There’s a scene in The Office where the boss assigns a major account to the worst salesman to try to boost his confidence, and the salesman manages to lose the account within a few minutes. Even the salesman, who knows he’s terrible at his job, seems stunned at how quickly he managed to blow it. That’s the feeling I got when watching Bernie Sanders make his (alleged) frontrunner debut on Sunday night on 60 Minutes, when he immediately managed to lose Florida.
Back in the 1980s, Bernie Sanders said some positive things about Fidel Castro. Hey, we’ve all said things we’ve come to regret years later, right? The important part is to get it correct now, and show that you’ve evolved in the right direction. But Bernie is apparently incapable of that. When he was asked on 60 Minutes about his old Castro remarks, he largely doubled down on them by praising aspects of what Castro did.
Uh, does Bernie not understand how anything works? He can’t talk like this, both because it’s morally inappropriate to praise aspects of a murderous authoritarian regime, and because it’s political suicide. Cuban-Americans in Florida will not stand for this. Cuban-Americans tend to vote a bit differently than other Hispanic groups, due to the high prevalence of Catholicism among Cuban-Americans, and the resulting anti-abortion sentiment. But while Democrats don’t generally win the Cuban-American vote, they don’t get wiped out either. Hillary Clinton got 41% of the Cuban-American vote in 2016. With Bernie’s remarks about Castro, he’ll be lucky if he gets 10% or 20 of the Cuban-American vote. That’s the difference between narrowly winning Florida and narrowly losing it.
You have to wonder if Bernie Sanders, who routinely demonstrates a simplistic view of things, and an inexplicable desire to surround himself with the most incompetent advisers he can find, is even aware of any of the above. Does he know that he just hurt his chances in Florida in the primary race? Does he know that if he ends up being the nominee, he just lost Florida to Donald Trump? How is a Democrat supposed to win the Electoral College without Florida? Bernie can’t be the nominee now. It’s time for his supporters to shift their support to one of the actual Democrats, who can actually beat Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report