Bernie Sanders is actively pursuing his futile bid to grab the Democratic nomination from the jaws of defeat. But in an astounding admission, he says he hasn’t yet figured out how he would meet one of the key challenges of a Democratic president in an era of entrenched partisanship.
Bernie’s latest interview with Rolling Stone contains a lot of the same unrealistic claims we’ve now been hearing for some time: Superdelegates should back him (even though he’s losing), he’s the stronger candidate against Donald Trump (even though he hasn’t been meaningfully vetted), he’ll magically be delivered to the Oval Office with a Democratic Senate majority (even though that is not guaranteed to any candidate).
When reporter Tim Dickinson asks Bernie about his widely-criticized failure to offer “more specifics behind what the political revolution means as a form of governing,” Bernie gets very testy with him, but Dickinson presses on, asking how, for example, “you get something like public-college-for-all passed with Paul Ryan as your counterpart.”
Bernie replies that he’s aware Ryan won’t merely step aside and capitulate; that it’s going to take a huge effort to convince an obstructionist Congress to pass his agenda. And then comes this: “Now, is it easy to do? No. How do you do it? It’s a good question. And the truth is, right now I’m a bit busy running for president to have figured that out, other than to tell you that it requires a mass-based political effort bringing millions of people together to stand up and fight back.”
That is, to put it bluntly, an incredible admission. He’s too “busy running for president” to have figured out one of the primary jobs of a Democratic president in an era of unyielding Republican obstructionism.
If anything, his agenda—which very deliberately lacks the nuance and flexibility of Hillary Clinton’s—demands even more rigorous preparation for overcoming entrenched partisanship than the average candidate. But he has yet to “figure out” how he’s going to accomplish it.
Despite the fact that it’s the very thing on which his entire candidacy is predicated.
He offers: “Unions could play an important role. Environmental groups, women’s groups—groups that are already actively involved. We’re going to bring people together to effectively organize and put pressure on Congress to do the right thing.”
If this is the best he’s got—an idea which presupposes Democratic and progressive activists haven’t been trying to do precisely this for decades—it seems as though he indeed doesn’t have it figured out. Or hasn’t given it a moment’s serious consideration.
Bernie wants a revolution. Many people, including a number of his own supporters, have asked for practical details on how that revolution would work. A reporter asks him for those details. And he says that he hasn’t figured them out quite yet.
Because he’s too busy running for president.
I, for one, happen to believe that a person busily running for president should have figured out some of the critical details of being president long before he even tossed his hat in the ring.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)