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On this Super Tuesday, America sits at a pivot point. However, those calling for Bernie Sanders should examine George McGovern’s doomed push of 1972.
Hinch’s Hunch. And I know I am often wrong. I believe, if the Democrats select Bernie Sanders as their 2020 Presidential candidate, they will be slaughtered. They will lose to the totally tainted Trump in a landslide.
For once, I can say I know what I am talking about. I need to go back about fifty years for proof. In 1972, I was a foreign correspondent for Fairfax in New York. I covered the George McGovern campaign against Richard Nixon. We tramped all over the country from ‘the snows of New Hampshire’ to Texas.
I remember standing outside The Alamo, in San Antonio, in the middle of the night, as the decent and earnest McGovern made the first public mention of Watergate. He talked about ‘men in rubber gloves’ breaking into the Democrats headquarters in the Watergate hotel complex in Washington. The grubby work of Richard Nixon’s dirt brigade.
McGovern still lost the election, and he lost in an absolute landslide. That’s why I mention Bernie Sanders in the same breath. Lower case L liberal, George McGovern was a right-winger compared to Bernie. But ‘Tricky Dicky’ Nixon cleverly painted him as a socialist (that translates as a communist in the US) and the voters believed him. Nixon barely left the White House during that campaign. Just sat on the opinion polls that showed him well in front. That is why I fervently believe Americans will never elect anyone with the slightest socialist taint.
They can be convinced of anything. ‘Fake news’ etc. Hey, I saw a poll this week showing that 35% of Americans believe coronavirus is linked to that Mexican beer.
And remember this. Despite Watergate, McGovern was slaughtered. He won only one state. Massachusetts. That was thanks to the Kennedys. Oh, and Washington, DC, thanks to the black vote. Richard Nixon won every other state in a landslide.
That is why I predict, if the Democrats go with Bernie they will be annihilated and the world will have four more years of the most amoral, narcissistic, self-centred and dangerous tantrum-throwing president in my lifetime.
Americans can be convinced of anything. ‘Fake news’ etc. Hey, I saw a poll this week showing that 35% of Americans believe coronavirus is linked to that Mexican beer.
The Dems best bet is still former Vice President Joe Biden. He appeals to independents and even some Republicans. Eight years as Barack Obama’s Veep puts him in good stead with Afro-American voters – as was proven with his walkover win in South Carolina the other day. That southern slaughter of Sanders, and the weak showing of some presidential minnows, saw several drop out of the race before Super Tuesday.
And that will strengthen the Biden vote amongst moderate Democrats and independents.
There is another Sanders issue apart from his socialism and the fact that he sits in the Senate as an independent, not as a Democrat – as Biden has started to stress. The other issue is Sanders’ health. He had a heart attack a few months ago (which his team tried to fudge and cover-up in the first few days). Since then, the man, who shouts about integrity and political transparency, has refused to release his medical records (a bit like Trump’s tax returns). He is 78 and, this week, a panel of cardiac experts published an opinion that his chances of another heart attack in the next few years is 50-50.
So, if Sanders does get the nomination, his choice of running mate will be of major importance. What if he chose Hillary Clinton? She could back door the White House if ‘President Sanders’ became incapacitated. Or died.
Which segues into another fascinating vice-presidential story. It came out this week that in 1963, only days before he was assassinated in Dallas, President John Kennedy was sitting in his rocking chair (because of his chronically bad back) and gossiping with his secretary.
He told her he was going to drop Lyndon Johnson as his running mate in the 1964 presidential re-election campaign because he did not think LBJ had the credentials to be president down the track. Johnson was president within days.
But back to 2020. We have to be cautious with predictions. Many commentators, me included, predicted Trump could not, would not, win. I was one of the wrongsters who thought he would not even get the Republican Party nomination. And thought the notorious ‘pussy-grabbing’ tape would destroy him.
The lesson here is: Never under-estimate this super salesman. Just watch his current rallies. To his Make America Great Again supporters, he is Teflon-coated. The impeachment was fake news, a political ploy by desperate Democrats who had never accepted the 2016 Trump White House win.
It doesn’t seem to matter how many of his advisers and former White House staff have been indicted, convicted and even jailed. The Donald just keeps keeping on, like the reality TV shows he relished, starred in and, I suspect, still thinks he is doing. Sad, really. Frightening.