I don't disagree with Jeb Lund on the positivity of Sen. Bernie Sanders' run for President, but there's a bit more to say here.
First, about being the right-looking "blowdried" candidate with a red tie: yes, true, alas. But let's not swoon over Bernie just because he "doesn't give a f--k" about his image. Let's swoon over him because he does give a f--k about the right things. And he actually proposes good legislation: on the minimum wage; regulating the Wall Street fraudsters; and on and on.
I mean, image is a terrible thing nowadays. The Republicans' version of the perfect-image candidate is Ben Carson: a black identity politician whose positions are indistinguishable from anybody else's (insofar as he has stated positions on anything). His bona fides are that he pulled himself up by his bootstraps despite being black and poor, can't stand his fellow African-American Barack Obama, and most importantly, rails against Obamacare. Beyond that, Ben Carson is a cipher... or an empty suit. He doesn't have many policy ideas because, as is blindingly obvious -- and this only adds to his appeal among Republicans -- it never occurred to him to run for President until quite recently, at the urging of Republicans who were out to prove they didn't distrust black people... as long as they believed all the "right" things.
Second, Bernie's humble economic station is a good thing nowadays; but a politician's wealth or privileged background was not always a predictor of his political leanings or his performance in office. FDR, an all-time top 3 U.S. President and blueblood patrician, proved that. What Roosevelt had was a sense of old-money, old-fashioned noblesse oblige. With the recent departure of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the closest things we have to old money in U.S. politics today are Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.
In fact, running for President today -- the GOP presidential nomination, that is -- is not a result of a candidate's wealth and privilege, necessarily, it is a path to wealth and privilege: as a FOX contributor / talk radio host / author / highly-paid guest speaker. Never before was political loserdom a path to anything but a ticket to retirement. Now with enough Super PAC money and a favorable audience with Sheldon Anderson, a nominee can be plucked from political obscurity and made a front-runner, with his guaranteed payday at the end, whatever the result.
Third, there's something different about a Bernie Sanders or Ralph Nader running for the Democratic nomination, knowing he's going to lose, in the hopes of nudging (or embarrassing) the eventual nominee to move slightly to the Left, and the gaggle of Republican candidates trying to outrun each other to the Right, eastward beyond the horizon. Because many Democratic voters would be uncomfortable with a Bernie Sanders as a nominee -- "too liberal!" -- whereas, no matter who gets nominated by the GOP, most Republican voters will be dissatisfied -- "he's not conservative enough" -- or even bestow the worst insult imaginable -- "he's a RINO."
Most Republicans probably don't stop to think why there's no equivalent of the "RINO" label among Democrats. (I wish there were). But if they did, they might realize that we Democrats are a pretty diverse bunch who can't even agree among ourselves what a true Democrat is. On the Republican side, talk radio settled that issue at least 15 years ago; and the media masters of the GOP police their ideological purity mercilessly...even at the expense of losing elections. (Which I grudgingly give them credit for; although they have convinced themselves that they speak for America's "Silent Majority," and when they lose, it is thanks to George Soros and the Lib'rul Media conspiracy, not their ideology).
By Jeb Lund
May 27, 2015 | Guardian