Larry Anderson

It seems to me, American politics has been hijacked by big media. Genuine concern has given way to practiced affectations that play well before a camera. Polls control the degree of commitment, and outrage is the media’s most practiced noun. Misrepresentation is its path to controversy. 

Hullabaloo sells whether in media form or political embodiment. Politics isn’t about building together these days; it is about tearing down. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. 

With each passing day, America edges closer to election 2020 when voters will either support the president who has initiated much needed economic reforms or run to one of the many on the left promising, once again, a better world paid for with diminished freedom. In general, big media will support the latter. 

This next election will pit individualism as supported by steady conservatives and socialism as advanced by determined liberals. While partisan politics and big media have diminished moderation within the elected ranks, the number of independent voters continues to swell. Independents, as much as any base, will determine the next election, and it is to them that candidates will turn. They will have to or give up the dream. 

Within that description exists a potentially determining factor in the form of Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont. Bernie is not a Democrat; he is an Independent who has traditionally caucused with Democrats. Should Sanders make a strong enough showing against Joe Biden, a run as an Independent might happen. If it does, Bernie could split the liberal base. 

Obviously, such a circumstance would help Trump. Therefore, some deal with Sanders could be in the offing, but it would have to be big. Bernie isn’t interested in second fiddle where he can‘t control policy or dictate direction. Sanders will have leverage, and he will use it. A long shot is better than no shot.

Ultimately, barring disaster or scandal, it will come down to Biden, who, as of this writing has a nineteen-point lead over Bernie, and Sanders whom I expect to climb after the first of the year. The primary will be decided by who has the most cash, who has the most party support from within, and who can convince voters he/she can run a better campaign than Hillary Clinton. 

In any instance, Trump will not be a pushover. He is smart, campaigns well, has money and a lot more support than Democrats can admit. He will be aggressive, and he is an incumbent toward whom independents traditionally lean.

Unless something remarkable happens, the other candidates will be leftovers hoping for political elevation or more opportunity in the private sector. Some are far more driven by name promotion, resume building, and trophy gathering than they are by a need to serve the country they intensely dislike. Most are further left than the majority of Americans, and people get tired of negativity, repetition and image polishing.

Some of the Democratic candidates will fade. After watching Beto O’Rourke grovel before the altar of political correctness on The View, I hope he goes fast. His performance was pathetic.

Few names will become household. Right now the least popular wannabe is Bill de Blasio, current mayor of NYC. I don’t think he will last long with most funds/donations going to the top two contenders, and he is an overbearing bully with little appeal in the heartland.

The Dem with the strongest legs long term may be South Bend, IN, mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is smart, ambitious and young. At 37 he has time to shape a career with his problem now being name recognition. He will likely leverage this candidacy into a run for governor and build from there.

There will be ups and downs ahead for the liberals as time, resources and circumstances begin sorting out the keepers. Issues will remain the same for the party of change, including those in which most people decline to invest heavily: income inequality, climate change, white privilege, free stuff and male bashing. These add up to little, are fraught with inaccuracies, and are boring.

No matter which Democrat emerges, he/she will be sainted by big media and become the antithesis of that devil Donald Trump. That person will soon be busy putting America last.

Bad luck with that.

Larry W. Anderson is a retired educator.