What if the outsiders win?

150429103538-bernie-sanders-gallery-photo-5-super-169Bernie Sanders has a good chance of winning Iowa and an excellent chance in New Hampshire. That would put Hillary Clinton in a weaker position than she was at the same point in 2008. Her polling is also weaker than it was in eight years ago. Her opponent this time does not presently poll well with minorities, and that will cause problems for him in some of the succeeding states. That’s a very different situation from 2008, when Clinton was facing Barack Obama. Sanders will probably not triumph, but the prospect is one we have to take seriously. 

It is also hard – and getting harder – to dismiss the idea that Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination. He might not, but if he loses, the candidate best placed to defeat him is presently Ted Cruz, someone almost as clearly anti-establishment as The Donald. This could actually happen. The odds are still against it, but both parties could end up choosing semi-detached candidates – Sanders is not even a Democrat – committed to populist campaigns. 

Every major party nominee for the White House from 1988 to 2012 was committed to the consensus of economic growth through engagement in the world economy. Trump and Sanders don’t just reject that consensus; they want to drag it down the streets by the heels, tar it, and feather it. Unless you voted for Walter Mondale in 1984, you have never voted for a populist protectionist. (It is even longer since the Republicans nominated someone in that vein). 

If you believe in the approach of Reagan, Clinton, JFK, Bush, Obama, Eisenhower, or any president of recent decades or even any of the candidates they defeated – with the sole exception of Mondale – you wouldn’t have candidate in a Trump-Sanders race. Their protectionism is part of something much wider: a backward looking rejection of progress and the future. It is a determination that the economy must not change. People should be locked in the jobs of yesterday forever; because America’s best days are in the past, so change means getting worse. 

For those of us who do not look backwards, the choice between Trump and Sanders would be a very dark one. A choice between Cruz and Sanders might not be much better, and many people this columnist respects think it would be worse. But there might just be a better option.

Mike Bloomberg is richer than Donald Trump. He built his fortune himself. He did not inherit his father’s company and ruin half of its value. But Bloomberg’s experience straddles both private and public sectors. He served three terms as Mayor of New York. If the city were a state it would be twelfth largest, just ahead of Virginia. The metropolitan area it dominates has a population of almost 24 million, which would place it a close third behind Texas and ahead of Florida. The diversity and complexity of the city also reflects well on a man who, by common consent, was an effective manager of its government. 

Bloomberg is a fairly mainstream liberal. His positions on most issues are perfectly ordinary within the Democratic Party. In New York, however the fact that favors commerce and opposes crime makes him a centrist or even a Republican. Trump v Sanders would be a dire choice. Bloomberg is a very respectable alternative. 

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Quentin Langley is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Bedfordshire Business School as well as a freelance columnist published in the UK and all parts of the US. He blogs on social media and crisis communications at brandjacknews.com

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