I guess we should start taking the idea of a Sanders administration seriously

For most of the past year, I’ve simply assumed that Joe Biden was a doddering, elderly, gaffe-prone, out -of-touch fool who would nonetheless hold it together long enough to win the Democratic nomination. Results form Iowa and New Hampshire along with many recent polls suggest that I overestimated him and now, certainly, a Bernie Sanders victory looks more likely than ever. Up to now, I think, most people have avoided talking much about what a Sanders administration would actually look like because they assumed it would never happen. But I suppose the time has come to take it seriously.

Some starting thoughts:

Vice President. Normally the job of the Vice President is to look pretty while sitting behind the President during the State of the Union address, to attend funerals that aren’t important enough for the President, and other such symbolic duties. But Bernie is on the old side and did have a heart attack a few months ago, so the chances of his Vice President becoming President would be higher than normal, and everyone would be aware of that.

Reasonably, a more mainstream choice night help reassure centrist Democrats and independents that the Sanders administration wouldn’t be too extreme. But since when has Sanders himself ever accepted that type of argument. His entire strategy is based on avoiding that type of thinking and sticking with far left positions. Thus, I incline towards believing that he’ll pick a left-wing running mate. Elizabeth Warren would seem like the most obvious name.

The Senate. Obviously to get even a part of his agenda passed, Bernie would need a Democratic Senate. Key Senate races will be in places like Alabama, Iowa, Colorado, and Maine. It is reasonable to wonder whether having Sanders at the top of the ticket will hurt the Democrats’ chances in those states.

There is an added wrinkle. If Bernie wins the Presidency then he has to give up his Senate seat, which would be temporarily filled by a replacement nominated by the governor of Vermont. Amazingly enough, the current governor is a Republican, though he’s up for re-election this year. His appointment would hold the seat for at most 3 months, after which there must be a special election. One tends to assume that a Democrat would be favored in Vermont, but strange things can happen in special elections. We may recall the Democrats losing a seat in Massachusetts in 2009, or the Republicans losing in Alabama in 2017.

Speaking of Massachusetts, if Warren became Vice President then her Senate seat would also be open. In Massachusetts there is no replacement appointed. The seat remains open until a special election, which must be 145-160 days later. So a Sanders-Warren ticket winning could actually cost Democrats two Senate seats in the opening months of the administration.

The Cabinet. Traditionally most Presidents have long experience in the mainstream of their party. They become friends with a large number of other current and former Congressfolks, governors, lobbyists, think tank researchers, and the like. Thus, when taking office they can tap a large number of people to fill their cabinet and then the thousands of other positions that need to be filled.

There President Bernie may face a problem. He has deliberately not had good relations with most Democrats, which is hardly surprising when you consider that he wasn’t a Democrat until a few months ago. Thus much like Donald Trump, who had few political connections when arriving in office, Bernie may struggle to find qualified people willing and able to take positions. Per Wikipedia, Bernie has been endorsed by 1 current and 1 former Senator, 7 Representatives, and 1 former cabinet official. (For comparison’s sake, Joe Biden has almost 10 times as many in every category.) It’s difficult to imagine Michael Moore or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez running a federal department successfully.

Legislation. As noted, if the Democrats don’t control the Senate, there’s little chance of passing any major bills. If they do, there’s still the filibuster to worry about. They could abolish the filibuster, but several Democratic Senators have already spoken out against the idea.

Judges. Justice Ginsburg is no spring chicken. Breyer isn’t either. So President Bernie might have two Supreme Court appointments to make early, on top of the usual number of appointments to the lower courts. Of course, whether he can push through those nominations will depend on the Senate, and also on whether he makes choices who share his far-left position on the political spectrum, or whether he’s more willing to consider moderate nominees.

Executive orders. If Bernie can’t accomplish much by legislation, his base will clamor for direct action by whatever means is available. It’s basically a rule these days that any significant executive action from the President draws at least one lawsuit from the opposing party. So we can probably look forward to a lot of protracted legal fights at the same time that we’re fighting over control of the courts.

The midterm election. All recent Presidents have seen their party lose big in the first midterm election after their election, except for George W. Bush who delayed that day of reckoning until his second term. By any reasonable prediction, if Bernie becomes President, the Republicans are likely to win and take back Congress in 2022.

If Bernie is president, I see no reason McConnell would not repeat Scalia again should Ginsburg or Breyer die. He will try to keep their seats empty for a future Republican president (and if the Senate stays red after the 2022 midterms, it could happen.)

