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Is Bernie Sanders a serious candidate in the contest to win the Democratic nomination for President? I do not mean to ask whether his policies are serious or whether he has the proper demeanor or necessary qualifications to hold the office. We know that his policies, which can be boiled down to a two-part platform of “Free Stuff for Everyone” and “Throw the Fatcats in Prison,” are fundamentally unserious. We know his demeanor is a little crazy but that he does meet the basic Constitutional requirements to hold the office of President.
But does Bernie Sanders want to win the Democratic nomination for President? That is the question we should be asking and which will be answered soon.
Earlier in the primaries, Sanders famously passed on the chance to go after Hillary Clinton on the illegal homebrew email server she used during her time as Secretary of State. Had Sanders, as Clinton’s only competitive opponent, made EmailGate a major campaign issue and hammered her on her lack of transparency, untrustworthiness with classified information, and an above-the-law attitude, he could have made a real play for the nomination. The fact that he demurred when he had the chance during a debate made some observers think perhaps he wasn’t really serious about beating her. Then again, maybe he was just uninformed and thus unable to mount a serious offensive on that issue at that time. There is really no way to tell for sure.
This week Sanders was gifted with another chance to take the fight to Hillary on what for him is a bread and butter issue: income inequality. On Monday the social media universe blew up with a story about Hillary Clinton giving a speech on income inequality while wearing a $12,495 Armani jacket. Will there ever be a better opportunity for him to hone his campaign message into a full-scale attack on Hillary Clinton’s unfitness for office? Doubtful.
I chuckled at the first meme I saw about this latest Clinton gaffe but didn’t give it any real thought at the time because the meme came from a rather clickbaity site. (If “clickbaity” isn’t an actual word, I hereby take credit for coining the term.) It just didn’t seem like it could be a real story. There were too many obvious questions right away to take it seriously. Would anyone other than a Hollywood celebrity wear a $12,495 jacket? Does such a thing even exist? Would Hillary Clinton’s army of campaign staff actually let her wear such a jacket to a speech on income inequality? The answers fired off in my head a resounding “no,” “no,” and “most definitely no.”
I moved on without giving it another thought until this morning when the memes and articles started popping up from a growing number of more reputable sources. Upon further investigation it appears that Clinton did in fact wear a $12,495 jacket while giving a campaign speech on income inequality. It is mind-blowing what this reveals about how bad she and her team are at campaign optics. Even Jimmy Carter, not an optics master by any means, had the good sense to wear a $175 off-the-rack suit to his inauguration and carry his own bags to create an “I’m just like you” image. This jacket gaffe tells us quite definitively that Hillary Clinton is absolutely not one of us and that she doesn’t even know how to pretend to be.
As a sidenote, I can’t let it go without saying that a press corps made up of more than just, as Instapundit would say, Democrats with bylines, would have a field day with this just as they did when they circulated the (false) story that President George H. W. Bush was so out of touch he didn’t know what a grocery store scanner was. A legitimately neutral press corps would make Hillary answer endless questions about this for at least the rest of the summer. But then, we don’t have a neutral press corps.
To put in perspective just how out of touch this incident demonstrates Clinton to be, consider a few basic things that cost about the same or less than her jacket. You can buy a brand-new basic model car for about the same price. Hey, at least you can finance the car for 60 months at historically low interest rates!
For infant childcare at a daycare facility, the average cost nationwide is $11,666 per year. That’s right, Clinton’s jacket cost more than what the average parents pay for a year’s worth of daycare for a baby.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the average low-cost monthly food budget for a family of four runs between $8,631.60 and $10,232.40 which is less than it would cost to eat Clinton’s jacket.
Now, back to the question. Does Bernie Sanders want to win the Democratic nomination? We will know the answer by how he handles JacketGate. If he chooses once again to demur, especially on a slam-dunk issue that’s smack in the middle of his wheelhouse, we will know he is not serious and that whatever his goal as a candidate may be, it is not to win the nomination. If he refuses to make this gaffe into Clinton’s version of Mitt Romney’s infamous 47 percent remark, he is fundamentally unserious. If he fails to seize the opportunity to use JacketGate to go for the jugular, we will know that Sanders’ candidacy is a sham and that he is a fraud and a traitor to his followers.
So, is he a fraud? We’ll know for certain very soon.