Can Bernie Sanders Win the Democratic Nomination?

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Discover Milan Italy with WSJ magazine and into Garay. Join WSJ magazine editors for behind the scenes access in Milan. As you meet the city's most influential tastes makers dine at top restaurants. Visit the private villas of late coamo and much more book. This once in a lifetime trip at Indy. Gory dot com slash WSJ magazine or call six four six seven eight zero eight three eight three. From the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal. This is Potomac watch. Bernie Sanders announces a second run for the White House. But this time the Vermont Senator is not the only candidate running on socialism. And Hillary Clinton is not his only opponent. What are Senator Sanders chances this time around in twenty twenty welcome? I'm Paul zhigo with the Wall Street Journal editorial page and here to talk about Bernie's second second run for the roses, Jillian Melcher. How're you Jillian and gain you, and I'm okay. Thank you and Kyle Peterson. Hey, kyle. Hello. So let's talk about about Bernie popular on well known enough to go buy a single name Bernie Hillary, Donald when you've reached that level of fame in American politics that tends to be an advantage, Jillian. I mean, he has name Rick. Ignition that other Democrats envy second. If you look at the the poll so far in these are lar- based largely on name recognition. He's second behind former vice president Joe Biden, that's something to to Bank on he came very close closer than I think almost everybody imagined to beat Hillary Clinton who was the preemptive favourite and it scared everybody else out of the race in in two thousand sixteen Bernie said no you gotta go scare me. And and he came very close. What are his other assets advantages in going in to get the nomination this time, Jillian? Well, he's beginning. When since the significant campaign cash on hand about nine million. That's a big advantage in a crowded field. And I also think he's someone that has really set the direction of the Democratic Party. If you look how far left they've shifted since the two thousand sixteen election. He is basically single. Handily made socialism not a dirty word for the left anymore. So Medicare for all which Hillary Clinton attacked in twenty sixteen as extreme is now mainstream among democratic candidates. You've got who Kamala Harris running on it? You got Cory Booker endorsing get Tulsi Gabbard endorsing it. You got Kirsten gillibrand endorsing Elizabeth Warren doors it, and and some others as well at least in in in partial form. Yeah. In a lot of ways, he set the agenda. I think one of the really interesting things to keep an eye on is he may end up being a victim of his own success. He was so influential in moving the party left's. So many people followed his example that now he's finding himself. Not the only socialist not the only person that far left, and I think that may end up being challenge for him because his ideas differentiated him in thousand sixteen now there are a bunch of other candidates who are behind the same or similar platforms, and it's going to be harder for somebody who's older. Who's male and who's white in an era of identity politics to stand up? Well, I guess that's true. Kyle. He is he is seventy seven years old on now he'll be seventy eight in September. He would be if he won the nomination the oldest nominee of any of either major political party in American history. I don't think there's ever been a seventy nine year old nominated. So I guess seventy nine the new what fifty nine, but maybe maybe we I mean, I you had all those millennials who were willing to vote for Sanders when he was well, I guess seventy six or seventy well now, it would be he was been the seventy four or five. So that wasn't a problem. Then would it be would that be a problem? Now, will it may be but to jillions point part of part of what made his his movements such as success in twenty sixteen is that he was the alternate. Native Hillary Clinton. And so you had a lot of people who were purists who could not go for the Clinton Brenna politics who jumped on you had a lot of people who just didn't like the Clintons didn't want to a dynasty jump on. But now come come twenty twenty you know, there's a lot of other shiny new things floating around, and he is going to have to work hard. I think to retain the support that he had and with the peer ISM is also an interesting thing. So when you say pure is what do you mean? You mean ideological purists? Yeah. I optical zoom inability or not wanting to back away from point. So one of the things that's interesting is joining talked about how Medicare for all has kind of become a movement. But with when Kamala Harris was rolling out her campaign, people probably remember this. She was asked so Medicare for all what does that mean for, you know, private health insurance? And she said, well, let's just you know, let's just get rid of all that old stuff. And when people held the breaths when I think she saw the reaction to that. She she. Backed away from that comment. So she sees the politics enough that she is kind of trying to trail triangulate there, and it's hard to imagine Bernie doing that. Well, but but but but okay, that's right fair enough. But is at an advantage for Sanders in the democratic primary like this where everybody else is triangulating or playing the angles. He says, I'm the real deal on the true believer. You won't get any corner-cutting with me. Maybe it is Jillian. Yeah. You might be completely right on this. I mean, I think when we're looking at what millennials liked about him. It was the purity was that also on the left in the same way that we've seen on the right? There's an anti-establishment sort of mentality. And that he was seen as the guy who is willing to take on the establishment. So I think he's coming into this with a lot of credibility in a lot of name recognition. In that in that. And that could help now on the other hand Republicans tend on the second time around to nominate somebody we've done they've done that all kinds of of times Mitt Romney ran before then one again, John McCain ram before than than that than finally one. Ronald Reagan ran wants lost. Then ran ran again, Democrats aren't so they don't tend to do that. They tend to go for the shiny new thing more often than not in Brcko bomb being of course, the the famous case, and but Jimmy Carter similar Bill Clinton came out of nowhere. Similar those are the three most recent successful president. So that they the Democrats I think might