It's no coincidence that Bernie Sanders' campaign slogan is "A future to believe in." With Hillary Clinton, millennials and younger voters know that she offers nothing new or bold, and that's why they are gravitating towards Bernie Sanders. Clinton and Trump are both struggling with this particular demographic. Bernie Sanders has more votes among people under 30 than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined.
Add to that, the biggest group of voters politicians will have to woo this November are the ones who often don't even have a say in which candidate makes it to the general election during the primary season — those pesky Independents.
According to Gallop, 42 percent of voters now identify themselves as Independent rather than affiliated with one of the two major political parties. Self-identified Democrats accounted for 29 percent of the electorate, and Republicans only 26 percent. And Bernie Sanders fares better than Clinton with Independents, and most polls show Sanders beating Trump by wider margins than Clinton (Sanders at 50.8% vs. Trump at 40.8% and Clinton at 47.3% vs. Trump at 41.0%)
Dominica Convertino has an excellent post explaining why Clinton isn't entitled to Bernie Sanders' supporters, one reason being, they aren't from the old school of Democrats. But yet, so far, the establishment politicians (aka the super-deleagtes) are mostly lined up like sheeple behind Hillary Clinton — even though a Wall Street Journal polls shows 33% of Sanders' supports would not vote for Clinton if she became the Democratic nominee. Establishment Democrats like Howard Dean (who is a superdelegate) have been stubbornly throwing their support against the popular vote, even if it means risk losing the White House to the Republicans.
The old guard politicians in both political parties (who have had decades to fix the problems we currently have, but have actually helped exasperate the situation) are now trying to deny young people the change that they desperately want — "A future to believe in".
And with Hillary Clinton, even establishment Republicans are saying that with her, it would be "business as usual".
March 21, 2016 (Excerpts from The Great Divide by Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker) "Clinton, Sanders, and the future of the Democratic Party."
Lately, Hillary has sounded less like a Clinton Democrat and more like a Sanders Democrat. Since the campaign began, she has modernized her positions on trade, the economy, and criminal-justice reform. She only came out in support of same-sex marriage in 2013.
A few days before the primary in Michigan, where her husband’s free-trade agenda is highly unpopular, Clinton gave a major economic speech, in which she asked, “How do we raise incomes and create the good jobs of the future?” She then said, “I don’t think we can answer that question by re-fighting battles from twenty years ago.” She blamed some problems in the economy on “Wall Street and some of our corporations,” and noted that the purpose of banks “is not to create huge riches for a select few at the expense of everyone else.
Sanders doesn’t buy the transformation. “It doesn’t matter what her policies are. What matters is whether or not, if she is elected President—and we’re in this to win—if she’s going to stand up and fight. And I think there are many people who will tell you, look, that will not be the case. Look, anybody can give any speech they want tomorrow—somebody writes you a great speech—but the day after you’re elected you say, ‘Well, you know, I talked to my Republican colleagues and they think this is not acceptable. The question is not what she says. The question is what her record has been and what she will do if she is elected President.”
The next generation of voters clearly favors Bernie Sanders. His biggest victory among this group, in his home state of Vermont, was ninety-five per cent to five per cent. Millennials supported Sanders even in Arkansas, where Clinton was First Lady.
[Before Clinton], Obama occasionally moved to "the left". In December of 2011, in a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, after the President had given up on the budget deal and was starting to focus on his reelection message, he talked about income inequality, referring to the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Era agenda, known as the New Nationalism. “Roosevelt was called a radical,” Obama said. “He was called a socialist, even a communist.” Obama attacked the “big banks” and the “billionaires” who “have a tax rate as low as one per cent.” In his 2012 campaign against Mitt Romney, he continued to strike those populist notes. But it was never a good fit.
