I think both sides have bad candidates in terms of being “beatable.” Historically this is a cycle that should favor the party out of power–two terms of the other party, the outgoing President has been stuck in the 40% range for approval ratings for some time etc. But due to basically “own-goaling” itself with stupidity t he GOP, whoever they nominate, is likely to be a very bad candidate in terms of unfavorability.
From a purely election standpoint I think both Bernie and Hillary have grave weaknesses. I think Bernie is a true believer, and will legitimately not coordinate with a major Super PAC in the general, this is a problem. Obama outraised Romney in campaign contributions by quite a bit, but Romney would’ve had a monstrous actual money advantage if Barack hadn’t utilized a Super PAC, because like 2/3rds of the pro-Romney / anti-Obama spending was done by Super PACs, not the Romney campaign. The literal “billionaire class” is going to come out strong again this election, particularly if Sanders is the nominee (they are going to be much less threatened by Hillary) and I suspect Trump or Rubio (my two likeliest nominees) will get a ton of Super PAC support.
But I will say this–and I’ll continue repeating it until election day, running the executive branch day to day is a President’s job. Foreign policy is a huge part of his job, managing our military forces is a huge part of his job, converting your pie-in-the-sky policy ideas into hardboiled policy is a huge part of his job. I’m not saying pie-in-the-sky as a dig on Sanders–all Presidential candidates talk in terms of aspirational goals.
The difference between Obama and Clinton and Bernie Sanders is I think he buys into these goals 100%. When he released an economic policy paper showing frankly, Tea Partyesque style disregard for how policies can stimulate economic growth, and ludicrous GDP growth numbers it showed me that within his campaign Bernie doesn’t have people who argue with him about the details of his policies. He doesn’t have serious policy wonks who are willing to feed him doses of realism–and I’m not convinced Bernie is interested in listening. That’s important because it affects the type of staff he’s going to hire to translate vision into policies. If you look at the George W. Bush administration, there were a lot of those types of staff that weren’t interested in challenging certain ideas (in the W. Bush administration these ideas weren’t necessarily Bush’s, but rather his very top inner circle were the policy drivers and all the lower staff were yes men loyal to those guys.)
If we want to really dig into Hillary, yes, Hillary is corrupt. So was Bill Clinton, so was Richard Nixon, so was FDR–these were all good Presidents in their own way, and I think Hillary will be good as well. Being personally corrupt is a character flaw, but not necessarily a fatal one for a President (well, it was for Nixon, actually.) Being “incorrupt” also isn’t a guarantee of greatness, as we can see with Jimmy Carter.
Teddy Roosevelt was incorrupt but also deeply intelligent and adept, and he knew when to fight for his principles and when to make a deal.
Basically I’m promulgating a hard truth that some “light” corruption shouldn’t be seen as the end of the world, and I think most democracies have this for their politicians. I don’t buy into the American system uniquely producing the worst politicians, there are terrible politicians all over the world. I do have a long condemnation of the American system’s inability to force compromise, but that’s a different issue.
Plus, Hillary’s self interest as President will often coincide with doing things that are good for the country, just as Bill’s did. Just as Obama’s has, that is why Obama has taken money from industries he’s done things to that those industries probably didn’t like, for example.
I don’t think that Hillary’s foundation has actually been funneling money to her campaign under the table, and nor do I believe it’s a vehicle for her to be influenced by foreign governments. I actually find that whole line of thought very little different from all of the specious Republican claims about Benghazi. I think Hillary’s Presidency, management wise, will be a lot like George H.W. Bush, a man whose presidency has been reevaluated as being quite positive for his adept management and placement of good people in the right positions.