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July 21st, 2017

Insight

Is Hillary in Trouble? Can Bernie Pull Off the Impossible? Is America Going Nuts?

Bernard Goldberg

By Bernard Goldberg

Published Jan. 25, 2016

Is Hillary in Trouble? Can Bernie Pull Off the Impossible? Is America Going Nuts?
This is the headline that ran over a National Review story: Juanita Broaddrick Still Haunts Hillary Clinton.

Juanita Broaddrick, in case you don't know, is the woman who accused then Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton of raping her in a Little Rock hotel room, a charge, for the record, that through his lawyer, Clinton has denied.

Just a few weeks ago Ms. Broaddrick sent out a tweet about the incident. "I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73. . . . it never goes away."

This is more than a tad inconvenient for Mrs. Clinton, who recently sent out a tweet of her own. "Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported," it said. Does that include Juanita Broaddrick?

Yes, National Review is a conservative publication that might find the Hillary angle too good to pass up, but the New York Times is a paper that's not exactly hostile to liberal Democrats. Here's the headline on a story the Times ran about Mrs. Clinton's troubles with one of her key — if not her most important — voting blocs: '90s Scandals Threaten to Erode Hillary Clinton's Strength With Women

Right after the Times story, the Washington Post ran another about Mrs. Clinton, under this Q & A headline: Who had the worst week in Washington? Hillary Clinton

Then there's the headline on a Wall Street Journal op-ed: Hillary Is in Big Trouble

The first sentence in that piece explains why. "Presidential races are about the future and Hillary Clinton is stuck in the past." Fred Barnes, who wrote the op-ed, explained. "This year, angry voters have turned increasingly to populist, anti-establishment and future-oriented candidates. As a status quo candidate, she doesn't fit the moment." Besides, she's a lousy campaigner.

On the same day as the Hillary is in trouble piece ran in the Journal, the lead editorial in that paper read: Taking Sanders Seriously

"It's time to take Bernie Sanders seriously," the editorial began. "The Vermont Senator is leading in Iowa and New Hampshire and in Sunday's debate he sounded for the first time like a candidate who thinks he can win. He still isn't the favorite against the Clinton machine, but it's no longer impossible to imagine the 74-year old as the Democratic nominee."

So is Hillary really in trouble? Should we really take Bernie seriously?

Normally, the smart money would say no and no. But nothing is normal this year in politics. Who thought Donald Trump would still be around this late in the game? Who thought there'd be a good chance he'd win the GOP nomination? And who thought Sanders might beat Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire let alone just might be the party's nominee.

What's crazier than all that is how so many Americans actually do take Bernie Sanders seriously. If President Sanders got his way, he'd do what socialists always do: He'd run out of other people's money and wreck the economy. Somebody's got to pay for all that free stuff he's promising to give away.

He'd start with higher taxes on the billionaires he detests. But even they don't have enough money to pay for all of Bernie's handouts. Free stuff is expensive. So the middle class likely would be next in line for a tax hike. And if President Sanders would never let that happen, we'd go so far into debt that we'd never come out of it in one piece. I know. It's beyond crazy. The American people are too smart to ever elect a guy like Sanders, right? Don't bet on it.

According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll conducted between January 9th and 13th, a whole lot of people really are taking Bernie seriously.

Here's the question registered voters were asked: "If the election for president were held today, and Donald Trump were the Republican candidate and Bernie Sanders were the Democratic candidate, for whom would you vote?

Only 39 percent said they'd vote for Trump. But get this: 54 percent said they'd vote for Sanders. (Five percent said they'd vote for neither or someone else, 1 percent said it "depends," and another 1 percent weren't sure.) Yes, more than half the registered voters polled would elect a nutty socialist over a loud-mouthed capitalist. Hey, who doesn't want a free college education and lots of other free goodies — as long as somebody else is paying for it?

Polls this far out don't mean much, of course. And I'm guessing Bernie will fade after New Hampshire. But I thought Trump would fade a long time ago. This time around, given the mood of the electorate, anything is not only theoretically possible but could actually happen.

Which brings to mind that old curmudgeon H.L. Mencken who famously said: "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

Don't shoot your humble messenger. I'm not insulting anybody. All I'm doing is quoting the misanthrope who said it. But just between you and me he's right.

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