One thing I try to always encourage people to do (especially as it relates to politics) is to analyze the bigger picture. Almost nothing in politics is organic; there’s almost always some sort of “end game” – even when it comes to Bernie Sanders. As much as many people like him (myself included), I like to remind people that he’s still essentially a career politician. He’s was first elected to Congress in 1990 and was Mayor of Burlington, Vermont from 1981-1989.
That’s why I find his decision to run for president at 73 years of age interesting. If elected, he would be 75 and instantly become the oldest president ever elected to their first term – topping Ronald Reagan by six years.
So I just can’t help but ask: Why now?
If Sanders is this “revolutionary” as many of his supporters claim, someone who’s tired of the status quo, why didn’t he run in 2000 or 2004? Heck, why not in 2008 when the country was reeling from eight years of failed Bush policies? If he truly believes in the issues on which he stands (and I believe that he does), then why wait so late in life to run for probably the most stressful and difficult job in the world?
Most of what he’s running against (corruption on Wall Street, money in politics, income inequality) have been issues for a while now – not just recently. So the timing of his first presidential bid has always struck me as a little strange. I don’t think it’s to “take Hillary Clinton out” – I fully believe him when he says he’ll endorse her if she wins the nomination and I don’t believe he’s someone who would just say that to say it.
But let’s face facts, the presidency is hard on everyone who wins the office. Go look at a picture of Barack Obama in 2008 then look at one of him now. It’s only been six years but he looks like he’s aged fifteen years at least.
So I have no qualms about admitting that I have some fairly strong reservations about a 75-year-old man being able take on that job. Not only that, but typically most presidents run for a second term, right? Are there really people out there who feel comfortable with a will-be 79-year-old man running for his second term as president? I remember liberals bashing Sen. John McCain’s age in 2008… and he’s younger than Sanders.
Then again, what if Sanders isn’t planning on running for re-election in 2020? What if he’s running to set up an Elizabeth Warren presidency in 2020?
Let’s face it, a lot of the support he’s getting came around the same time the “draft Warren” folks realized she wasn’t running. Not only that, but as much as I absolutely adore Warren, she really doesn’t have a whole lot of political experience. Not that I think that would have really impacted her chances of getting elected, but what if she felt she wasn’t ready for the office?
She’s a highly intelligent lady who seems to have a good head on her shoulders. I could completely see her not wanting to run next year because she didn’t feel she was ready to take on everything that goes along with being President of the United States.
But in 2020, she would have seven years in the Senate under her belt, so she might feel differently. Warren taking over for Sanders in 2020 would be a fairly easy and almost seamless transition. In fact, she very well could be who he picked to be his Vice Presidential candidate if he were to win the nomination next year.
Now, obviously, this is all me throwing this out there based on my own reading of the whole situation as it relates to Sanders, Warren and the peculiar timing of his first presidential bid.
I guess time will tell. While I’m still a proud Hillary Clinton supporter, I continue to maintain that my main goal is to ensure Republicans don’t win the White House in 2016. So, I’m not going to lose sleep over whether it’s Clinton or Sanders – as long as it’s a Democrat who wins next year, I’ll be ecstatic.
Far too much is at stake next year to get whiney and petty. No matter what negative feelings anyone might have about Clinton or Sanders, they pale in comparison to the horrors that will be bestowed upon this nation if a Republican wins the White House in 2016.