The Fix Is In

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HRCSTATESBORO, GA. – The Great Liberal Secret is that almost no one wants Hillary.

Just this past week I’ve had a myriad of conversations, most of them closed door, that’ve all been along the same lines, which is strange because usually in politics a narrative develops and spreads like a virus through the body politic, but hardly ever is the talk so stark and so similar. Not to mention early. We’re only in May of the Year Before and already we’ve found the prevalent narrative.

It goes like this:

Liberals want a woman elected president, but preferably not Hillary.

They want Elizabeth Warren, but she’s not going to run.

And if Hillary’s going to win they hope to god that Bernie Sanders will push her Left, but they’re not going to hold their breath in the meantime.

These are long days in the Democratic Party, particularly in an era where they look poised to win three consecutive terms in the White House. And, not to mention, those terms would be held by the first African-American and Female presidents.

These days seem so far removed from the era of Bush and Cheney and the indiscriminate bombing of everything that moved in the Middle East and the trouncing of every civil right the populace ever held dear. It’s like, somehow or another, we tiptoed across The Great Divide and found ourselves in an Alternate Dimension where Up is Down and Right is Left.

The Democrats, in spite of themselves, have emerged as the sole national party at the Federal level. So why are liberals so goddamn depressed?

***

Bernie SandersBernie Sanders (Independent–Vermont) announced this week his intention to run for President. Only, you know, not really.

It doesn’t take a politico to know that Bernie won’t win a single state and will be lucky, under current rules, to take more than a handful of electoral votes. When the Democratic National Convention rolls into Philadelphia next July it’s a very real possibility that Bernie won’t even find himself on the program, and if he is it’ll be in the four o’clock hour when only psychopaths and the insane are watching on C-SPAN 5.

His platform is a veritable wet dream of liberal causes and hopes, including a leveling of the playing field, real regulation of corporate influence and political contributions, and an actual Reckoning in regards to climate change. In the wildest fantasies of Dems, Bernie is the Real Deal, a soldier of progressivism who is more than ready to say The Things That Need Said. But no one in their right mind will give him so much as a cursory glance.

Bernie, a wild-haired and wild-eyed firebrand, isn’t afraid to tell the Truth. He’s taken every stand most politicians are shithouse terrified of and lived to tell the tale, simply because he represents Vermont, a state so crazy it has a law on the books against tying giraffes to telephone poles. It’s this security that allows him to stand tall and proclaim his beliefs from the mountaintop. To boot, he’s already raised over a million dollars in the twenty-four hours since announcing. There’s going to be a very real contingent of Liberals who support ol’ Bernie as a cause and they’re going to give money until they can’t anymore.

The question is, what’ll happen once the Democratic Party sees this and takes away his mountaintop?

As is, Bernie will probably be included in the first handful of Dem debates, but if he even so much as affects Hillary’s run he’ll get the hook and will no longer be invited. By then, if no one else has entered – and this mess in Baltimore has already severely wounded former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley’s chances – it’ll be Hillary hosting town hall meeting after town hall meeting as Bernie screams and sweats in the background.

Manny Pacquiao And Floyd Mayweather At Heat Bucks GameIt’s all disgusting and beleaguering business, so much so that most of America would rather shepherd back the brutal sport of boxing and watch a couple of ripped-up, over-the-hill welterweights wail on each other to the tune of a hundred bucks a buy.

I watched the Fight of the Century on Saturday night, even though I expected sentimental favorite Manny Pacquiao to drop in the sixth round by the villain and coward Floyd Mayweather, Jr., a criminal and spoil so disgusting that he’s gone around the bend and found himself an anti-hero to a murderous horde of bastards that’d be more than happy to bet against polar bears on ice shelves.

It’s a terrible burden to walk into a Sure Thing and have your heart set against the march of history. You watch the underdog enter the ring and see the weight he’s giving and how time drags him to the mat. You see the pomp and the circumstance, how the sharks in Vegas are lining up to take the starry-eyed public’s hard-earned money. Your gut and your balls tell you the right way to go and yet you can’t make yourself break from the pack.

There’s something to a narrative, after all. Something violent and preordained.

***

Hillary welcomed Bernie to the race in the most Twenty-First Century way possible. A tweet. And a tweet welcoming him like the owner of a home greeting visitors for a short and abbreviated stay.

Undoubtedly, she’s more than happy to have Bernie in the fold. His presence is an easily vanquishable one that does away with the unchallenged air the campaign was starting to wrestle with. If she had gone another two months without a challenger, the Draft Warren movement would’ve taken hold in earnest and we would’ve been looking at a two-woman race by October, if not September. That would’ve been an actual bout, much like the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight would’ve been a real Fight Of The Century if it would’ve been held five years ago and negotiations wouldn’t have broken down.

This run by Bernie, though earnest on his end, is an integral part of The Scheme. It gives Hillary cover to run toward the Center as Bernie spouts off the kind of socialist rhetoric that gets liberals fired up. Occasionally she’ll agree with a sound bite about the working class, about campaign finance reform, but the agreement won’t make the newspaper. Those quotes will be attributed to Sanders while Hillary will earn the watchers’ respect as a possible New Left Edition of HRC, a rebranding of sorts that’ll only last until she’s sewed up the nomination and is ready to run into the great wide prairie of The American Center, in which she’ll roam free until she takes the oath and finds herself free to govern Center-Right.

It’s a nightmare that most Democrats have already accepted. There’s no choice, after all. We’re going to get our first female president, and that in and of itself is a huge achievement that’s long overdue. They just don’t want Hillary. They want Warren or Anybody Else. They’re secretly tired of Bushes and Clintons and American Dynasties. It all reeks of Feudalism. It reeks of The Fix.

Bernie’s going to do his part. Like Pacquiao he’s going to get in the ring and give it his best shot. And that shot will probably sizzle and draw a few hopes in the hearts of those still willing to flights of fancy. But the Vegas sharks won’t move. They’ve earned their money by patience, by looking at the Big Picture. A round or two lost here and there never hurt anybody. All it ever did was increase the public money lines and lead the true-believers to throw down more of their coin.

It’s the narrative, after all. The Give and the Take.

You lose some and you win more.

There’s no doubt though, who’ll be standing when the final bell rings.

 

Illustration/Photo credits

Hillary Clinton caricature by DonkeyHotey

Bernie Sanders caricature (painting) by DonkeyHotey

Manny Pacquiao And Floyd Mayweather At Heat-Bucks Game by Dane Alegana




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About Author

A born and bred Hoosier, Jared Yates Sexton is the author of An End to All Things (2012, Atticus Books), The Hook and the Haymaker (2015, Split Lip Press), and Bring Me the Head of Yorkie Goodman (2015, New Pulp Press). He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia Southern University.

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