Political asymmetry

I was discussing with a friend today the merits of the various contenders for Democratic presidential nominee. One issue that stood out had nothing to do with the political stance of each candidate, yet everything to do with politics.

It boils down to a very unfair reason to hope Sanders wins the nomination. Namely, he is the only Democratic candidate with fanatical followers.

If Sanders wins the nomination, the other candidates are likely to throw their support behind him, and effectively rally their supporters to vote for him. But that almost certainly would not work in the other direction.

Anyone who beats Bernie in the nomination is going to be perceived by hard-core Berners as The Enemy. This feeling will be so strong, they may very well forget who their real enemy is.

That asymmetry is not fair, but it does suggest why Sanders might be the most effective candidate. Berner fanaticism arises from the nature of the man’s own personality. He has a tenacious and very focused way of campaigning and of framing the issues. Bernie takes no prisoners.

That pitbull-like quality reminds me of one other U.S. politician — the guy he would ultimately be running against in the general election. Which means that Bernie Sanders, whether you like him or not, may be the only Democrat who can avoid getting eaten alive in November by He Who Must Not Be Reelected.

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