There’s a website called Twitter, and I have an account in which you can follow me @TheJoekes
So today is a bit of an interesting day in what has been a mentally exhausting political campaign season that still really hasn’t begun in earnest yet. Upon her victory in Puerto Rico, Hillary Clinton has essentially clinched the Democratic nomination for President ahead of the last states left to vote. So with it being the last day in primary/caucus season, you would assume she was ready to go but there is a bit of reasoning why it’s not completely set in stone yet.
So a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters that I know are staunchly for the Vermont Senator and it makes sense. Regardless of your views on him and his platform, he does seem to be a genuine believer and his populist ideals and proposals make him attractive to a lot of voters. While the messaging is different, this is no different than previous candidates such as Ron Paul, Howard Dean, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, etc.
Young voters come out and support these candidates and like McGovern (who would win the nomination before getting trounced in the general by Richard Nixon), Bernie Sanders was incredibly competitive. The fact that a 74-year old Independent Senator with fairly low national name recognition did as well as he did is astounding. It’s not unprecedented, but its still pretty rare.
Now was that due to his ideals? Were they striking a chord with voters? Or was it due to the fact that he was essentially just scooping up the voters who did not like Hillary Clinton?
Nonetheless, Bernie Sanders has done an impressive job. Martin O’Malley looked like a real candidate but had nothing of note to talk about other than being “that other guy”. Jim Webb was far too right/moderate to have any legitimate shot at a nomination and no one knows why Lincoln Chafee ran including Linc himself. Poor fucking dude.
Now people should realize that Hillary Clinton is the “presumptive” nominee but that has not officially been named the nominee. Calling her, as of this moment, the final choice would be incorrect.
Hillary Clinton has earned the presumptive tag through a collection of won delegates (delegates that are bound to her on the first ballot) and a bevy of “superdelegates”. Superdelegates are a group of Democrats (Senators, Governors, Congresspeople, party officials, etc.) that can vote for whomever they damn well please. They can support anyone from Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley or a Jenner. However, their vote is not official until the party convention.
In the easiest way to explain, a superdelegate’s commitment is no different than a high school senior “verbally” committing to a university. They have made their intentions clear but its not 100% certain and they can back out at any time. Hillary has trounced Bernie in this regard. But, as most supporters will tell you, it’s not official and superdelegates can be convinced to flip their vote.
So Can Bernie Win?
Of course. He just needs to convince hundreds of superdelegates who committed to Hillary to switch their vote.
Now this is where it gets confusing and I have to mention something. How the fuck does he plan on doing that?
Bernie has received less votes than Hillary Clinton. If all states had open primaries, Hillary would still have more votes than him (even though it’d be reasonably tighter). Bernie’s best option was to have wide open caucuses, and there’s no way in hell that would ever happen.
But the key word is “electability”. Hillary is an unpopular candidate, at this point nowhere close to Trump in favorability, but there have been some polls showing them tight. Bernie on the other hand, trounces Trump’s in most general polls.
Now why is that? It’s pretty simple. Hillary has essentially been the leading 2016 presidential candidate since Obama was inaugurated in 2008. Not a single Democrat, sans maybe Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren, has been treated seriously as a competitor until Bernie blasted his way into the picture. Hillary Clinton has faced the most scrutiny, the most negative ads, the most publicity since that timeframe. Ever misstep, or every victory for that matter, has been highlighted.
Bernie Sanders on the other hand? Well, there’s no need to attack a guy who probably won’t win the election as has been mostly clear since March. His favorability numbers are high because frankly, he’s not in the news as much and the Republican machine has felt really no reason to attack him. Even the Clinton campaign and the DNC has been fairly accommodating to him. There’s been very few calls for Sanders to drop out by legitimate party officials. In fact, the most prominent one was by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley who said that if Bernie has no legitimate chance, he should drop out. Merkley is Sanders lone Senate endorsement.
In fact, PolitiFact cited that while Bernie and his supporters are correct in that he’s polling better against Trump than Clinton, there is a “but…..” to that. Attacking Sanders would be akin to say, Hillary attacking Kasich towards the end of his run. While Sanders was far more successful, the end result was still the same.
So What Can Bernie Do?
Well the first answer is drop the fuck out. I do think it would be counterproductive to do it tonight, after his supporters have worked their genitalia off in support of him, but the time for unity should come sometime within the week.
But let’s say he fights this and again, he still does have a “chance” (air quotes emphasized) how can he possibly convince superdelegates he’s most likely to be a better general election campaign?
His best bet probably would to try and push the “indictment” angle. However, that has a high rate of backfiring as I think insinuating that Hillary Clinton could be put in jail won’t go over too well. But it maybe could create doubt.
Overall electability will be tough. Barack Obama was harshly attacked for maybe being a Socialist because he said some generic bullshit to a guy who wasn’t actually a plumber. Now, how will a 75-year old career politician who embraces the socialist tag be accepted? The phrase “socialist”, according to a Gallup poll, is the most unpopular thing a presidential candidate can be called.
Bernie Sanders represents a small state with little electoral votes in Vermont. He can’t argue that he brings a swing state like Ohio or Florida to the table.
Bernie’s best support is amongst young voters, one that has been notoriously not reliable in terms of those who get out and vote. He can’t make the claim he received more votes than Clinton nor that he would have won if Independent voters.
It’s just hard to imagine a scenario where Bernie has a legitimate cause to call himself the nominee.