Many at the Bernie or Bust rally [in Philadelphia yesterday] argued that one failed Trump administration would be better than giving Clinton the chance to control the Democratic Party for two terms. "Bernie is willing to fall on a grenade to stop Trump," Sparks said. "But I'd rather have four years of tyranny than eight."Dave Weigel in The Washington Post:
“I fear Hillary more than I fear Trump,” said John Deebus, 66, who attended one of the many alternative events for democratic socialists and left-out activists in Philadelphia. “If Trump wins, he’s in for four years. If Hillary wins, she’s in there for eight. That’s not how we stop the corporate parties.”Where did this idea come from? Why do some Bernie Sanders diehards thinks Donald Trump would inevitably be a one-term president, but Hillary Clinton would be rubber-stamped for a second term?
I haven't traced this meme back to its origin, though I found it five months ago in (of course!) a Sanders-oriented Reddit thread:
I think that four years of Trump being obstructed and leading to a Warren presidency in 2020 might very well be better than eight years of Hillary and a validation of Third Way Democrats strategy. Hell, Trump might even advance single payer healthcare.In the wilds of Reddit, I find a lot of confidence that Trump can be limited to one term:
There's only so much harm that Trump could even do, especially if we all vote down ticket dems. He's not king, and Russians/Putin love him. If he is truly horrible, we impeach or make him a 1 term president.Also:
The power of the American president has been limited because of the partisanship of the Congress and the Senate. Due to this there is a limit to how badly an American president particularly in one term can damage the country. I believe sincerely, and this is why I will support him over Hillary, that the country will be more fucked under the leadership of Hillary Clinton than it would be under the leadership of Donald Trump, regardless of the fact that her platform is more in line with mine as a liberal.In fact, Clinton is likely to have a hard time winning reelection. American voters chose a president of the same party three times in a row as recently as the 1980s (Reagan, Reagan, and Bush the Elder in '80, '84, and '88), but no party has won four elections in a row since the '30s and '40s, when FDR and Harry Truman won five straight. And remember that when Poppy Bush won the GOP's third straight victory in '88, he, like Hillary Clinton, was an older political veteran who was mistrusted by some in his party -- and then he lost reelection. If Clinton wins this year, she'll have to work hard to avoid Bush's fate in 1992.
Trump, on the other hand, reminds me of the Tea Party governors elected in Barack Obama's first term -- angry, polarizing, filled with self-importance and revolutionary fervor. A lot of those governors did a terrible job, but most, including some of the worst, got reelected -- Sam Brownback in Kansas, Rick Scott in Florida, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and the one who most resembles Trump, the knuckledragging Paul LePage in Maine. Republicans can always win reelection on the constant wave of anti-Democratic hate generated by the right-wing media. (When there was no Democratic president in the Bush years, the conservative press warned the heartland of the clear and present danger posed by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, not to mention Dan Rather and the Dixie Chicks. Update as necessary for the Trump years.) And this assumes that we'll have normal politics under a President Trump, and not genuine repression.
(And I know that Trump has hinted he might not even serve as president if elected, but I think he said that just to throw us off stride.)
So why do Berners think Trump would be out after a term and Clinton wouldn't? I suspect it's because, when they're not getting their news from Sandersite sources, they're picking up what they know about the government from the mainstream media. The mainstream press regularly tells us that the problems in Washington are the fault of two parties that are equally polarized and corrupt in exactly the same way. The Berners buy the notion that Trump is an outsider who'd incur the wrath of "the two-party duopoly." On the other hand, they seem to believe the political establishment, across the spectrum, would welcome Clinton with open arms and make life easy for her, because she's one of them.
It would be funny if it weren't so naive.