Recently a few friends asked me if I would support Bernie Sanders in his run for the Presidency. I replied to them that my support for the Presidency would depend on how I think the 2016 Congressional elections would go.
From what I read, most experts expect Republicans to retain their majority in the House of Representatives after the 2016 elections due to gerrymandering. A major consideration that I have is which candidate would best be able to handle the Republican opposition when he or she becomes President. Would a President Sanders be able to pass progressive legislation through a House with a conservative Republican majority and a Senate that is vulnerable to a Republican filibuster?
I don’t think he’d be able to. My politics is closer to Bernie Sanders’ politics than to Hillary’s. But I think Hillary is tougher and a more wily politician. In the highly polarized political scene today, I think our President will need the political skills of an Abraham Lincoln or an FDR. Hillary is a centrist who can be moved farther to the left on a particular issue if a social movement can energize public opinion towards their particular cause. If Hillary is President, her political victories would most likely be centrist victories. With the Republican majorities in Congress, that may be the most that Democrats could realistically hope for.
If I thought the Democrats could have strong majorities in Congress after 2016, I would consider voting for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. I suspect, though, that the Republicans will retain their Congressional majorities after the 2016 elections. That is why I’m supporting Hillary for the Presidency.
Since the Republicans are predicted to retain control of Congress after the 2016 elections, I think the most important fight in 2016 will be the one within the Republican Party between establishment Republicans who are business-friendly and want a more inclusive GOP, and far right Republicans who are anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-government and want to push the GOP and the country even further to the right. This is similar to the fight in the 1960s in the Democratic Party between Northeastern liberal Democrats and Southern segregationist Democrats. If the establishment Republicans control the GOP, there might be some common ground with Democrats on issues like immigration reform. If the far right Republicans control the party, expect more years of obstruction and gridlock.
Congressional Quarterly’s Robert Merry argues presidencies rise and fall as voters judge presidents’ performance. Merry decided to explore how voters’ perceptions compared with those of historians. He joins Judy Woodruff to talk about his new book, “Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians.”
Historians Richard Norton Smith and Edna Medford discussed C-SPAN’s Historian Survey of Presidential Leadership on Washington Journal. Historian Douglas Brinkley joined the discussion by phone. From Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009
Historian Aaron David Miller argues that the American “addiction” for greatness sets today’s leaders up against impossible standards. Margaret Warner sits down with Miller to discuss his new book, “The End of Greatness”, and to talk about the Presidency
A video of the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign
Senator Bernie Sanders held a press conference to officially announce his 2016 run for the White House. Sanders spent a great deal of his announcement taking questions from reporters and laying out his agenda for the country, focusing on the wealth gap and the billionaire class that is “literally able to buy elections.”