Relax, Sanders is in no danger of being president

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

A new year dawns, and a global economy hitched to China’s fortunes may soon miss the humdrum of mediocrity. As murderers redraw the Middle East map in blood, civil war in Syria fuels the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

In America, the next big cyber attack could cost you your identity if you’re lucky or several months of electric service if you’re not, and the terror threat seems personal again.

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, Jesus Rivas reveals that the shadowy establishment figures who arranged political assassinations in the 1960s to thwart the will of the people may be contemplating a premature demise for Bernie Sanders, Democrat of Vermont.

Evidently our masters — not the market-tested puppets you see on TV but their behind-the-scenes patrons — have watched the senator surge past 30 percent in the national polls and are starting to panic.

The establishment candidate is at a precarious 53 percent, and if Sanders happens to edge close enough that she might “crash against the wall of his integrity” he just might have to crash against the bottom of a stairwell somewhere.

Well, that’s one theory.

Rivas believes Americans are “feeling the Bern” (and his rivals are feeling the heat) because he steadfastly refuses to be distracted from the country’s core problems. You might have noticed this if you caught any of his debate performances.

Moderator: “Senator, in light of the YPG’s affiliation with the PPK, which both Ankara and Washington view as a terrorist organization, would you continue to enlist its aid in special ops against ISIS in northern Iraq, and if so, how would you allay our Turkish allies’ suspicions?”

Sanders: “It’s the greed of the billionaire class that’s not allowing you to form a union, send your kids to college or eat regularly, and I intend to stand up to them and fight back.”

Here’s another theory: Rivas’ hero will never sniff the Democratic nomination because he’s a one-trick pony. All he knows is inequality.

Remember when President Barack Obama called inequality the “defining challenge of our time” two years ago without explaining what had defined our time during his previous five years in office or how it was so abruptly displaced?

Sanders suffers from no such awkwardness. He’s more like Alabama Gov. George Wallace at his 1963 inauguration: Inequality now, inequality tomorrow, inequality forever. (OK, Wallace said “segregation,” but you can’t fault his consistency.)

Harping on one issue hinders a presidential candidate if voters don’t share his preoccupation.

Most Americans don’t wake up worrying about who has more than they do or by how much. They may worry about finding or keeping a job, paying their bills or saving for the future; but in general they don’t blame the wealthy for their problems.

If they’re wrong, let’s show them a dollar in Warren Buffett’s pocket that rightfully belongs to them and explain how he took it. And let’s find someone — anyone — who was impoverished by Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates.

In the real world, a hungry man’s prospects for a meal improve if he has well-fed neighbors. He must beware a government geared for social leveling because it may prove more proficient at spreading his circumstances than theirs. History’s most comprehensive efforts to end inequality resulted in the starvation of millions.

Also in the real world, Rivas can relax.

Sanders looks healthy and probably will manage to stay above ground until the Democratic convention in July. It’s when the delegates start voting that he’ll find himself underwater.

Michael Smith of Cynthiana is an office worker for a Lexington contractor.

At issue: Jan. 4 column by Jesus Rivas, “Establishment will try to derail Sanders bid”