I try my best in these posts to focus on the existential threat to our planet and our way of life—climate change. I want to write about how 2020 is shaping up to be one of the ten hottest years ever. Or on a lighter, but equally telling note, how French ski resorts are using helicopters to import snow for the slopes.
But during these past few weeks I haven't been able to escape the feeling that the presidential race is the real story about climate change, especially in light of the results of the Nevada Democratic primary, and the sad unmasking of the fallibility of the wizard-behind-the-curtain in the Las Vegas debate.
Four more years of Trump and his know-nothing climate policies will put the planet in a hole that we may never be able to dig ourselves out of. And the Democrats, who to a person claim to be the planet's guardians, seem hell-bent on enabling Trump to get those four more years with their overweening vanity, their purity tests, and their antiquated attitude that they can overcome the power of Trump's mythmaking expertise with issues.
Full disclosure: I support virtually every policy and program that Bernie Sanders is advocating. Sanders is right on almost every issue except the most important one—he fails to see that the only priority in 2020 is to defeat Trump.
Sanders is blinded by his own self-righteousness, his messianic perception that he's about to fulfill his life-long destiny, and his total misreading of the American public as revolutionaries-in-waiting. Instead of being flexible and putting together a realistic program and timetable to achieve his goals, all he wants to do is wave his arms in the air and shout, metaphorically speaking, "Get off my lawn!"
Forget the polls that show Sanders beating Trump head-to-head. So did Hillary. Trump will make mincemeat of Bernie's proud socialism, and turn him into the second coming of McGovern. Irony of ironies, the would-be eviscerator of Obamacare will position himself as the guardian of American healthcare—"I won't let Crazy Bernie take away your health insurance." The surge of young voters to the polls in November is likely to prove to be a fable—there's been no sign of it in the caucuses to date. And for every Bernie Bro who shows up with a pitchfork and a torch, a stout burgher will be there to meet him and defeat him at the ballot box. As for coattails, it's more like a shirttail, and a frayed one at best. Democrats will be lucky to hold the House and not lose more Senate seats. And you can kiss off Florida. Bernie lost it last night defending Fidel Castro on a CNN town hall.
Moreover, in addition to losing the Presidency, the Senate, and maybe the House, a Sanders candidacy could set back the progressive cause for years. Nobody wants to be associated with a loser. Think of the conservative backlash in the wake of McGovern. The anti-war liberals were never a factor again in politics, even when they had Nixon to beat up. Reagan was the predictable outcome.
I'll be watching the debate tonight and the South Carolina primary on Saturday, hoping that the candidates and the electorate return to sanity, whatever and/or whoever that might be. But honestly, barring divine intervention or a Sanders electoral collapse or a cordinated effort by his opponents to narrow the field and speak with one voice, I think it's time to write off the presidency for the next four years and concentrate on holding the House and perhaps even taking the Senate. Perhaps a Democratic congress could put a check on Trump's worst instincts and energize the citizenry to defend the planet.