Thursday, April 7, 2016
The Home Stretch
While the media focuses on Trump, Bernie Sanders has not-so-silently crept up on Hillary turning New York into a must win for her if she plans to seal the nomination before the July convention. She continues to hold a comfortable lead in the polls, but Bernie has seized the momentum, winning six of the last seven states, and showing that his support extends well beyond affluent young whites.
Mockingly, many persons of color have adopted #berniemademewhite after he won caucuses in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii, which have substantial minority populations. Bernie's message has been resonating throughout the Democratic electorate, especially in the wake of the Panama Papers that reinforced the image of a kleptocracy funneling money out of America into offshore accounts, when many Americans struggle to get by on menial salaries.
While it would take a Herculean effort on the part of Sanders to overcome Hillary's huge superdelegate advantage, he can shake up the convention if he were to seize more states than Hillary. New York might be a bit of a stretch, but looking at the most recent polls Pennsylvania and California could very much come into play, where Bernie's message is sure to strike a chord.
Bernie also fairs better against Republican counterparts than does Hillary, suggesting that he has greater crossover appeal. This is odd for a man who calls himself a Social Democrat. Even more odd is how he has been able to seize the imagination of Millennials when he is old enough to be their grandfather. But, looking at Bernie on the campaign trail you see a man energized by his supporters, whereas Hillary appears to struggle to find the words at each campaign stop to keep her audience's attention.
It's not like Hillary is a bad candidate, but in this either/or situation she has come to represent all things in moderation, whereas Bernie has come to represent all things progressive. He goes out of his way to reinforce that image on the campaign trail, much to Hillary's chagrin, who views herself as a progressive as well, albeit a Realist Democrat, for lack of a better term. She's content to hold onto the gains we have made the past eight years, especially in regard to health care and marriage equality, whereas Bernie sees these gains as the stepping stones for something bigger, much bigger, a "revolution" as he likes to call it.
Despite all the incendiary talk on the campaign trail, the American public seems to prefer a milquetoast candidate like John Kasich, according to Quinnipac. Makes you wonder why Martin O'Malley didn't stay in the race. Fortunately for Hillary or Bernie, neither one is likely to meet Kasich in the general election, but it says a lot about the nature of our country that sees Kasich as a moderate voice, despite his record to the contrary. Hillary is smart to sense that. not wanting a repeat of the 1972 Democratic Convention that resulted in a landslide victory for the Republicans. No one likes to hear it, but the mantra of this country is "Go slow, Go slow."
Bernie has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, drawing attention to the minimum wage, universal health care and making this country more accountable as to where its tax dollars go. But, the kind of radicalized America he imagines doesn't exist. One has to be careful in projecting the will of a handful of states onto the national electorate. Most persons are content with the status quo, with a few tweaks here and there. This is what you get with Hillary, and barring a major upset in New York, she will be the Democratic nominee.
That doesn't mean Bernie should drop out. He should carry his campaign all the way to the convention. But, his supporters have to realize that the hard earned gains we made on the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality, as well as many other important policy issues, are worth keeping and you don't want to see a Republican president undo them his first day in office, as they have all promised they would do.