Basic Instincts: Why Bernie’s a Swell Guy But Shouldn’t be the Dems Nominee

By J. Michael Willard

I’m probably to the political left of the guy on a bar stool with marijuana breath who is an Alexandria O-C admirer, but I believe it will be a disaster if Bernie wins the Democratic Presidential nomination

I like Bernie Sanders, always have. But if he is the nominee, that ninth rung of Dante’s hell for our democracy is just an electoral college vote away come November.

By way of literary interest, anyone sent to the Ninth Circle has betrayed the trust of someone or something close and special.

The term socialism, social democrat or social this-and-that is anathema to one-time yellow dog Democrats who — many relatives of mine — fell off the wagon that dark day and voted for Donald Trump.

Practicality — if not patriotism in trying times — calls for us to nominate a candidate who has the best chance of sending Trump into permanent retirement at Mar-a-Lago to color in his picture book memoirs.

This is how scared I am of the coming election. My Ouija Board, at this point, can’t direct me to the best choice, but I am fairly certain that person is a moderate, though with enlightened views.

There are options for me.

On some days I like Mike Bloomberg, on others Pete Buttigieg (though I have to go to spellcheck). Then there is my sentimental favorite, Joe Biden, because I worked with him in the Senate as a staffer for the Democratic Leader. But damn, that lady Amy Klobuchar often makes sense.

In my view — which is informed, though maybe not inspired — Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, Tom Steyer, Michael Bennett, Andrew Yang, and Deval Patrick — have admirable qualities but would be Trump fodder.

I would, of course, vote for an aardvark over Donald Trump.


One only has to have seen and heard Trump after his State of the Union lies, his Congressional Prayer Breakfast performance and heard his guppie-like followers at a post-trial pep rally.

Though I have never made any direct Hitler comparison in my writing, there is, I guess, always a first time. His retribution rants and speech were heavy on the propaganda tactics of Joseph Goebbels.

(“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it…or the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Goebbels. )

Let’ go to the tape of Trump’ SOU speech:

(FYI, I borrowed from a friend at the Boston Globe who writes an insightful column called Fast Forward, Teresa Hanafin).

Trump: “I am thrilled to report to you tonight that our economy is the best it has ever been.”

Truth: Not so fast, Donnie. Trump’s annual economic growth rate hasn’t yet surpassed 3 percent, but there have been many, many years in the recent past when GDP grew more than that, including 1950, 1951, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1997, 1998, 1999. The 3.5 percent unemployment rate is not the lowest in history; for example, it was 2.5 percent in 1953.

Trump: “Since my election, we have created 7 million new jobs.”

Truth: It’s actually 6.7 million jobs since he took office, but who’s counting? In the last three years of the Obama administration, more than 8 million jobs were created.

Trump: “Thanks to our bold regulatory reduction campaign, the United States has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world.”

Truth: The US became the world’s top energy producer under Obama in 2012, but the Donald hates to hear a direct comparison to my personal political Elvis, Barack Obama.

Trump: “From the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the U.S. economy … enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts.”

Truth: Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations were not the largest in history; they were only the eighth-largest in the past century.

Trump: “This is a blue-collar boom.”

Truth: Manufacturing is officially in a recession, and job growth in transportation, construction, and mining has dropped.

Trump: “Everybody said that criminal justice reform couldn’t be done, but I got it done and the people in this room got it done.”

Truth: He’s hearing voices again, because actually, nobody said that reform couldn’t get done, given that Obama kicked off the effort when he signed the Fair Sentencing Act in August 2010.

Trump’s First Step Act builds on that, shortening mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses and easing the federal “three strikes” rule. However, in his 2020 budget, Trump proposed just $14 million for the act, when the law calls for $75 million.

No wonder Ms. Nancy ripped up the speech. Trump’s seventh-grade teacher would have done the same. Oh, and for the record, the above fact-checking was by AP, CNN, NBC, and the Washington Post.

It was just all part of Trump’s dump truck of 16,000 plus whoppers since he was elected.

Yes, anyone but Trump, but we Democrats have the best chance with a well-grounded moderate with an imagination.

J. Michael Willard



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J. Michael Willard

I am a novelist but my day job is utilizing my years as a business consultant, journalist, and public service in the field of international development.