I sincerely extend my best wishes to Bernie Sanders for a speedy recover from his heart attack and stent operation. The operation is not all that serious – although underlying causes can be. The only delay in getting back to full activity is waiting for the incision into the artery near the groin to heal. These days it does not qualify as major surgery. It can often be done as an outpatient procedure.
How do I know that? I have more than a half dozen of those little devices in my body. Anymore and they will send me to the metal scrapyard when I die.
The fact that Sanders suffered a “mild heart attack” makes a difference. Such heart attacks are not a grim foreboding of a limited future. Many people – me included – had had them. So, from what we know, Sanders should be okay. But this medical emergency is have an effect.
The outlook for his political future is not so optimistic. For months, he and Elizabeth Warren had been running neck-and-neck for the leadership of the progressive Democrats – which currently make up a majority in the party. Once that happened, I have long predicted that the Biden lead would vanish. And so, it has.
Sanders has been slipping for several weeks (not referring to his fall in the shower that required a few stitches). For the far left, the choice will be which of these two candidates – Warren or Sanders – has the best chance to beat Trump. The momentum is moving in Warren’s direction.
She appears to have three advantages over Sanders. She is a woman. That appeals to the progressives. As much as they love the old curmudgeon, he is still an old white male – a political breed as unpopular with those on the left as the billionaires Sanders attacks so much.
The second advantage Warren has is that, despite the fact that she and Sanders are identical twins in terms of the issues, her I-have-a-plan-for-everything has been far more effective as a campaign pitch than Sanders’ I-hate-billionaires drone.
The third advantage is age and energy. For sure, Warren – at the age of 70 — is not a spring chicken. But she performs on stage – and off – like the Energizer Bunny. It seems to be a presidential campaign affectation since she has been more sedate in her senate campaigns. It is her way of drawing a comparison to the two old men she hopes to defeat – Sanders and Biden.
Both Sanders and Biden would hit their 80s in the first term. Warren would never hit 80 during a two-term tenure. In fact, Warren would be about the same age as Sanders is today AFTER serving two terms in office.
Though not life threatening, Sanders stent operation shows that he has Coronary Heart Disease. Most old folks do. He is a reminder that the odds against being alive, healthy and – most importantly –functional for the next nine years is not very good. Very few people survive their 80s – and even fewer retain physical and mental facility sufficient to maintain an active lifestyle.
Most people understand that – and that is why Sanders’ stent operation is likely to cost him votes and continue his downward slide. Warren is likely to pick up those votes and use them to overcome Biden’s current lead.
It is not a matter of how they perform today, but how they are likely to perform in the future. Former President Jimmy Carter put it bluntly – declaring that 80 is too damn old to be President. Sanders’ operation is a warning flag – and it points the issue in Biden’s direction as well. With more than a year to go until the 2020 General Election, I would not be surprised to see another one or two “health scares” for Sanders or Biden.
So, there ‘tis.