Maybe Obama’s 2008 “Hope” message sank in a little too deeply. Americans, from all over the political spectrum, don’t seem to want to settle in 2016. They want a candidate who will tow their ideological line without compromise. For progressives, that person is Bernie Sanders; For the Tea Party it’s Ted Cruz and for the American white supremacist movement it’s Donald Trump.
The problem with each of these campaigns is that they are running on promises that they are unlikely to be able to keep. Should any of these men get elected they will have to deal with a lack of support from within their own party, as well as from the other side of the aisle.
Ted Cruz represents a radical faction of a divided Republican Party and does not have the support of the “Republican establishment”. Donald Trump is a newcomer to the GOP, and politics in general, and doesn’t enjoy many friendly relationships in Congress. If he actually becomes president, most Republicans will see Trump as an independent who stole their nomination and not as the leader of the party. The same, to a lesser extent, is true of Bernie Sanders.
Bernie Sanders would have the advantage of strong relationships with the more progressive members of the US House and Senate, he was not a member of the Democratic Party until he decided to run for President. Prominent Congressional Democrats have already begun distancing themselves from Sanders platform.
A 2016 victory by any of these candidates, would make Obama’s presidency look (with Republicans openly vowing to obstruct him at every turn) seem like a cakewalk. Any of them would go into the White House with less political capital to spend than anyone in recent memory. This would mean that their more extreme proposals would be unlikely to gain any traction and they would be forced to make compromises and sign off on legislation that wouldn’t sit well with their more ideological supporters.
In no case would the election of one of these men signify a “revolution”, it would herald an age of stagnation and divisiveness. It would, very likely, result in damage to the party that won the White House and a one-term presidency.
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