Who could conceivably be the Democratic version of Trump?

I have been trying to get a feel for what it must be like for establishment Republicans to suffer the anguish over the probable Trump nomination. It seems to me that no matter what happens that the Republican Party is just not going to be the same after the November election. I’ll lay out the four (or is it six?) scenarios below, so that we could consider what would happen if the Democrats were in this boat. What I wonder is if there is anyone on the Democratic side who could potentially run for president and cause such chaos. I don’t think Sanders comes close. Even under a scenario where Clinton withdraws, whether due to health, scandal, or some other reason, I don’t see Sanders as being unacceptable to a large chunk of establishment Democrats.

Here are the four scenarios, in what I think are the most to least damaging.

  1. A non-Trump Republican wins a contested convention but looses in November. The Trump voters then likely leave the GOP
  2. Trump wins the nomination but looses in November. The establishment and Trump voters have a massive fight over who is to blame for the loss.
  3. Trump wins the nomination and the general election. The establishment looses it’s power, who knows what Trump would actually do.
  4. A non-Trump wins a contested convention and the general election. Unlikely to happen. I’ll call this one the kick the can down the road option since the Trump people will be upset but have no power left in Washington with which to express that anger.

I mentioned six possible scenarios in case you would like to distinguish between the non-Trump’s who have run vs Romney, Ryan, or someone else who hadn’t run getting the nomination.

Is there anyone that you can think of who could potentially run for president as a Democrat and leave the Democrats in a bind like the Republicans are in, with four all seemingly bad options?

What I’m asking, in a rather long winded way, is do you all see a significant split between the Democratic base and the Democratic establishment that is just waiting for the right person to come along and exploit?

George Wallace.

That is to say, the Dems kinda already went through this during the Civil Rights era, when the party leadership supported Civil Rights, while a large chunk of the base was extremely hostile to it.

I don’t think there’s an equivalent tension today. As you say, Sander’s seems to be the anti-establishment candidate of the moment, but his actual difference with Hillary are largely in tone and process, rather than substantial policy disagreements.

I think a candidate that could pull this off would be:

  1. An extremist – more socialist than Sanders, with the same populist message and grass roots appeal.
  2. An african-american. If Hillary didn’t have so much AA-appeal, Sanders would be the nominee.

I could easily imagine a scenario where the above candidate would get a majority of the delegates while the Democratic establishment sees nothing ahead but a loss in the general.

“Loses,” not “looses.” Not a nit I would ordinarily trouble to pick, but you did it three times in the same post.


I once mentioned Al Sharpton as the Democratic equivalent of Donald Trump.

Let’s see… actual or presumed Democrat, weird/controversial/offensive/drug-fueled/just-plain-stupid views, with said views frequently expressed on Twitter, African-American a plus, no apparent grasp of policy but still strangely popular…

Ah, I know:

Someone on the extreme Green fringe. Someone who probably doesn’t exist yet, but who could get a lot of traction with young Green / Democrat voters on enviromental issues. Wouldn’t need to get a huge mainstream appeal, just enough to fracture the votes on the left. (And with no crossover appeal to the right.) Sort of like what Ralph Nader was accused of doing in 2000.

But there’s a big difference between, “They aren’t the best candidate and will probably lose the general” and “This person is a disaster for our brand”.

Nobody in the Democratic party is going to think that just because the candidate is black that they’re an embarrassment. Just being black wouldn’t make them toxic. Hint: we have a black president right now.

Likewise, Bernie isn’t toxic to the Democrats. Sure, the party power brokers are all for Clinton. They want her to win. That means they’re campaigning for her, and helping her. But if Sanders wins more delegates, they’re not going to scream and cry and threaten to support Trump, or Cruz. They may shake their heads and decide that the election is hopeless and write him off and concentrate on supporting governors and senators instead of the presidential race, but they’re not going to split the party or threaten to run Hillary as a third party candidate.

So Bernie is the Democratic equivalent of Ted Cruz, someone with a poor shot at winning the election, that has extreme views that don’t represent the median voter, and isn’t popular with the party bosses. A black Bernie Sanders is just a black Bernie Sanders. He may be the electoral equivalent of Walter Mondale, destined to go down in flames against a decent Republican candidate, but Black Bernie wouldn’t be toxic for the party.

He’d have to be someone like the aforementioned Kanye. Inexplicably popular with a large segment of the base, yet hopelessly insane. Except I can’t picture Kanye winning primary after primary like Trump has. Well, 2020 is 4 years away, so I’ve got some time to get used to the idea.

How about Trump himself? His politics are sure flexible enough. Maybe if right-wing demagoguery doesn’t work out in 2016, he’ll go back to the left?

Lyndon LaRouche?

Bernie Sanders

If not Trump himself then Jon Stewart.

Alan Grayson, perhaps. He’s certainly pugnacious enough.

How so? If Stewart decided to run for President and he unexpectedly gained widespread support, which group of Democrats do you feel would be alienated by his success?

Good choice.

Joe Biden is another one who has no filter and says whatever comes to mind.