To explain why, we have to go back to Johnson and Kennedy, or LBJ and JFK. JFK was a phenomenal public speaker, and a highly progressive politician. Unfortunately, he lacked the political skill and experience to wrangle Congress. LBJ, on the other hand, knew how to convince Southern Democrats to vote for the Civil Rights Bill, ensuring it would pass, along with the Voting Rights Bill. Johnson was incendiary: not content with the extension of civil rights, he also reinvented education in America, and created subsidised healthcare.
Sanders will struggle to wrangle Congress, not least the Republican-controlled Senate
Johnson was arguably the most effective left-wing president of all time, and America needs a leader of similar views and influence now more than ever. The question that should be asked is can Sanders wrangle centrist and right-wing Democrats, not to mention the rest of Congress (not least the Republican-controlled Senate)? The evidence suggests not.
Another problem is that Sanders may appear broadly left-wing, but no politician in America is really left-wing. America needs the balm of socialism to wash away the horrors to which it is currently witness: class divide, race divide, massive environmental damage, lack of healthcare, and on and on. Johnson’s ideas at the time were totally revolutionary, but Sanders doesn’t go any further ideologically. The most left-wing candidate in decades still isn’t left-wing enough.
Sanders will be 79 at the next election. Can a man in his eighties really reinvent America?
Furthermore, when Johnson left office, he was 61, and already saw himself as too old for politics. Sanders will be 79 at the next election. How can a man in his eighties have the verve and vigour to reinvent the most powerful country in the world?
I really do hope Sanders wins, but I don’t think he’ll be the president America needs. America needs a new Johnson. Unfortunately, he’s dead.
Tom Leach's article in support of Sanders can be found here: thecourieronline.co.uk/would-bernie-sanders-be-a-good-president/