The Specter of a Military Draft Could Put Bernie in the White House
After the Nevada Caucus it appears Bernie might need to do something more than what he has been doing to win the Dem nomination. Team Hillary which includes a legion of Democratic insiders has shown a willingness to cross the lines of morality, propriety and the rules in order to win. This is problematic for those that want and need Bernie to win. Much to his credit, Sanders is unwilling compromise his integrity in order to gain voters. This is really a microcosm of why modern politics has with maddening consistency failed the betterment of society. The best of us will not lower themselves into the gutter if that is what is takes to win an election.
There is a possible answer to the riddle of how to give Bernie more leverage without resorting to below the belt tactics. Bernie can point out that the logical result of an aggressively hawkish foreign policy is a reinstatement of the military draft. A backdoor draft has already been in effect by keeping soldiers in the military long beyond their original enlistment contracts. After the Paris attacks, Hillary told the Council on Foreign Relations, “We should be honest about the fact that to be successful, air strikes will have to be combined with ground forces actually taking back more territory from ISIS.” She has since walked back those comments, for what that’s worth. A large coalition of ground troops is the primary military option not tried in combating ISIS. That is unless you consider nuking the Mideast an option. Presumably, ground forces will be tested at some point if all else fails. The big question is which countries troops will be on the ground. It sure seems unlikely a backdoor draft will be enough if American troops end up in Syria.
Something for minority voters to consider is that poor and working class citizens are the most likely to get drafted. Before young voters and their families finish compiling their “what I want in a candidate” shopping list, they need to ask themselves a new question. That is which candidate is the most likely to handle the Mideast so that a draft is not needed. One way to do it is to calculate the odds. Here are some numbers that seem to make sense. Trump 30-50% as there are many countries he seems to hate starting with China. Perhaps this is a high assessment but he is a vindictive compulsive egomaniac. Is it fair to suggest Trump and Putin might team up and help Putin grow his country south toward China instead of west? Just kidding. Moving onto Cruz and Rubio who like Trump can’t talk enough about kicking some butt in the Mideast. It appears they are in 10-30% range at least. This might be low for them. Hillary the Hawk who likes the idea of a no fly zone in Syria where Russian fighters might fly through, seems at minium 10-30% as well. Hillary, Cruz and Rubio all seem to be playing from the same neocon playbook and will probably all draw from a similar group of foreign policy advisors. Bernie looks to be in the .1-5% range. Given what is at stake, it would seem any young voter would want to hedge the bets in a big way by looking for a candidate with a 5% or less chance of re-instating the draft. On this issue when it could come to a matter of life or death, a candidate should be judged not on what they say. They should be judged on their positions over the course of time. Buyer beware Hillary supporters.
This is something that has the potential to be the type of magic bullet for Bernie that every campaign strategist dreams about delivering to his candidate. This potential issue could hang over the campaigns of every candidate like rain clouds with of course one exception. If Bernie and his campaign had the courage to make this play it could be a game changer. From a purely political perspective any possibility of a military draft becoming an issue in this race for president could be a bigger turnout factor for millennials and their family members than passing out cash on street corners to voters.
Bernie and his people are searching for a way to draw minority voters. If they have the courage to take the plunge on this, it feels like it would work. Hopefully, Bernie sees it as illuminating an undercurrent of foreign policy that no one wants to talk about. There does not seem to be a big downside to making this move. Playing this angle hard is not dishonest or misleading but it is hardball politics. Tad Devine the top consultant for Bernie is a guy who is more than willing to play some hardball in elections. This feels like something he might go for. Here is hoping our cranky Vermont Visionary throws this fastball early and often at HRC.
After writing the first draft for this piece, I did some research on the military draft and discovered that on 12/28/15 my fellow Huffington Post blogger, HA Goodman, posted an article about HRC and the draft. His article is a great takedown of her hardline foreign policy positions and how they could easily lead to bringing back the draft. HA has written a number quality articles about Bernie and is known for unequivocally stating that Bernie will be our next president. It is comforting to know we seem to be on the same wavelength.