Bernie Sanders’ heart attack may have turned 2020 into 1968.
His campaign just sent out an e stating “Bernie is in good health and is in good spirits,” adding “The fact of the matter is he’s coming out of this healthier and stronger.”
God, I hope so. But questions about a candidate’s health can be fatal. Ten-term Congressman Walter Baring, D-Nev., kept his 1972 St. Mary’s hospitalization secret until somebody saw him in bed. The coverup substantially contributed to his primary loss to University of Nevada Regent James Bilbray.
One of Baring’s successors learned that lesson well. Barbara Vucanovich, R-Nev., announced she had recovered from breast cancer but was later secretly admitted to St. Mary’s shortly before election day. That time, the coverup worked and nobody leaked.
When Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated the night he won the 1968 California presidential primary, it changed the world. Suddenly, Richard Nixon’s path to the presidency was paved.
I’ve repeated at length the warnings of our great artists. NY Times columnist Charles Blow noted that President Trump has now risen to the level of folk hero. Blow told how his straight-laced, religious, teetotaling grandmother nevertheless always voted for Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, an affable rogue who won again even after serving prison time.
Last July 24, I wrote of “Doonesbury’s Art of War,” adding that Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist “Garry Trudeau has updated the ancient manual of guerrilla warfare.”
“In a tight race, who do you like?” one of his characters asked in the Sunday comics, “some doofus Democrat with ‘solutions for America’ or a feral POTUS fighting tooth and nail to stay out of prison?”
Ingenious military strategist Sun Tzu advised always leaving a defeated enemy a path for retreat. Those with nothing to lose are far more dangerous.
Or, as Trudeau put it, “Always bet on the cornered rat.” Even if he has an orange comb-over.
With folk hero Bernie fading, Elizabeth Warren stands to become exactly what Trudeau foreshadowed.
In Trump land, they hate anybody doing anything for anyone else and will vote against “solutions for America” even if it hurts them. Read and weep at author Monica Potts’ trip back home to backwater Arkansas in last Sunday’s Times.
“Everything the (Democratic) candidates proposed (in their latest debate) was ‘going to cost me money,’ “ crabbed a resident of (I’m not making this up) Clinton, Arkansas. Potts reported that Trump’s white, undereducated, backwater base opposes any public spending even if it helps the rural denizens themselves. Everything “costs too much,” she quoted one. Incidentally, that was exactly what Mrs. Vucanovich frequently said about government social programs.
“These voters will turn to Trump again and it won’t matter how many scandals he’s been tarnished by,” Potts concluded.
So deprived of a folk hero — Bernie is as close as the Donkeykongs have come — what to do.
The only way to beat a guy producing a 24/7 TV show is with better TV. The Dems are all running basically the same standard campaign against a mad king with a big, well-funded army. You can’t beat a TV folk hero with “solutions for America,” especially if much of Electoral College America doesn’t want them.
I’m running a better TV idea up a few flagpoles. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, I’ve invited Trump to a Oct. 19 extravaganza in Reno.
CUE THE DANCE BAND ON THE TITANIC. I just invited the president to the NAACP annual dinner at the Grand Sierra a week from Saturday. A GOP operative made the mistake of sending me his e-mail address. (I don’t Tweet so I can’t directly contact our feral POTUS.)
So earlier this week, I wrote to Eric Roberts (not the actor who’s Julia Roberts’ bro).
“Dear Mr. Roberts: I serve as first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. Our 74th Annual Freedom Fund Awards Banquet will take place at the Grand Sierra-Reno on Oct. 19 and we are inviting all presidential candidates. Mr. Trump will remember Reno’s largest hotel-casino. He flew over it many years ago and criticized the newly re-named Bally’s-Reno for having “cheap plastic signs.” (They only spent $500,000 in changing the signage from MGM Grand.)
“Please forward this to the White House. All candidates who attend will be allowed a few minutes to speak.
“We can’t comp anyone because it would constitute an illegal campaign contribution. Prices for Mr. Trump and his entourage are the same as for anyone else. See RenoSparksNAACP.org/
“Please let us know as soon as possible so that we may include Mr. Trump on our very crowded agenda.
“Thanks for your consideration.”
The NAACP knows how to throw a great party while remaining (bad pun alert!) non-partysan. Chutzpah means never having to say you’re sorry.
I’ve even notified Trump’s primary opponents (an endangered species). A few presidential candidates might even show up. Reservations and updates at RenoSparksNAACP.org/
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are strictly his own. and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org