed to stay on top of the polls and draw crowds through his totally scripted unscripted manner of speaking and his completely-politically-correct-in-some-circles politically incorrect rhetoric. Only one other candidate matches the populist fervor of Trump among Americans disaffected by a system they increasingly see as a horrible, horrible joke foisted on them by the ruling class: Bernie Sanders.
If you think Trump and Sanders wouldn’t do well as a ticket, you should consider that they have certain policy ideas that are pretty much in sync. Sanders thinks we should tax the rich. Well, so does Donald Trump. Not only that, Trump says that the rich don’t do any actual work and aren’t job creators. That’s the sort of crazy, radical leftist, why-does-he-hate-America talk that people love to hear from Sanders, yet somehow it’s ringing bells on the American right.
It’s the same with immigration reform. Trump and Sanders aren’t far apart on wanting to close the borders. With Trump, there’s accusations of racism from the left, since he can’t seem to articulate any other rationale for closing the border. And, honestly, there are accusations of that about Sanders’ arguments as well, even though his worst sin is stating a desire to protect “American jobs.” Still, whether or not that’s a racist sentiment, it scares the sort of people who’d rather hire immigrants on visas at $2 an hour. For those who love Trump and Sanders, these fat cats are just as disliked as the immigrants who are “taking our jobs.”
Regardless of how well they match up ideologically, though, there’s a certain mathematical inevitability to how all of this will go down. Trump has already emptied out the GOP of any chance of putting a “reasonable” candidate forward next year. The appeal of any of the other candidates who appeared on either of the Fox debates is marginal at best — and that’s even when they aren’t tripping over their lines. On the other hand, there’s the notion that the Democrats are going to go with Hillary Clinton, who has a pretty horrible showing in the polls when it comes to the matter of “trustworthiness.” Even if they go with Biden, there’s plenty about his record — and the gaffes that come out of his mouth — that he will have to answer for. As an added bonus, there’s a definite feeling in the Black Lives Matter movement that politicians have to earn the African-American vote, and Democrats may not be able to do that, especially if BLM begins fielding its own candidates.
This all adds up to an erosion of support amongst both of the major parties heading into next year’s election. What’s left is a shocking, some might even say horrifying, union between the completely irrational right wing and the aging white progressive movement in this country. The result could be an odd snapping back to an actual center in America’s political calculus.
That’s not to say it would be “progress,” but it would certainly be more interesting than anything else on television these days.