Committed Democrats and liberal-leaning interest groups are facing a reality in which any policy gains they achieve are going to come through the profligate use of executive authority, and Clinton is almost uniquely suited to deliver the goods. More than almost anyone else around, she knows where the levers of power lie, and she is comfortable pulling them, procedural niceties be damned.Yglesias then reviews the history of the Obama administration, in which the president kept trying to make bargains with Republicans and failing. Obama eventually stopped trying to be a non-partisan good guy and started issuing executive actions and daring Republicans to stop him. Yglesias thinks, and I agree, that he was driven to this by years of frustration and that it went against his instincts.
Clinton, by contrast, has long been reconciled to her status as a polarizing figure and made a point in 2008 of specifically mocking Obama's aspiration to transcend partisanship.I agree with this completely. If Bernie Sanders by some miracle became president, he would propose a big liberal agenda of national health care and big tax increases and so on. Republican would laugh and refuse even to vote on any of it.
"Let's just get everybody together, let's get unified, the sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will sing, and everyone will know we should do the right thing and everything will be perfect," she intoned ironically at a Rhode Island rally. "Maybe I've just lived a little long, but I have no illusion about how difficult this is going to be."
In this regard she is more of an outlier than might be initially obvious. There is essentially no greater temptation in politics than to believe that you are a unique figure who can personally overcome structural obstacles. Bernie Sanders, for example, appears to genuinely believe that his election would usher in a "political revolution" that sweeps away special interest opposition to his policies. [Donald Trump has similar fantasies about his deal-making prowess - jcb]
Clinton's much more realistic assessment likely stems in part from the fact that her husband served eight years in the White House, meaning she would start the job with much more of a veteran's mentality even in her first 100 days. Her view is that the bad guys don't play fair and square, and there's no reason the good guys should unilaterally disarm.
Then what? Sanders has never offered any sort of fall-back plan, and his whole view of the world seems too fantastic for him to get into a knife fight for liberal causes like Hillary will. Sanders might hold the line against invading and bombing people, which would be good, but I doubt he would accomplish anything else.