Donald Trump says that he will make Apple assemble its iPhones in America. Bernie Sanders “wishes” they would. Sanders seems a little bit less authoritarian about how he would try to get it to happen, but at the end of the day his plan is no less fantastical.
In an interview with the New York Daily News editorial board, the socialist candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination put his ignorance on display on issue after issue. Like a candidate who says, “Mexico will pay for it,” Sanders appeared to think his words alone will make something happen. Unlike Trump, Sanders was humble enough to admit multiple times he didn’t know the answers.
“I don’t know if the Fed has it [the authority to break up big banks],” he said. The lawsuit that found the government didn’t have the authority to bring Metropolitan Life under financial regulation is “not something I have studied,” even though the legal implications could stifle Sanders’ ambitious regulatory plans. Are there any actual laws on which to prosecute Wall Street bankers for activities that led to the 2008 financial crisis, as Sanders says he will do? “I suspect that there are. Yes.” Throughout the interview Sanders admitted to ignorance about multiple important topics before stating his passionately held assumptions.
Here's where I state what my opinion is. Then I add, "That's what I believe," as if to make it true.#SandersInterview
— Mitchell Blatt (@MitchBlatt) April 6, 2016
This was Sanders’ first attempt to explain how he would actually be able to implement his “revolutionary” ideas. He didn’t appear to know how to they would get done.
This is important, because he casts himself as more radically populist than Hillary Clinton. Clinton takes too much money from Wall Street, he says, and she won’t do enough to help the poor and middle class. Yet Sanders won’t be able to do anything if he doesn’t have a plan. If his ideas are infeasible, as his centrist critics point out, then it doesn’t matter how radical they are.
For all the rhetoric about a “political revolution,” Sanders will be operating within the bounds of the constitutional American system. Even he, in a refreshing change from Trump, said, “The President is not a dictator.”
Sanders acknowledged that he would have to work with Congress, but even he wasn’t very confident that the Democrats would be able to win control of the House of Representative, where the Republicans have a 58 seat majority. And with as opposed as the Republicans have been to most of Obama’s agenda—even down to confirming Supreme Court justices (in Senate)—it would be surprising, to say the least, if they didn’t resist the policies Sanders proposes, which are even more radically left-wing than Obama’s agenda.
Asked how he would get his agenda through Congress, Sanders projected (plausibly) Democratic victories in Senate, where the Republicans face a tough reelection map, but even he wouldn’t go so far as to project a Democratic takeover of the House:
We are talking about a political revolution and we are already delivering on a political revolution well before Election Day. … First of all, if I win, it will almost by definition mean that there will be a very large voter turnout. That’s what I believe. If there is a very large voter turnout, I think the odds are pretty strong Democrats will regain control of the Senate, do better in the House. Can they win the House? I don’t know. But they will do better.
One thing to add is that even if the Democrats took the house, it would—“by definition,” in Sanders’ words—mean that there were a lot of moderate Democrats who had won swing districts in the House. Even those Democrats would probably not vote for universal free education or single-payer healthcare.
When the Democrats had a 75 seat majority in House in 2010, they only narrowly got Obamacare passed by a 219-212 vote, with 34 Democrats (mostly “Blue Dogs,” who represented swing districts) voting against it.
The other thing Democrats should take not of in Sanders’ response is that Democrats running with Sanders on the ticket would not just have a hard time winning control of the House, his answer also implicitly acknowledged they’d probably have a hard time winning the White House with Sanders.
”I win, it will almost by definition mean that there will be a very large voter turnout.”
The definition of a Sanders win is an election with very large turnout… What if there isn’t large turnout?
To put it into other words: For me to win, there will have to be very large voter turnout.
The possibility of Trump’s nomination changes the calculation. In such a case, he could win simply with a depressed Republican turnout or an exodus of Republicans to the third party or by winning women and independents.
In all likelihood all of those theories will remain hypothetical, because he will never win the nomination, especially not after 700 super delegates, legislators and party leaders who have practical concerns, read his interview with the Daily News.