President Bernie Sanders? It sure sounds good to those of us on the left. President Hillary? Yay for a woman president of the United States but...President Clinton II?

As the Republican polls are showing in spades, party activists are the ones who vote in primaries, the ones who come up with firm opinions about candidates. Republicans are veering -- hard -- to a pseudo-Facist candidate of either the Wall Street (Trump) or evangelical (Cruz) flavors. It really doesn't matter: they are equally unacceptable and unlikable to right-thinking people.


The point is that those candidates manifest the extreme edge of conservative fantasy: a world in which terrorists can be excluded by locking out Muslims, a world in which immigrants can be excluded by building a wall across the vast Mexican border, and a world in which either money or conservative "morals" is the law of the land.

Democratic activists are also engaged in their own fantasy land. In this world, big banks can be broken up; universal health care can be imposed once and for all; corporate salaries can be limited; the government will regulate Wall Street with an iron hand. In this world, terrorism is not even on the agenda.

Fixing income inequality and the abuses of our current flavor of capitalism is the be-all and end-all.

It sounds great. It sounds like that long-past, just, fair, rich world, often yearned for by Robert Reich, where anyone willing to work will be able to be productive and fulfilled and those unable to work will be taken care of. However, this is just as much a fantasy as the right-wing fantasy of a return to "Leave It to Beaver" suburbs. That said, there is an even more fantastical element to the Sanders/Trump idealization: the idea that electing a president is all it takes to fix what ails the world.


Republicans have a 56 to 43 percent majority of the House. They have 54 to 46 percent edge in the Senate. The Republicans are increasingly dominated by the Tea Party. Once you remove (possible) racism from the equation, how much more hatred will be directed at Bernie than at President Obama? Or don't remove bias. Bernie's a Jewish socialist. If the wacko forces hate Obama because he's a "Muslim" (black), how much will they hate Bernie because he's intellectual (Jewish).

OK, haters gonna hate. They'll hate Hillary, too.

But roll the calendar back to Jimmy Carter. Compared to Bernie, I think his policies were quite modest. But he was blocked by Congress, blamed for runaway inflation, and set in force the Reagan Revolution. Frankly, this country is moving in two radically different directions and Republicans have lost sight of the middle. They do not have a viable candidate who can make a rational argument as to why his policies (his, because Fiorina is the very definition of irrational) are accectable.

Bernie does make that argument but it's not a sure thing.


It's a stretch for a lot of people. The problem is that at the lower levels there may be many Republican candidates who can make viable arguments, and with a socialist candidate at the top of the Democratic ticket, those voters may keep electing Republicans to Congress and to state legislators. Democrats must take back Congress to make progress. Another eight years of a Democratic president and Republican Congress is a recipe for misery, and President Bernie hurts that situation more than he helps it.