Decoding Super Tuesday: Why Sanders Is Still on Track to Win and Why the Democrats Need Him To

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Decoding Super Tuesday: Why Sanders Is Still on Track to Win and Why the Democrats Need Him To

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during the Dec. 19, 2015 debate.  (Photo: Disney | ABC Television Group/flickr/cc)

As usual, the mainstream media is confused by the results from Super Tuesday. To hear them tell it, Hillary has all but sewed up the nomination.  In reality, Sanders had a good day, and Tuesday’s results suggest he’s set to surprise the pundits yet again. 

More importantly, he’s still the best candidate the Democrats can field to defeat Trump.

Here’s why:

First, the States Clinton won are irrelevant when it comes to Democratic Presidential victories.  The States Clinton won decisively -- Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Virginia – have not played prominently in electing a Democratic President since Carter’s victory in 1976.  Bill Clinton won Arkansas and Tennessee in his races; and Obama won Virginia twice, but that’s about it for Democrats in the South. Both would have won without winning these states.

Which makes a Democratic primary victory in the South about as useful as a trap door in a lifeboat when it comes to the general election.

Conversely, in States like Minnesota, Colorado, Oklahoma, Vermont and Massachusetts, which have played prominently in presidential races for Democrats, Sanders won, or in the case of Massachusetts, nearly won. 

Second, her huge margin in the African American Community may not persist  and won’t matter as much in the remaining states if it does.  Clinton won in the south by trouncing Sanders among African American voters.  But Clinton’s record on issues that are important to Black America is atrocious, and may yet catch up to her.   As Michelle Alexander points in an article in The Nation, the policies she’s backed “decimated” Black America. 

As Black leaders examine Hillary’s past positions on crime, Black Lives Matter, welfare reform, and privatizing prisons and compare them to Sanders’ there’s been a steady shift from her to Bernie.  Mainstream Black America may yet follow them. If that happens, Clinton would struggle in remaining states in which the African American voters are decisive.

There's something in the air...

But even if that doesn’t happen, when you look at the remaining states, the demographics more closely resemble the States Sanders won, than the ones that went for Clinton, suggesting that future races will be far more competitive. 

Which Brings us to Electability:  Perhaps the most dangerous myth the Clinton Campaign has spread is that she is the more electable candidate.

Sanders beats all Republicans by more than Hillary does.  In fact, in the latest poll,  Sanders crushes both Cruz and Rubio by 17% and 8% respectively, but Clinton loses to both.  Against Trump, Sanders annihilates him by 12 points while Hillary only beats him by 8.

And the thing is, Hillary has little hope of closing that gap. Beyond her current supporters, most voters distrust and dislike her.  These factors make it extraordinarily difficult for her to increase support among independents – an essential group to appeal to if one is to win a national election.  But more importantly, together with her record of patently untrue statements, they make it easy to undermine what support she has.  Finally, these kinds of issues lead to a low turnout, something which favors Republicans. 

Bottom Line: If Democrats want to win, they need to run Sanders.  But the Establishment – including the moneyed interests, the media, the think tanks, many of the unions, and the Party rank and file  -- are lining up behind Hillary like lemmings in front of a cliff.

If the nightmare of Trump – or Cruz or Rubio – is to be avoided, it’s up to the young, the alienated and the disaffected to get out and vote for Sanders. 

The alternative is a reign of hate, divisiveness, greed, jingoism, and fear. 

John Atcheson

John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise, an eco-thriller and Book One of a Trilogy centered on global warming. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News and other major newspapers. Atcheson’s book reviews are featured on Climateprogess.org.

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