If you’ve been keeping updated on this year’s Democratic Primary race, you probably have noticed that the Democratic establishment is all in on Hillary Clinton. If you haven’t, you need not look farther than FiveThirtyEight’s Endorsement Primary. This endorsement tracker only accounts for endorsements from party officials. State Representatives give one point, Senators give five points, and Governors give ten points. Clinton is leading in party endorsements by an unprecedented margin. At the time this blog post was written, Clinton leads the “endorsement primary” with 455 points, compared to 2 points for Bernie Sanders and 1 point for Martin O’Malley. It’s not only endorsements, the DNC has seemingly done whatever it can to provide Clinton with the easiest possible path to the nomination, whether it be limiting debates, or restricting debate viewership by hosting debates on low-viewer nights such as this Saturday, the weekend before Christmas. Another example is a recent development; the DNC has temporarily suspended Sanders’ access to their voter database after a Sanders’ campaign staffer allegedly accessed Clinton’s voter data that was available due to a technical glitch by the data vendor. This is a big deal, because without access to the DNC voter database, the Sanders campaign has no way to know who to call or where to visit.
One could argue that these actions were done to deliberately damage the Sanders campaign. After all, the DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was one of Clinton’s national campaign co-chairs in 2008. I could talk about how the DNC is corrupt and ran by special interests just like the GOP. But, I won’t. Just keep in mind that Bernie Sanders is a threat to the status-quo of establishment politics. What I will do is try to explain how the actions of the DNC could end up backfiring on them, and gifting the presidential election to the GOP.
First of all, I believe establishment Democrats have made some serious miscalculations. They are banking on Clinton winning the General Election, but what makes them so confident? I’m sure they assume that the 1/3 of the Democratic Primary voter base that currently support Sanders will vote for Clinton in the GE. And this probably wasn’t a terrible assumption, until the DNC decided to alienate tons of Sanders’ supporters by using the cheap tactics that I mentioned earlier (along with many others). If that wasn’t enough, Hillary Clinton herself has upset many Bernie Sanders supporters by indirectly claiming that he is sexist. Keep in mind, Clinton does this while simultaneously holding Sanders to a very high standard when it comes to personal attacks. After all, she claimed Sanders’ questioning of her many donations from Wall Street corporations was “impugning her integrity“.
The difference between a Clinton and Sanders nomination is obvious: Clinton would likely bring most consistent/regular voters, along with high numbers among women and minorities. Sanders would likely get similar votes from regular Democratic General Election voters, and likely slightly less votes from women and minorities. However, Sanders is destroying Clinton when it comes to young voters. Now, you may be thinking “young voters, you mean all five of them?” While it is true that voter turnout among young voters has been historically low, one must consider why that is the case. Young people have become increasingly disillusioned with the federal government. After all, why bother voting when all the choices are bought and paid for? This is where Bernie Sanders comes in. Not only does he refuse to accept money from special interests, he has also voiced support for making college tuition and healthcare free for all by enforcing new taxes such as a “Wall Street speculation tax“. Imagine you are a deity and you could look at all possible outcomes and their probability for any situation. If you searched C:\Universe for “record breaking youth voter turnout”, I think Bernie Sanders would have just as much of a shot of being the focus of that hypothetical article as anybody.
It’s not hard to see the enthusiasm gap between the Clinton and Sanders campaigns. Sanders has had crowds as large as 28,000 people, while Clinton’s largest crowd was around 5,500 according to the same source. Sanders recently reached two million campaign contributions, faster than any candidate in history. This enthusiasm gap combined with disillusioned and apathetic voters could spell disaster for the Democrats in the event of a Clinton nomination. You might think “a shoelace could beat Donald Trump in the GE”. This is a popular sentiment, and going by General Election polls, seems true. However, polls also show that at least at the moment, Republican voters are much more engaged and eager to vote than Democratic voters. Also, General Election polls are historically inaccurate.
The DNC along with the mainstream media seem to be ignoring all this. It could be due to ignorance and lack of foresight, denial, or deliberate due to establishment fear of a Sanders presidency. Democrats will need all the enthusiasm they can find, and undermining Sanders’ campaign will definitely not help bring his enthusiastic base out to vote for Clinton in a GE, let alone for other Democrats down the ballot in local and state elections.
You probably hear a lot about how the GOP is imploding due to demographic shifts, which is true in a presidential election, at least. However, It’s possible that Bernie Sanders is the only one who can save the Democratic Party from a similar fate.