The Presidential Nominating Conventions of both parties this election year will be unconventional, although the Republican Party Convention possibly will be more unconventional.
The rising political star of Bernie Sanders, socialist, dipped below the horizon shortly after President Barack Obama, the nominal head of the Democrat Party, his hand gently touching Mr. Sanders’ sagging shoulder, led him to the White House and there sacrificed the socialist on the altar of progressivism.
No doubt Mr. Obama regaled him with the usual politics as usual. There were no reportorial flies on the wall to record the substance of this world-historical meeting, but one may reason backward from conclusions to precipitating events.
At all costs, Mr. Sanders may have been told, the GOP standard-bearer, the execrable Donald Trump, must be defeated. In a recent post, CNN, Mr. Obama's megaphone, labels both Trump's and Sanders' supporters "bitter enders."
Here, one imagines Mr. Obama leaning in, smiling, and assuring Mr. Sanders: Bernie -- may I call you Bernie? -- we know we can depend on you. Mathematics, unfortunately for your primary campaign, will have the last word. We all must bow to inevitability, and there is no question that Mrs. Clinton will emerge from the Democrat Nominating Convention with a plurality of delegates. The fat lady has sung your dirge. However, your campaign has transformed the mind and heart of the Democratic Party. At the upcoming Convention, you will be the hero of the moment, the man who ventured to push his party from the progressive plank into the socialist sea. May we depend on you, as we’ve depended upon fellow progressive rebel Senator Elizabeth Warren, to put your shoulder to the wheel -- for our party and for the greater glory of socialism?
Whatever was said at the White House meeting, Mr. Sanders emerged from it chastened and deflated. To be sure, Mr. Sanders made no formal endorsement of Mrs. Clinton, but the zip was gone out of his primary campaign. The expectations of party leaders, even if they were not formally stated, were highly flattering. It is assumed by leaders in the Democratic Party that Mr. Sanders can order his primary troops to enlist in the Clinton brigade, following a convention in which Mr. Sanders will be permitted to assist in shaping the Democratic campaign platform. He is to be the wind under Mrs. Clinton’s wings, adding his troops to her battalions, and the same hopeful expectations that pushed Mr. Obama into the White House nearly eight years earlier, so some anticipated, will be at Mrs. Clinton’s command in November. Just as Mr. Obama made history as the nation’s first African American President, so will Mrs. Clinton make history as the nation’s first woman President. The inevitable result of the 2016 General Election is written in the stars.
The God of history has whispered in Mr. Sanders’ ear: Think of it Sanders, for once and all, we together – we few, we band of progressive brothers – can dump the so-called Reagan Revolution into the dustbin of history. The Republican Party has put up against us the weakest presidential candidate in modern history. And only a few days ago, FBI chief James Comey announced there would be no criminal prosecution of our almost certain Presidential standard-bearer. So you see, you were right during one of your debates with Mrs. Clinton to slough off concern about compromising e-mails. Truly, you are a man ahead of time’s curve. You have only to yield to the inevitable.
Is there a Democratic politician in this land of milk and honey who could resist this rip tide of hope and change?
Some Republicans like to think there is such a person: the almost certain Presidential nominee of the GOP Donald Trump, who promises a Republican nominating convention like no other. And indeed, the GOP nominating convention will be unconventional. After a primary thumping at the hands of Mr. Trump, the usual stars in the usual Republican Party galaxy have begged off. Mr. Trump’s general election campaign lacks money and message, and many in the GOP advance guard have yet to emerge from their barracks.
Here in Connecticut -- more so than in other states – General Assembly candidates are dependent upon the coattails of presidential candidates, particularly in off-year gubernatorial elections. GOP legislative candidates this campaign season suppose that Connecticut’s rapid regress, the spiraling downward at warp speed of a state often regarded as the jewel in the diadem of progressive New England, will serve as a wake-up call to voters who tend habitually to vote in favor of their party rather than their own economic and social interests.
Necessity binds them to Mr. Trump, now leading in one poll. They have only their chains to lose, and a world to win –if only they can overcome the math in a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by two to one.