Thanks, Robin. You’ve really captured my concerns with populist candidates from any party. Firebrands are fine in Congress. In fact, I like to see them there. Having consistent voices pulling the debate back and forth ensures that real debate is taking place. But it’s the pragmatists and realists that actually govern. Bernie Sanders is a firebrand, not a leader.
Ideological purity is the worst thing we can require of a candidate. There’s absolutely no telling what the next president is going to have to deal with. Before 2000, national security was barely mentioned in presidential election cycles. In 2004, a major GOP plank was the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The debates we have during the election cycle don’t reflect the decisions that the president will be called on to make.
The only hope is to elect someone who will listen to experts and work with others to achieve steady long term success in major policy areas (trade, international relations, tax reform, healthcare, etc…) and react appropriately to the unknowns that will happen (terror attacks, national disasters, disease outbreaks).
I have zero faith that the two populist candidates in the race today could respond to crises. And without a steady hand at the helm, the government as a whole and the American public could make such situations worse. It’s incumbent upon us to stop running around like chickens with our heads cut off and screaming that the sky is falling. We’re not hiring a religious savior, we’re looking for a president. We need a calm reasoned approach to change. We need nuance and compromise. We need a long term plan and not short term squabbles that result in “us” winning against “them” but don’t make anyone’s life better. We don’t need Bernie Sanders as President.