be drawn this time more to somebody who is new and fresh onto the scene and that may work against Sanders. Now, we're speculating here, obviously. But the, but that's where Democrats may not like the. Second time around right, and one of the things that I think is going to play huge role as it did with the Republicans last time as the debates so the Democratic National Committee is already talking about how in their first round of debates, which I think are going to begin the summer. They're going to have room for twenty candidates. The June is the day now do that month. Yeah. And just just as in two thousand sixteen I mean, you remember some of those debates there was an undercard debate first. And then there was a second debate. And it was hard to even hear it was hard to even get a sense of any of these guys because there was so many of them competing for the limelight competing for the the time. And so there may be a similar sort of. But does that help somebody like Sanders, and or Biden who will by dint of their name recognition, be sure to be in the center stage. Sure, it could or it could help a newcomer like Trump who is an unknown quantity and gets up on the debate stage and just said something that captivates voters interesting. So let's talk about the the the other thing about Bernie and this relates to the two. The fact that he had. Ran the only the solo socialist last time Tulsi Gabbard supported him. Now Tulsi Gabbard that congresswoman from Hawaii. She's running yourself not going to support Bernie, obviously, at least not in the first instance, Alexandria. 'cause you're Cortez was an organizer for Sanders. She's gonna stay neutral with Warren running in her own right going to carve into into his his socialist base. So would you argue Jillian that he's going to have a tougher time this time, or do you think that how how strong candidate is Sanders? Well, I certainly wouldn't rule him out at this point. I think he's coming into it with credibility. He's coming into name recognition. He's got a bit of a head start on organization. He certainly had some time to find tune his message. But then again, if you're talking about how the Democratic Party likes the new in shining candidate Auden 2016 sixteen that you had a septuagenarian as the fresh face of the Democratic Party. That's not necessarily going to be the case. All right. We're talking about the Bernie Sanders presidential candidacy, and you're listening to Potomac watch from the Wall Street Journal. From the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal. This is the Tomac watch. Welcome back on Paul's you go with Cao Peterson and Jillian Melcher talking about Bernie Sanders run for the White House. Again, Jillian you've been doing a little digging into a Bernie Sanders and his wife's experience had Burlington college which where she was the president for a while what happened there it did not go. Well, she burned it to the ground. This is new to the ground. The era ended. So I think what we're seeing here is an example of at best financial incompetent. So she was president of this college. They decided to do a land acquisition bought thirty two acres from the Roman Catholic diocese took out two significant loans to make this financial position. And basically the college fell almost immediately behind on its financial obligations. There was some Catholic parishoners who said that that I lost a lot of money on this couldn't repay the loan couldn't repay the loans, and basically in twenty sixteen diversity announced that it was going to close it is because of the crushing weight of debts acquired under genome era Sanders junior when did she leave the the presidency of the college twenty eleven and by the way, when she left this college was already in severe financial strains, she took with her at two hundred thousand dollars severance, and you can also if you look through the wreck. Kurds of the university. At this time, the university was paying quite a bit of money to her daughter Carina Driscoll more than three hundred twenty thousand dollars woodworking school run by her. So I think that raises the question of nepotism, it's certainly not a good look for the can't socialist candidates wife to walk away from a college that has experienced financial implosion with both her and her daughter profiting significantly off the question would be though, what does this have to do with Bernie Sanders? Well, I think Jane Amira Sanders, if if you're going to reach for historical comparison, she's more of a Hillary Clinton type. This is somebody that they relationship has always been curious some big that statement, what do you mean? Side ending that she is not your typical political spouse more so than others, she's had a significant policy role. I mean, this is somebody who served as Bernie Sanders congressional chief of staff at she's a policy adviser to him. She's been involved in the campaign. So I think what we're seeing here is an example of somebody who's very influential within the Sanders world who has at the one time that she had the opportunity to run a college really run it into financial problems, and there are some ethical concerns there too. So the question we one question would be the degree to which the loans which were made to an already stretched, and they were guaranteed by banks. I mean, they're made right to financial institutions. She took out one loan from a Bank on behalf of the college. One loan was from the Roman Catholic diocese. And if you look through the paper works at one of the loans tax exempts as a result. There's a lot of public records around this. And if you look through it she signed several papers where she's saying that. That the university can repay these loans because they had secured two point two seven million in donations fundraising commitments, one issue would be were they able was a college able to get these loans though, it was already financially stretched because of the Sanders connection politically not just just the sense that well. You know, that let's not do the due diligence that we might otherwise do exactly. So I think there are two issues here. One of them is you do have people raising the question of whether these loans were properly vetted, or whether they escape some scrutiny because of Bernie Sanders political connection, I think the second question that the person was raised in a letter to the US attorney was whether or not genome Mira Sanders misrepresented the colleges financial situation. And I do think you saw significant discrepancy between what she said the college had gotten in fundraising