I think Jim Geraghty has summed it up best, “America Now Has An Openly Socialist Party”, but he notes about Hillary:
With that in mind, Hillary Clinton is the class of the field on that stage, and the only real obstacle to the nomination that remains is a Joe Biden bid. Compared with everyone else, she’s polished and knows what she’s doing. Even when she’s being robotic and inauthentic, she’s remembering her talking points, pivoting to her preferred issues. The software upgrades to her personality may look awkward when she’s alone, but she’s still a much, much better candidate than anybody else on that stage.
Geraghty is absolutely right about his assessment of where the Democratic Party has ended up, as the party of Democratic Socialism. But Bernie Sanders struck me as a formidable candidate given the populist zeitgeist among both the right and left base in this race. Back to Geraghty:
In one of the few surprises of the night, Bernie Sanders did his best to try to save her on her troubles with her personal e-mail server. He’s an old fool if he thinks Hillary will return the favor when he needs it.
That struck me as an unwise move on the part of Sanders. What better way to sink her as an establishment candidate than to ride that hobby horse? But I don’t agree with the rest of Geraghty’s assessment of Sanders. There is a tendency to want to dismiss populism — I speak as someone who has that tendency. There is no denying it anymore. Nothing I saw in the Dem primary convinces me that this is anything other than a race between Bernie Sander’s left-populism and Hillary Clinton’s left-establishmentarianism, and I think Bernie’s populism is going to be more appealing to the Democratic base.
I do have to agree with Geraghty about Jim Webb, in that “Webb has a good chance of winning the Democratic nomination in 1948.” But I don’t think anything I saw tonight will help Hillary stop feeling the Bern, and for anyone else to put serious pressure on either candidate.
God help us. The stakes are very high, and I don’t honestly think anyone who’s a real contender, on either side, is really anything other than a cartoon.