I have a hunch, a hunch that Bernie Sanders is going to do a lot better than the smart money thinks.
Yes, Sanders is playing deep left field and he makes Hillary look downright moderate by comparison. But a lot of the Democratic base is playing deep left field too, which may explain what happened the other day in Wisconsin.
The state Democratic Party held a straw poll, which as you might imagine, Mrs. Clinton won. She picked up 49 percent of the vote. But Bernie Sanders got a more than respectable 41 percent
As Politico reported, “The result is another encouraging sign for Sanders, who is drawing large crowds in early nominating states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. In the two weeks since he announced his candidacy, the Vermont senator has seen an uptick in the polls against Clinton — who remains the heavy favorite — and Sanders is showing signs he could pick up some supporters of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the progressive icon who has said repeatedly that she will not run for president in 2016.
Memo to Hillary: It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
Now consider the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, which may explain why Bernie is on a roll.
When asked about upward mobility in today’s America only 35 percent of those polled said anyone can get ahead — while 61 percent said “just a few people at the top have a chance to get ahead.”
Asked if they think that, “the distribution of money and wealth in this country is fair,” just 27 percent said it is fair; 66 percent said money and wealth “should be more even.”
Should the gap between rich and poor be addressed? Sixty five percent said it should be addressed now; 16 percent said no.
Should the government do more to address the gap between rich and poor? Fifty seven percent said yes; 39 percent said no.
And when asked if large corporations have too much or too little influence in the country, 74 percent said too much, 20 percent said they have the “right amount” and virtually nobody said they have too little influence.
Welcome to Bernie Sanders’ America. Sure, Hillary’s a lefty too, and moving farther left by the day to keep the progressives happy. But it was Sanders, when asked if he thinks a top marginal tax rate of 90 percent is too high, replied, “No.”
That may sound crazy to you, dear reader, but a lot of progressives were nodding their empty heads in agreement. Bernie reflects their values more than Hillary does.
And let’s not forget that Sanders sounds genuine when he talks. Hillary doesn’t. Bernie comes off as trustworthy. Hillary doesn’t. He even comes off as likeable, in a crazy uncle kind of way. Hillary is many things but to a lot of us, likeable isn’t one of those things.
So maybe, if Bernie sticks around, at least it won’t be a Clinton coronation.
But what if – just … what … if — she says something really dumb at the debates and Bernie doesn’t. What if she sounds like a programmed political robot and he comes off as a passionate lib “who cares about people like me.”
So is it possible? Could Bernie pull off the impossible and knock Hillary off. The short answer is no. Democrats can’t be that crazy and Republicans can’t be that lucky.
But one can dream.