Updated below (on Friday, May 27, 2016)
Associated Press photo
Progressive presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane appear at a rally in Los Angeles in March. Sanders is within striking distance of Billary Clinton in the latest poll of California, and plans to debate Donald Trump before California votes in its presidential primary election on June 7. (Billary cravenly reneged on her previous agreement to debate Bernie one last time this month, so this is her karmic return.)
The latest polling of California by the Public Policy Institute of California – the California polling outfit that I trust the most – has Billary Clinton at only 2 percent ahead of Bernie Sanders, 46 percent to 44 percent.
In March, Billary had been beating Bernie in California 48 percent to 41 percent in PPIC’s polling; the momentum in the nation’s most populous state is Bernie’s.
Bernie’s massive rallies and TV ads in the state appear to have been helping him. (Billary, by contrast, has been having expensive, exclusive fundraisers at rich people’s homes instead of rallies, and has been using her husband as her surrogate, and, to my knowledge, has yet to air any TV ads here in California.)
I stand by my recent prediction that Bernie will win California, although probably within single digits. I had predicted that he’d win by low single digits, but now I can see him winning by high single digits or perhaps even low double digits. We’ll see.
Don’t get me wrong – I still expect Billary to drag her tired, center-right/Democrat-in-name-only, 1990s-era carcass into the July Democratic Party convention with more pledged delegates than Bernie, but her losing the most populous blue state so close to the convention sure would help Bernie’s argument that he’s the stronger candidate to face off with Donald Trump.
Continuing along the lines of that note, while Billary has reneged on her promise to participate in a tenth and final debate with Bernie this month, it looks like Bernie and The Donald are going to have a debate before the June 7 California presidential primary election – which is a wonderful upstaging of the suddenly-now-debate-shy Billary.
True, it’s unusual for a candidate who has yet to sew up his or her party’s presidential nomination to debate the opposing party’s presumptive presidential nominee, but what has been normal about this presidential election cycle?
Regardless of its level of orthodoxy (which is quite low), I love the symbolism, the visuals, of an imminent Sanders-Trump debate: Billary is “too busy” to debate Bernie a final time before the June 7 California primary, but/so Bernie is going to debate Trump.
The political optics will be of Bernie already taking on Trump even before the Democratic Party primary convention. Sweet.
Only if Bernie does horribly in the debate with Trump could it harm him politically, but I don’t expect him to do horribly.
Of course, it strikes me that there still is time for the Democratic National Committee to try to quash the Sanders-Trump debate – because it’s brilliantly unorthodox and because it circumvents the DNC’s (that is, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s) iron fist – and if they (well, if she) can try, she probably will try.
After all, the “Democratic” National Committee isn’t about democracy; it’s about installing Billary Clinton in the White House.
And under a President Sanders, that would change in short order, starting with his promise to fire the corrupt Billarybot Debbie Wasserman Schultz as head of the DNC and to return the Democratic Party to its progressive roots.
Update (Friday, May 27, 2016): Reuters, in a two-paragraph news item, reports today that Trump has pulled out of a debate with Bernie. Reuters reports (in full):
Washington — U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said [today] he would not debate Democrat Bernie Sanders ahead of California’s June 7 primary.
“Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged … it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second-place finisher,” Trump said in a statement.
That’s a bullshit reason, and because of the poor wording I’m not even certain what the hell it means — my impression is that Trump just chickened out and that, just like Billary did, he reneged on a promise to debate Bernie — but I guess it’s nice to see Trump point out, as he has before, that “the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged.” Because it is. It has been tilted in Billary’s favor from Day One.
P.S. Per McClatchy News, here is Trump’s statement in its entirety:
Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second-place finisher.
Likewise, the networks want to make a killing on these events and are not proving to be too generous to charitable causes, in this case, women’s health issues. Therefore, as much as I want to debate Bernie Sanders — and it would be an easy payday — I will wait to debate the first-place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.
That’s a fuller statement, but I still call chicken shit on Trump. He did not give a good reason to back out, and apparently his word is as good as is “Crooked Hillary’s.”