Suddenly, a moment of clarity:
People aren’t voting for Trump to be President–they’re choosing him as their avatar, who can do all the things they’d like to but can’t. So his qualifications or positions are just not relevant.
I suspect something similar is going on with Sanders and his fans: who wouldn’t want to be the the bold dreamer who can rise above mere politics to demand pure unadulterated justice (insert flaming sword here)?
And the persistent discontent with Hillary is, among other things, because she’s not an avatar: nobody wants to be that careful, nobody wants to be that flawed, nobody wants to be that real.
So the challenge for Hillary supporters (among whom I am proud to count myself) is to remind everyone that we’re selecting someone to do a difficult job, not to reflect back at us every fantasy we’ve ever had about ourselves. President Obama was the once-in-a-generation person who could do both; the last one before him was FDR. Usually it’s either/or: Kennedy inspired us, but we needed Johnson to get the Voting Rights Act passed.
Next time you hear about Hillary’s “negatives,” ask yourself whether she’s being measured on the right scale. She’s not Florence Nightingale or Lady Liberty or Sojourner Truth, but if we want someone who can actually do the work, she’s our man.