Can Bernie Sanders win? It’s implausible. We’re also coming off two implausible presidents, Obama and Trump. At this point, implausible candidates are more plausible than plausible candidates.
Plausible candidates like Romney, McCain, Hillary, and, likely Biden, seem like inevitable losers. Ruling out the possibility of an implausible candidate is unwise.
Bernie also appeals to a lot of the Obama -> Trump voters who want to vote against whatever the establishment is. The Joe Rogan endorsement should have been a wake up call there. Even portions of the conservative movement now consist of people whose two poles are opposition to foreign wars and support for some sort of government social welfare project that will save families.
There we are.
Bernie is also largely impervious to conventional debates. Anyone expecting him to be destroyed in a debate has missed his signature debate performances of ignoring what anyone else is saying and pivoting to the same canned rant about corporations and banks. Sure it’s stupid, but it’s also worked for him pretty well. Really bad debaters with no externality can’t be destroyed in a debate. They simply don’t care and aren’t going to pull a Beto, hesitate and telegraph that they’ve been set back. They don’t even know it.
Bernie has a handful of talking points and will return to them over and over again.
Now there are lots of cons here. A ton of them. Bernie’s crooked, his family hasn’t even been touched, and they’ve got their own Biden issues. Bernie’s radicalism comes with stuff that even most radicals wouldn’t want to touch. We’ve gone over them often enough.
But in the American politics of the 21st century, it would be dangerous to assume that those make a candidate unelectable.
The worse a candidate seems, the more effective they may be in a general election in which the final say will belong to independents who hate both parties and loathe the establishment.