Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bern-ing Down the House

The latest poll results our of New Hampshire are undoubtedly good news for Sanders and his supporters.  The Franklin-Pierce poll has him up 44-37 wih an MOE of 4.7.  I think this is also a good thing for liberals and the Democratic party in general.  Sanders' is an unabashed, outspoken liberal who embraces progressive policies and is forcing Clinton to the left.  He's also garnering huge crowds and forcing the media to cover his campaign and his message, helping to change the national dialogue in much the same way the Occupy Wall Street movement did.  But, don't get too excited, you hippie commie Sander-ites.  Outside a few states, not that many people are "Feeling the Bern".  The latest RCP polling average has Clinton +26 in Iowa, +56 in South Carolina and +35 nationally.

Turns out, Sanders does extremely well with white liberals.  And New Hampshire, Iowa and Vermont have LOTS of very white very liberals.  He does much worse with blacks, hispanics and moderates.  (  The Black Lives Matter protesters who've interrupted a couple of his campaign events are one sign of this.  Now, this can certainly change as Sanders builds momentum in these early states where he has a demographic advantage, increases name recognition, spreads his campaign message and works on improving his relationship with non-white voters and in particular activist groups.  He's already working on that and has hired a Symone Sanders, a black criminal justice advocate and supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement as press secretary.  A good first step, but one which need to be followed with a serious policy platform addressing racial justice issues.  However, in the end, I don't think Sanders can overcome Clinton's massive advantages in political connection, national organization, money, fame, etc etc.  And of course the prospect of being the first woman president is a huge historical event which surely will garner additional support from many voters.  So my prediction is Sanders wins New Hampshire, loses Iowa where Clinton's organization takes advantage of the caucus system (having learned some lessons from 2008), and then quickly thereafter dominates the rest of the race.  But for now, I'm happy to see Sanders exceeding expectations, even if I don't think he can win the nomination or (if he did) the presidency.

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