We’re coming down to the wire on the early primaries: Next Monday the Iowa caucuses happen, and eight days later I have to vote here in New Hampshire. As the Democratic race tightens up, I find myself wondering: So far all the Republicans have been running against Hillary, talking about Benghazi and emails and Bill’s escapades. If they started running against Bernie, what would that sound like?
Well, it turns out The New York Post jumped the gun on the anti-Bernie campaign, warning America that he’s a “diehard Communist”, and listing all sorts of “evidence” that has just about as much factual basis as … well, as the Benghazi stand-down order and all the other crap they’ve been throwing at Hillary.
But just because it’s crap doesn’t mean that it won’t work, or at least work well enough to distract the electorate from looking at the issues Bernie is trying to run on. Going back to Dukakis and the Pledge of Allegiance issue in 1988, all Democratic nominees spend a big chunk of their campaign wading through crap: swift-boating against Kerry, birtherism and “paling around with terrorists” against Obama, and so forth. Some nominees have had the political skill to cut through the noise and get the public to pay attention to their issues, and some haven’t. That has a lot to do with which ones won.
So what about Bernie and his “history” of diehard Communism? If he’s nominated, how will the Republicans use that against him and will he have the skills to deal with it? I’ll meditate on that in this week’s featured post “Smearing Bernie, a preview”. That should be out soon.
The weekly summary also has a lot of election coverage in it: Trump/Cruz is getting nasty. Hillary has been overstating the problems with Bernie’s healthcare plan, but Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman point out that there are some legitimate issues there. The Vanilla ISIS folks are still scaring the birds away in Oregon. Winter Storm Jonas clobbered the NY-Washington corridor, but left New England alone. Then there’s Flint, and verification that 2015 was the hottest year ever. And of course, a couple guns-make-us-safer stories. That should be out by 10:30.