Populists began to focus on Elizabeth Warren, an academic with expertise in bankruptcy law, whose ideas about reforming Wall Street earned the admiration of the White House and the enmity of Republicans. After the G.O.P. blocked her bid to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Obama’s first Administration, she launched her Senate campaign, which was built around the issues of inequality and reining in the financial-services industry. In 2015, liberal groups tried to draft her into running for President against Clinton. She declined, but continued to press her agenda. Last year, she called on the Democratic Presidential candidates to support a bill that would make it illegal for Wall Street firms to award golden parachutes to employees who leave to work for the federal government. Sanders expressed support for the legislation almost immediately; Hillary Clinton hesitated for weeks. The bill could affect any Clinton advisers who now work on Wall Street if they were to join a future Clinton Administration; Warren had in mind precisely this scenario. In late August, she met privately with Vice-President Joe Biden, as he considered entering the race. Reports of the meeting set off speculation about whether Warren might ultimately become Biden’s running mate. Days later, Clinton wrote an op-ed endorsing Warren’s bill.
When Warren decided not to run for President, the Sanders campaign then became the populists’ rallying point. As the campaign has progressed, Sanders’s pitch has been aimed more explicitly at young voters. At many of his rallies, he pauses during his speech and asks attendees about their level of student debt. Like an auctioneer, he gestures around the room and echoes the numbers that his supporters call out, declaring as the winner the person with the most debt. The millennials who turned out for Sanders in Iowa were almost enough for him to tie Clinton there. In New Hampshire, which allows independents to vote, the victory was overwhelming.
In 2010 and 2014, the Democrats suffered major losses in Congress and at the state level, including many of the Party’s more moderate and centrist members. With Sanders winning young voters overwhelmingly, his campaign may eventually be seen as an incubator for the Party’s future politicians.
To prevail in the coming general election, the Democratic nominee will most likely need to meet or exceed the level of support that Obama had among nonwhites. When Sanders was asked about his lack of appeal to African-Americans, he pointed to his relative strength among younger nonwhite voters. “It’s not so much a racial divide but a generational divide.”
[Editor's note: To date, it's been mostly Black voters in Southern States that has slowed Bernie Sanders' momentum up until March 15 — but his most favorable States still lie ahead in the upcoming elections. Outside of the South, many young African-American voters (as they get to know Bernie better) are gradually swinging towards Bernie — the exception being, those such as sisters Diamond and Silk, who support Donald Trump and are adamantly opposed to Hillary and Bill Clinton — and for many good reasons. As for States that Bernie has lost so far — to date, other than virtual ties in Iowa and Missouri — and Nevada, which was fixed — Massachusetts (which was close, thanks in part to Bill Clinton and a lack of a Warren endorsement) and Ohio were the only real disappointments thus far. Even the Clintons were surprised they had won Ohio. (Read: The Suspect Massachusetts 2016 Primary: "The computerized vote count declared candidate Clinton the winner — but the exit polls indicated candidate Sanders to be the winner by a margin of 6.6%). Of course, we'll know more going forward from here. We'll have to monitor all the election results and polls very carefully for any of Clinton's dirty tricks. Here are the Democratic primary election results so far.]
By staying in the race to the very end, Bernie Sanders will continue to force Hillary to respond to the anger and the frustrations in the electorate. He will serve as a useful test if she runs against Trump, who might appeal to many white Democrats who are struggling economically. Sanders’s ongoing presence in the race will also give Clinton little time to relax. She likely won’t secure the required two thousand and twenty-six delegates until early June. Delegates are awarded proportionally in the Democratic primaries, so Sanders, who hits forty per cent in most national polls when pitted against Clinton, can win many delegates even while losing states. He lost Massachusetts by less than two points, and received forty-five delegates to Clinton’s forty-six. Clinton will be left in candidate purgatory: confident that she will be the nominee but still regularly losing to Sanders, who could arrive at the Convention, in late July, with a large bloc of the total delegates.
In past primaries, when the Democratic race narrowed to two candidates, the expected loser was often forced to quit because his campaign ran out of funds. Sanders does not have that problem. “The small donors can keep fuelling his campaign,” Joe Trippi, who ran Dean’s campaign, said. “Now you either have a super PAC or a small-donor base, and if you have one of those things you can keep going. So is he going all the way to the Convention? Yeah, if he wants to.”
