When Naiveté Becomes Counterproductive

We have all witnessed one of the most extraordinary Presidential primary seasons in American history.  None of the pundit or party leader predictions of a year ago have been borne out.  On the Republican side the candidates most expected to be in contention made an early exit.  On the Democratic side the candidate expected to make an early exit is still in the fight.  Whether we agree or disagree with the outcomes, there can be no doubt that we have experienced an amazingly unpredictable and at times unfathomable political process.  While we welcome all to engage in this uniquely democratic experience, is it wrong to expect those who participate to have at least a basic understanding of how their actions impact on the system and our democracy?  Is blind enthusiasm and the most rudimentary knowledge of the issues adequate?  Do the candidates and party leaders have some responsibility for the education of those so actively and enthusiastically engaged so that their actions don’t end up having unintended consequences?  In other words, when does blind loyalty become counter-productive to the success of the party?

I know that there are many among you reading this who feel that I am attacking you.  So be it.  I am attacking the naiveté of those who have thrust Donald Trump into a position that has the potential of placing all that we know and love about this country in danger.  I am also attacking those who are blindly following Bernie without demanding clear and concise explanations of how he will achieve his utopian promises.  Certainly, we all want free education, lower taxes, income equality and universal healthcare.  However, he has yet to explain, in realistic terms, how he expects to pay for any of it.  Taxing the rich just doesn’t cut it.  Believe that and you must also believe that Trump will make Mexico pay for a wall. I congratulate Bernie on his success in moving the conversation to the left and creating a demand for real solutions to these problems.  But he simply has not come up with those solutions.

Being able to draw large crowds of the politically naive doesn’t prove the you can lead the country.  It means simply that you have successfully tapped into the frustrations and concerns and desires of many Americans.  So tell me, who am I referring to in the last two sentences, Bernie or Donald?

Perhaps you disagree with me on much of what I have written.  That’s fine.  But the one thing that we can agree on is the fact that a Trump Presidency would be a disaster for all of us.  The other undeniable fact is that Hillary will win the nomination with more than enough pledged delegates, let alone the much maligned superdelegates.  The strategy being bandied about the Bernie campaign to convince the superdelegates who have formally committed to Hillary to switch because she does not have enough pledged delegates to win the nomination without them is simply a pipe dream.  She will have the necessary number of pledged delegates at the time of the Philadelphia Convention.  How Bernie and his followers handle that piece of reality can determine the outcome of the election.

Anyone who has followed this process is well aware that the Republican Party is still very split regarding the Trump candidacy.  Their efforts to somehow control or blunt his lunacy have all failed.  What you see is what we can get. There is no doubt that it will impact on Republican voter turnout and fundraising.  This is the Democratic Party’s opportunity to create election results up and down the ticket and in every locality that will have an impact for decades.  If Bernie and his supporters prevent the kind of party unity that will enable the victory that we, our children and our grandchildren all need, their naiveté will, in fact, be tragically counter-productive.


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