Could we actually end up with a Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders Democratic presidential ticket in 2016?
Last week, MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki suggested that the “Sanders surge” may fade with time as a political force. While I think Kornacki is being a touch too dismissive of Sanders’s political power, it’s not anti-Sanders to suggest that Hillary Clinton is still the prohibitive favorite to secure the Democratic nomination next year.
If Clinton becomes the nominee, she will absolutely have to figure out a way to tap into the progressive energy Sanders generated during the course of the primary. What better way to do so than by naming Sanders as her running mate?
If Clinton did pick Sanders, she would have to signal that the Vermont Senator would be something of a co-President, the progressive answer to Dick Cheney; otherwise, the public would assume that Clinton was just trying to exploit Sanders’s progressive street cred. The prospect of a Vice President Sanders as an equal partner to a President Clinton would likely galvanize not only progressives, but moderates, centrists and even the conservatives who supported Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaigns in the 1990s (the ones who did so for economic as opposed to racial reasons, that is)—voters who want a voice of economic sanity at the seat of power for arguably the first time since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration.
A Clinton-Sanders ticket would, of course, put the American right on suicide watch. Think about it: after nearly a half-century of trying to crush economic progressivism in Washington, D.C., the American right would have to face the prospect of an undisputed economic progressive one heartbeat away from the presidency—an undisputed progressive whose views are well within the mainstream of American political thought. Roger Ailes and his pals at Fox News would find themselves reaching for the pills and booze.
You’d certainly see right-wing media entities do everything within their power to try to stop a Clinton-Sanders ticket from winning on November 8, 2016. Yet they’d likely fail—and their failure would finally put the corpse of Reaganism into the ground once and for all. Sanders is the living refutation of Reaganism, and the Vice Presidency would provide an effective bully pulpit to push back against the false arguments made by those who still worship the false idol who was the 40th president of the United States.
If Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, she will have plenty of options to choose from when she decides who will be her partner on the November 2016 ballot. I’ve previously suggested that Deval Patrick and Ed Markey would be good options. However, when you look at Sanders—and the progressive power he represents ably—it’s hard to argue that there would be any better options, no?