There are two reasons for Sanders to soldier on. One is to exact concessions, as Elizabeth Warren was able to do on legislation restricting Wall Street employees. Sanders’s presence has required Clinton to adopt more populist economic policies, and the influence could go further. “She’s basically a conservative person, except on issues of gender and inclusiveness,” says Gary Hart, who, with his insurgent primary campaign in 1984, almost beat former Vice-President Walter Mondale. “Her natural instinct is not to play the economic-class card, and that is Sanders’s whole campaign. He has forced her to be tougher on big money than her natural inclination.”
Most notably, Clinton abandoned her support for the free-trade initiative known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP], which she negotiated as Secretary of State and once described as the “gold standard” of trade agreements. The longer Sanders pressures Clinton on the issue, the more difficult it will be for her to flip back again. “Bill Clinton went from being semi-trade to being pro-trade,” former Rep. Barney Frank said. “He could not have easily slipped back to being anti-trade. Hillary Clinton went from being somewhat pro-trade to being somewhat anti-trade. You can’t go back. You can change once; you can’t change twice.”
If Sanders arrives at the Convention with a sufficient number of primary victories and between a third and half of the delegates, he will also be able to influence the Party’s platform. His advisers told me that Sanders will fight for more anti-free-trade measures, a commitment to campaign-finance reform, and breaking up big banks.
[Editor's note: So far, excluding "super-delegates", Clinton has 1,135 pledged delegates to Sanders 825 — when 2,382 out of 4,763 total delegates are needed to win the nomination.
Last week Sanders refused to speculate about any Convention scenarios that didn’t include him as the nominee. “I look forward to her [Hillary] dropping out and giving me her strong support,” he said. He was adamant that Clinton could not deliver the kind of change that voters are demanding, no matter what policy positions she adopted. “The issue is creating an economy and a political system that works for all Americans, and not just the one per cent. That does not happen through a speech. That happens by reaching out and mobilizing millions and millions of people. There is no indication that Hillary Clinton has ever done that, or ever wants to do that. You don’t go and give speeches behind closed doors to Wall Street and be the same person that is going to rally the American people. That just does not exist.”
“Trust and honesty,” Tad Devine, a senior adviser to the Sanders campaign, told reporters on the morning after Super Tuesday. “Rightly or wrongly, the Secretary, when you poll independents, has some real problems with independents. They just don’t have confidence that what they’re hearing is what they’re going to get. And to overcome that hurdle in a general-election environment when you’re being pounded by Donald Trump day after day after day—I’m not sure that that can be done.”
But Sanders seems far more interested in affecting policy than in taking advantage of Clinton’s scandals. It might be the right decision in the long run; it’s not clear that attacking Clinton helps him win over the older and nonwhite partisans who are the core of Clinton's support. Sanders’s real legacy may be proving to the Democratic Party that the new generation of voters has no affinity for the old Clinton-era politics of moderation. Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network, said, “Sanders is speaking to a rising generation who want both a better and more responsible capitalism and a better and more ethical politics. Unrigging the system will be a central focus of Democratic politics for years to come—as it should be.”
Bernie Sanders said: “When people respond by the millions to your message, then that message is now mainstream. That changes political reality. Smart politicians like Hillary Clinton and anybody else have got to move where the action is, and the action is on those issues that I’ve been raising.”
[Editor's final note: We already know Bernie will never give up, but if young voters and Independents also stand tough (by registering and voting), we have a very good chance of beating the most powerful political machine the world has ever known: The Clintons. And come election day (if by chance the establishment Democrats don't nominate Bernie), whenever you can, write him in on the ballot. But whatever you do, do not vote for Hillary and perpetuate a political dynasty. They've already had their 8 years in the White House. It's past time for a real change.]
* Related post from the Roosevelt Institute: North Carolina has one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation, as well as some of the most blatant gerrymandered electoral maps. A national survey of over 1,000 civically engaged Millennials found that 80 percent of young Americans care more about a fair and inclusive democratic process than seeing their candidate win.
* Also read this recent post at The Guardian: "Young people are right to be angry about their financial insecurity" by Nobel Prize Economist Joseph Stiglitz (Bio at the Roosevelt Institute)
A MUST WATCH SEGMENT OF THE YOUNG TURKS!