We can’t turn back time. I looked into it, and we might be able to fast-forward in time, but I don’t think the future looks promising right now. Still, a question lingers on so many people’s minds:
Should the Democrats have chosen Sanders over Clinton?
Yes, and no.
The case for Sanders: Sanders has a much higher favorability rating among likely voters for both Clinton and Trump right up to the end of his run. In the primary, Sanders also won the three states Clinton thought she had locked up (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania).
Like Trump, Sanders operated as an “outsider” with a consistent, trite message, often redirecting other topics back to his core agenda to reduce income inequality. He engendered a die-hard constituency that carried well into the convention and even after the general election (though 90% of his supporters switched to Clinton).
The case against Sanders: I think it would have been a gladiatorial bout of the ages, with sentiments from the fringes clashing head-on into (and for) the middle. How could the GOP try to tear him down? I see two ways:
“He’s a socialist.”
His words described a society that sounded like a sociology major’s dream… and a capitalist’s nightmare. Mention even the possibility of raising taxes, and the GOP balks.
“He’s weak on national security.”
I listened closely to his responses compared to Clinton’s during the debates, and Sanders could not keep up with her. Compared to Trump, Sanders might sound more rational, but if you’re looking for a strong figurehead to protect us from the monsters beyond the wall, Sanders isn’t your guy.
I’d predict that the path for Sanders would have felt just as unfair as it did for Clinton. There are those within the Democratic party and certainly in the Republican party who think a Sanders presidency is beyond unconscionable, supporting the now-scrutinized superdelegate system. In a game of nasty practices, Sanders perhaps had too much integrity to do what it took to reach the summit.
Still, one can only wonder…