Bernie Sanders Is Slightly Ahead But Only A Fool Would Bet Against Hillary Clinton

You don’t dare mention Bernie Sanders on social media, unless you’ve the time and inclination to be pounded and pilloried. That, of course, is assuming you dare to predict that Bernie won’t win, or worse, Bernie doesn’t stand a chance of beating Hillary. No amount of researched evidence, or just good old fashioned political prognostication will sway the dedicated Sanders voter. Unfortunately, the temptation to write about the last hurrah of Bernie Sanders is often overwhelming as is the case with Michael Cohen of The Guardian, who penned the following brilliant piece.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is greeted by supporters as he arrives at a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa, on 14 June 2015. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is greeted by supporters as he arrives at a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa, on 14 June 2015. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

To every presidential campaign there is a cycle. There are high points and low points; there are victories and setbacks and perhaps, above all, there is hand-wringing. It is the latter cycle in which Democrats find themselves. Since the 2016 presidential race began, Hillary Clinton has been the assumed Democratic frontrunner, with no apparent political rival to stop her from, this time, grabbing the brass ring. Then along came Senator Bernie Sanders to challenge Clinton from the left.

Before you knew it, Sanders, a 73-year-old socialist from Vermont with a thick Brooklyn accent and a populist, anti-Wall Street and 1% message, was shaking Democrats out of their pro-Clinton slumber. Crowds of more than 20,000 people filled arenas in Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle. Democratic partisans turned out in conservative locales such as New Orleans and Dallas to hear Sanders decry the 1% and pledge radical political change.

Suddenly, the poll numbers began to move. Clinton’s lead in Iowa and New Hampshire (the first two states to cast votes in the presidential race) began to falter and in one New Hampshire poll, Sanders actually is leading. Meanwhile, Clinton’s favourabilities are steadily declining, even among white women, who would seemingly be one of her strongest constituencies. Allegations related to her private email account and a potential federal investigation sent Democratic blood pressure rising.

Wobble: Clinton meets voters in New Hampshire, where her lead has diminished. Photograph: Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Wobble: Clinton meets voters in New Hampshire, where her lead has diminished. Photograph: Robert F. Bukaty/AP

“Democrats are nearing full-on panic mode,” reported the congressional newspaper, the Hill, over the latest news that seems likely to plague Clinton’s campaign for the foreseeable future. Talk even began of vice-president Joe Biden jumping in the race, even though he has raised no money, has no staff and is polling well behind Clinton. There is, however, only one appropriate reaction to this: meh.

Sanders is only very slightly more likely to be the Democratic standard-bearer than I am. If Biden, who has run two dreadful presidential campaigns (in 1988 and 2008) announces his candidacy he is almost certainly going to be defeated – and embarrassingly so. There is no other Democratic white knight on the horizon (though talk last week began of a possible Al Gore candidacy). Barring some unforeseen event – or perhaps an act of God – Clinton will almost certainly be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

The reasons for her dominance are not difficult to figure out. She has raised the most money, she’s secured the most endorsements and quite simply there’s no one else in the party who comes close to rivalling her backing within the party. Her favourability rating among Democrats is well above 80% and she continues to lead Sanders in national polls of party members by 30-plus points.

The key to that support is, perhaps, the most important single constituency within the Democratic party – minority voters. In 2008, African Americans were the key to President Obama’s success in his hard-fought primary win against Clinton. Eight years later, those same voters are solidly in her camp – and neither Sanders, nor Biden, nor any of the other potential challengers for the nomination comes close. Clinton also enjoys a marked advantage among Hispanic voters and among Democratic women.

Sanders support can be found primarily among white men and, in particular, the denizens of dark-blue liberal enclaves. The combination of Clinton’s rainbow coalition and Sanders’s more lilywhite liberal supporters also explains his current strong performance in New Hampshire and Iowa, two states not exactly known for their racial diversity. Even in the unlikely chance that Sanders were to prevail in both places, once the Democratic race moves to Nevada, home to a large number of Hispanic voters, and South Carolina, where the Democratic electorate is strongly African American, he will find himself on less hospitable political turf. Quite simply, unless Sanders can make serious inroads among African Americans and Hispanic voters it is nearly impossible to imagine how he could assemble the kind of political coalition necessary to beat Clinton.

Read more about Bernie Sanders’ election chances.

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Posted by on August 16, 2015. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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12 Responses to Bernie Sanders Is Slightly Ahead But Only A Fool Would Bet Against Hillary Clinton

  1. Relap Mingret Reply

    August 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Your Bern has no chance of all. The woman first lady wins. Money is bet already.

  2. Peter Everts Reply

    August 16, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Yup, and Dewey beat Truman.

  3. Mike Reply

    August 16, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    The Hill doesn’t have a chance. This was choreographed by the Right years ago. Bernie has less of a chance, so, unless Biden gets in the race it’s over. Republicans win.

  4. Mike Reply

    August 17, 2015 at 9:15 am

    I still think that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren is a winning ticket for ALL AMERICANS.

  5. Ernest Wertheim Reply

    August 18, 2015 at 8:31 am

    You can support Hillary the Carpetbagger until the cows come home, but if she’s the Democratic candidate there’s nothing that will get me to vote for her. Never liked her, never will. And please, no wailing, “But what about the Supreme Court?” You should have thought of that before making her the candidate.

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      August 18, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      That’s rather silly isn’t it Ernest? So, you are one of those democrats who would rather the White House go to a Republican than cast a vote for Clinton. This is a case of democrats eating their young.

      • Ernest Wertheim Reply

        August 18, 2015 at 5:58 pm

        The silly ones are the Democrats. The lesser of two evils is still evil. If she’s what the Democrats are offering me then they aren’t getting my vote. Sorry.

        • Michael John Scott Reply

          August 18, 2015 at 5:59 pm

          No need to apologize. Who to vote for and not to vote for is your decision. I just disagree with it 🙂

          • Ernest Wertheim Reply

            August 18, 2015 at 6:02 pm

            I understand. Thanks.

  6. Berto Reply

    August 19, 2015 at 1:10 am

    If election coverage is going to be about horse races (and not issues), I’m voting for American Pharoah.

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