Some say he is too old at 74. Some say that his politics are socialist and unacceptable to that of the current capitalist status quo. Some choose to ignore him in favor of his own party’s presumed front-runner, who also happens to be the wife of a former president.
Ignore him at your own peril, underestimate him if you wish, but make no mistake, Bernie Sanders is not your typical political flavor of the month. No, this septuagenarian senator from Vermont via the rough-and-tumble streets of Brooklyn is going toe-to-toe with the political machine known as the Clintons, most notably, Hillary and giving her a real run for her money.
And therein lies the rub for Democrats come November.
In what is shaping up to be an inter-liberal “civil war” between ardent Bernie and Hillary supporters, the DNC is faced with a tough choice between an outside-the-box nominee in Sanders and the other half of a political dynasty in Clinton. If the DNC goes with Sanders, they may be seen as turning their back on women, if they side with Clinton, then they might be seen as going with someone who some see as a typical Wall Street-backed bought-and-paid-for politician.
With the recent comments made by Clinton surrogate supporters such as feminist Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright basically throwing the next generation of young women—traditional Democrats—under the bus in stating that they are only voting for Sanders to attract young guys or there being a special place in hell for them if they don’t vote for Clinton.
That is the wrong kind of message to send, especially with GOP voters beginning to consolidate around anti-women candidates such as Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. That kind of backwards anti-woman vote-shaming logic runs counter to what Democrats traditionally believe.
Imagine the media backlash if prominent African-Americans such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton tried to vote-shame fellow blacks into voting for Obama? You see the point there.
Despite all of this, Sanders has run a very strong campaign in fighting Clinton to a virtual draw in Iowa, and appears to be gaining more momentum in being in more friendly territory in neighboring New Hampshire.
If the Democrats hope to retain the White House in November, then they must put aside their differences in debating over Sanders’ socialist policies or Clinton’s dubious and checkered past online and across social media and come together by fall, if they hope to truly lead America into a new age.