commitments than what actually came through the, but the US attorney, but the Sanders campaign says this is nothing to look at there's been nothing untoward and the us attorney has closed its investigation. Yeah. But I think at best you have here financial incompetence with a tens of nepotism to it at worst. You have a situation in which she may have misrepresented the colleges financial situation to receive a loan and gotten away. With it because of her political connection, and I guess Kyle going forward last time I in two thousand sixteen I thought that Sanders didn't get a lot of scrutiny for a lot of these things. I guess this time as a as a major player. He probably will as that. Was that would that be your expectation? Yeah. You you'd think so, you know, remember in two thousand twelve impressed. Did a big story about how Mitt Romney had cut somebody's hair as a teenager. They were really digging into everything everywhere it cut somebody's hair as a teenager. You remember that he was a bully in in middle school or something that affect and so the Sanders camp is undoubtedly going to say that this is an old story, his his wife left the college in twenty eleven so, you know, about a decade on he's going to say, they're attacking my wife, and it it you're just going to be interesting to see if there's more news that will break on this because that's what seems to keep scandal alive. As if there's if there's new reporting if there's some. The the drip, drip, drip, is what what really knocks into people's minds, and Jillian is is this issue going to go away. The Burlington college issue is a is it a dead story, or do you think it could be resurrected as a question of of of his Sandra's judgment and the degree to which his he himself and his wife were willing to use political connections to to help themselves. I do think it'll be resurrected I mean, we're also looking at Bernie Sanders last time part of what he became popular on was the promise of free college. So education is central to his platform and genome era Sanders during that ten year because the college because of its some of its financial problems significantly hiked tuition. So I think you've got somewhat of hypocrisy problem and also judgment problem. Certainly I think it's a question of whether or not some of the other Democrats will bring this up. That's they'll they'll have to do that. I think because. You know, he's initial response is going to be leave my wife out of it. She has nothing to do with an he'll play that card most politicians to this is nothing to do with her Mike campaign. This is nothing to do with me. This is about you're you're maligning, my wife and so on. But if if you get a real Donnybrook in the Democratic Party, which I think we will have you know, somebody is going to is going to and Sanders emerges as a front runner. You know, this is a sort of thing that's going to get taken up. Yeah. I mean, it's too ripe not to be in. I think especially when Jane Amira Sanders has played such a central role in Bernie Sanders political career because she's so such a political figure this is not like attacking Milania Trump in in a lot of ways this is much more of a she would be much more of a first lady Hillary Clinton. We're the issues of this where Bernie Sanders could be vulnerable to other Democrats collar. I guess gun control is one. He just doesn't have the same record as in on guns as. As the other Democrats for gun control coming from a gun rights state like Vermont, but Hillary Clinton tried to use that against him in twenty. Sixteen didn't work all that. Well, yet gun control is the big one. But to go back to the point. I was trying to make earlier with the pure ISM. I think one of the issues he's going to have is that he he just won't move from his position. So the way that Kamala Harris backed off of saying we're going to get rid of private health insurance. I don't think he will which you know, may play well with a certain segment of the party. But I think is is pretty scary to a lot of suburban voters who are you know, in the Democratic Party or recently. I mean, they they won forty seats in the recent house elections, and they did that primarily by picking off suburban voter suburban women. And that's that's who the party needs to keep -tracting, and this this would relate to I guess electability so called to use a popular word against Donald Trump. Can you can you be a a socialist purist and beat Donald Trump in the in twenty twenty or is that a particular vulnerability now, I think people on the left? A lot of them would say that Jillian that. Trump is going to lose anyway. Right. He's eminently beatable. So let's not go for all these fine tuning of guessing who's electable. Let's go with the real deal. Let's go with somebody who believes in something, and we can really change the country, and and and all women it's possible. Trump's of low in the polls he could be beaten by by somebody like a Sanders. I think it's possible that somebody with his agenda given Trump's vulnerabilities could win an election. If wins the nomination, and I think Trump was certainly effective last time in picking on people who change their minds about things. There's one thing about Trump that appeals to a lot of Oaters in that is he speaks his mind. And I think with a candidate like Sanders, he's more of an ideological purist. It's going to be harder to make fun of him for being somebody who flex rave. I. Think that undestood socialism could end up working to his advantage in a debate against him. But nobody's going to doubt that Bernie Sanders is gonna fight though Kyle against Donald Trump are they rate, but I think that Donald Trump is preparing for that. I mean in this state of the union address, he was he was calling socialism saying, this will never be a socialist country. He's expanded on that theme in recent days. And I think he will have a lot of fun with the green new deal. If if the Democrats nominate someone who is has signed onto that package as burning as Bernie has I think has not I believe he has. Yes. But he's I mean, whatever happens his his place in history secure. I mean, he's already moved his party a little it's a little bit to the left, and if we wind up with a comma Harris presidency or something like that in twenty twenty. I mean, he may be viewed as the the Goldwater sixty four precising the Reagan revolution in nineteen eighty. All right. Thank you. Kyle. Thank you, Jillian. Thank you all for listening. We'll be back tomorrow with another addition of Potomac watch.

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