It should also be noted that if Bernie is defeated in 2024, it will be regarded as a big repudiation of progressivism - for maybe a decade or so. Even the next Democrat who wins the presidency may be a Biden centrist type.

He would be 82 years old in 2024. In all seriousness that seems an absurdity that he or anyone would run for president at that age. If Bernie wins, which for the purposes of the thread I will humor, I think he almost certainly has to be considered a one termer.

I’ve known several 82 year olds in my life. It’s time for them to think about not driving anymore, let alone being president. I think it is a near impossibility for someone that old to do everything that the job entails.

I don’t see Warren accepting a VP nod, nor her being the obvious choice. I think you’d be more likely to see someone who would help solidify his reach among other groups. I think Mayor Pete or Kamala Harris would be a more likely choice. Plus, Warren’s 70 herself, so those age concerns for Bernie wouldn’t exactly be alleviated if Warren had to assume the Oval Office.

The main goal of a President Bernie should be to flip the Senate to blue in 2022. That will be a good year for Democrats based on the map of who is up for reelection, with several purple state Republicans, few purple state Democrats, and the overall count being 22R and 12D. Rather than focusing on divisive legislation, Bernie should focus on reversing Trump’s executive orders, rebuilding the Justice and State departments and any other departments that Trump has ravaged, and working on infrastructure. When judicial nominees come up, he should pick those with impeccable credentials that the country can rally around, so that McConnell will lose in the publics eye should he bust out the Merrick Garland maneuver again. He should save the tax increases and such until after the 2022 election.

I also don’t see Sanders picking a moderate running mate. Sanders doesn’t seem like one to pivot. Also I think he wagers, reasonably, that moderate Dems will vote for almost anyone who isn’t Trump, and he’ll get more people to the polls by pushing for big change.

Because the Senate is crucial, I don’t see him picking a Senator and risking the loss of a D vote there. So, a firebrand Representative or progressive Governor seems more likely to me. Someone reasonably young, maybe 50s. Preferably someone who’s not a white male. I dunno who fits that description, though.

Kate Brown of Oregon for running mate, maybe? I know very little about her. But she’s a progressive, 59 year old, bisexual woman, so she seems to fit the totally made up criteria I imagine for Sanders’s running mate.

The stock market people say “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” I guess you took that disclaimer to heart, because Biden’s past results of running for president would certainly tend to indicate that he would NOT get the nomination.

And I see that you’ve also taken it to heart with regard to Sanders.

The VP pick needs to be Yang, but that isn’t a choice that is specific to Sanders. Whoever the nominee is needs to pick Andrew Yang as VP.

Part of me wants him to pick Kamala Harris or Adam Schiff and say, “When I’m president, Kamala/Adam will lead a massive investigation to prosecute every last member of the Trump administration for all their crimes.” It won’t happen, of course. But wouldn’t it be cool?

You mean the Ying Yang principle?

When gore lost in 2000, Kerry lost in 2004 and Clinton lost in 2016 why weren’t these events considered repudiation for centrist democrats?

Well, probably because Gore and Clinton won the popular vote so some people like the moderate Dems

I’m not really seeing that. Yang is, when all is said and done, a businessman and a capitalist who got rich in business. Not Bloomberg-level rich, to be sure, but he made a few million. Also, while Yang may have had a devoted following on the internet, it obviously didn’t translate to significant numbers of votes.

Perhaps if he’s convinced Yang is a good-guy capitalist, Bernie would offer him some business-related post such a Secretary of Commerce or Treasury. Buttigieg might be a possibility for those as well.

Sanders is nothing but a pipe dream from a disillusioned segment of the population. If he somehow gets the nomination, it does nothing but guarantee Trump’s re-election. Trump is already generating massive turnout in virtually unopposed primaries. Put Bernie on the main ticket, and you’ll see record GOP turnout in the general.

Forget about Bernie. It’s pie in the sky, never gonna happen wishful thinking.

I remember when I used to say the same thing about Trump! Funny to see that some folks are still certain they can predict political things without any data.

[del]Do you believe that Democrats will line up behind the Sanders Administration in the same way that Republicans have lined up behind the Trump Administration?

What in the recent past of Dem/progressive/liberal party politics would lead you to think that there would be an impenetrable blue wall protecting Sanders Administration policies?[/del]

ETA: got ahead of myself.

Do you believe that Democrats will line up behind the Sanders Nomination in the same way that Republicans have lined up behind the Trump Nomination?

I don’t know. But also, Sanders won’t do anything close to the evil, incompetent, harmful, and dishonorable stuff that Trump has done, so it would be different in any case.

See above. :slight_smile: