Bernie Sanders has formally announced that he is seeking the Democrat nomination for President.
His announcement came yesterday, in front of a crowd numbering in the thousands at Riverfront Park in Burlington, Vermont – very fitting since Mr. Sanders was Mayor of Burlington, before moving on to the house of representatives and the US Senate.
Can Sanders win the nomination? In my opinion, only if he is Hillary Clinton\’s sole challenger – and, even then, the chances are remote.
So what does his candidacy mean to this process?
For one, he is a pull-no-punches hard leftist, who will appeal to a large segment of Democrat voters – particularly in primaries, which draw disproportionately from hardline segments. That means Hillary Clinton is now officially in a battle.
To illustrate, suppose that Sanders does well in Iowa and New Hampshire (which is a very good bet – especially given that New Hampshire is Vermont\’s neighboring state). That would propel him forward dramatically. And even if he still could not win, it would bring home with indisputable clarity how vulnerable Hillary Clinton\’s plasticine candidacy really is.
A second effect of the Sanders candidacy is that other interested parties – I\’m thinking of Martin O\’Malley, but he might not be the only one – will almost certainly have to accelerate their decisions. Why? Because, right now, Sanders is enjoying default status as the one and only anti-Hillary, thus the beneficiary of all non-Hillary voter interest. If they wait too long and allow his voter base to solidify, there might not be enough left to mount a credible campaign with.
The bottom line, therefore, is that Bernie Sanders\’ entry into this race is a big – potentially huge – factor. And a big – potentially huge – headache for Hillary Clnton.
Put another way, Hidden Hillary probably cannot hide any more. Mr. Sanders\’ candidacy will force her to come out and play.
And because he is a true believer who has well thought out positions which do not change over the years with every shift of the political wind, Bernie Sanders just might clean her clock when she does.