Sen. Sanders will allow liberals to feel good about themselves
By Richard Barry
Politico has a story today that Democrats see Sen. Bernie Sanders as the greatest threat amongst potential challengers to Hillary Clinton for the party's presidential nomination. This is another way of saying that she is not going to be challenged at all, not at least as far as winning and losing goes.
But that's not the point. The point is that the party faithful, and those others desperate to stop the Republicans from retaking the White House are fine with Hillary. That support probably runs the gamut from real enthusiasm, though I haven't seen a lot of that, to meh. But Hillary's the one.
What that means is that we are, in a sense, going through the motions. Who better to go through the motions with than Sen. Sanders who will actually make things interesting by allowing Democrats to have a real internal dialogue about how progressive they really want to be.
When that's over, liberal to liberal-ish voters can pat themselves on the back knowing the conversation they just had will have virtually no adverse impact on Hillary Clinton's ability to win the presidency.
This also means there is no room left for candidates like Martin O'Malley who will position himself slightly to the left of Mrs. Clinton, but not so far as to really mix things up. He's really just an annoyance, in part because under other circumstances he could have been a credible contender. In this election cycle that makes him an unnecessary distraction.
Bottom line is that Sen. Sanders will make many Democrats feel a little bit better about themselves, knowing they talked about some real transformative issues without any risk. Other than how to ensure Hillary Clinton beats whoever the Republicans put up, no other conversations are particularly welcome.
And, by the way, liberals really like to feel good about themselves.