If Things Had Been Different
In the months after the US Presidential election I was stunned that Donald Trump had won in the most shocking Presidential election in our nation's history. Out of the 58 quadrennial elections we've had it was like how could this happen. How did a man with no political or military experience defeat the most qualified person for President since George H. W. Bush? Yet he did. What had gone through my mind was what if Senator Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee would the outcome had been different? Would the polling had followed through? Would the exit polls had not been so wrong? After thinking about it all I concluded that I would've voted for him then if that had been the case and I would've hated it. I'm strongly against populism. Especially left wing populism, but I would've had no choice and I certainly wouldn't have voted third party and risk Trump winning. Because at least Sanders had government experience.
Then I thought of obstacles he probably would've faced. The fact that he was running as a Socialist in a society that rejected that ideology since most of the country's baby boomers lived through the Cold War. Not saying communism and socialism are the same because they are not. But that's what many people thought of it as. But would Sanders had been able to convince voters to look past that? Would he had been able to overcome the fact that Donald Trump was a household name, and Bernie Sanders was not? So then name recognition would've been a potential issue. Would he had been able to defeat right wing populism, which is more popular than left wing populism? After all, right wing populist movements are what have gained steam all over Europe. Not left wing populist movements. He also would've been running as a Democrat trying to succeed a two term Democratic President. Historically speaking the same party for two terms rarely wins a third term with the exception of 1988 and 1944 before that. He had also been in government even longer than Hillary Clinton. He had been a US Representative, US Senator, and a Mayor. Would Trump had attacked him for being a part of the problem in Washington because of his government experience? Would Trump had called Sanders a Socialist/Communist sympathizer to his base and they most likely would've bought it? Would the idea of Trump having no political and military experience benefited him? Would Sanders' potential vice presidential pick had been an issue for him?
Not saying Sanders would've lost. But these were things I thought of. You had a Republican base who hated many of the policies of Barack Obama. And Sanders was promising if he was the nominee that he would double down on those ideas and go even farther to the left. Sanders wanted to let refugees in, give illegal immigrants amnesty, raise everyone's taxes, and etc... Ideas Republicans hated. Many Republicans I met at the events I attended in the following months told me the only thing they liked about Sanders was he seemed like he was anti-establishment. They hated all of his other ideas and the fact that he was a Socialist, which is why they said they wouldn't have voted for him. Would Sanders had been successful in the electoral college? We might never know what would've been the outcome.
It's possible Trump could've defeated him or might have very well lost. I used to think Sanders might have won, but to be honestI don't know now because Trump not only won many Republicans. He stole many Democrats away who had strictly voted Democrat every election, and even many Bernie supporters to vote for him. Two time Obama voters also went for Trump last year. At a Republican event I attended a few months ago they said they garnered at least 25% of Sanders supporters along with independents. They had an organized and concerted effort just to reach out to Bernie supporters angry over Clinton's nomination.