Bernie Sanders: So you're saying there's a chance?

Bernie Sanders: So you're saying there's a chance?
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaks at a campaign rally in Portland, Maine on July 6. (Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press)

In his column on Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders this week, The Times' Doyle McManus asked, "How far can Sanders go?"

Although he answered his own question ("A Sanders presidency? Sorry liberals. It's not going to happen"), a dozen Times readers cheerfully, pointedly and specifically begged to differ.

--Sara Lessley, letters to the editor department

Steve Binder in Oxnard, with an almost audible sigh, wrote:

I guess McManus stopped believing in Santa Claus at too early an age. I'm sure he doesn't remember the "miracle on ice," when a group of young American amateur hockey players defeated the Russians and win the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics. I'm sure he thought that Hillary Rodham Clinton was a slam dunk when a relatively unknown black man entered the 2008 presidential race. I think McManus doesn't realize how angry the American public is with both parties, and that people are looking for someone who tells it like it is and has a track record to prove it. Someone like Bernie Sanders.

Domenico Maceri in San Luis Obispo says the question is outdated:

Sanders has already gone far. He may not make it to the White House, but he has already made valuable contributions in shifting the campaign toward serious ideas. The media should pay serious attention to what he is saying instead of focusing their attention on the racist comments we hear from Donald Trump.

June Stephenson Bailey in Palm Desert pointedly observed:

I am a 95-year-old Democrat, feminist, author — and previous supporter of Hillary Clinton. I am today switching support to Sanders because he is more effectively telling what Republicans have done to our country, changing it from a democracy — government run by the people — to a plutocracy — government run by the people with the most money.

While I feel the discomfort of disloyalty to Clinton, I have weighed what I believe to be in the better interest of our country. Clinton has the support of the establishment, but Sanders is awakening the previously disenchanted nonvoters, and the first-time hopeful young voters, to the destructive force of inequality that holds 99% of us in wage stagnation.

And from Cincinnati, Paul Bloustein was cheerfully direct and conciliatory:

I am a septuagenarian and, not surprisingly, I like old codgers.

Sanders has real appeal, especially when compared to Clinton, America's lady-in-waiting. I appreciate his directness, his fealty to ideas even as they sting our hardened sensibilities.

The latest change in the political winds does not rumple the rumpled Vermont independent, and does not send him scurrying to seek a poll-tested alternative. I know what I get with Bernie.

And I know that while he will not be the candidate, he will expand the national conversation into areas long neglected, like income inequality. Good for him.