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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders appears at a campaign rally at California State University, Dominguez Hills on May 17, 2016 in Carson, California. Candidates are campaigning for the June 7 California presidential primary election. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

Why Bernie Must (and Can) Win

Christopher D. Cook

On Tuesday June 7, voters in California, New Jersey, and four other states can sway the Democratic nomination toward Bernie Sanders – the candidate who all polls show gives Democrats the greatest chance of defeating Donald Trump.

Ignoring this factual reality, mainstream media and pundits, even California’s own Gov. Jerry Brown and Senator Dianne Feinstein, have decided for voters that the Democratic race is over – mirroring a Clinton inevitability narrative launched the day the campaign began. Party and Clinton campaign officials (close relatives to say the least) are simultaneously irate and nervous as heck that Sen. Sanders keeps winning, and has the audacity to run to the end. But if the goal is getting a Democrat in the White House, they ought to reconsider.

All empirical evidence shows that Bernie Sanders consistently polls significantly better than Clinton against the dreaded Trump – every single time. (Check it out for yourself at More recently, national and key swing state polls – including Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania – show Clinton slipping and Sanders maintaining an advantage over Trump. Nationally, Sanders leads Trump by 15%, while Clinton clings to a negligible 3% margin. Clinton’s unfavorable ratings persistently equal, and in some surveys eclipse those of Trump, while Sanders sports favorable ratings that are unheard of in politics.

Earth to the mainstream media and Democratic Party superdelegates – are you listening? All differences between Sanders and Clinton aside, it is highly risky to run a nominee who consistently matches up worse against the opposition, who has soaring unfavorable ratings, and, quite potentially, a burgeoning and very real email scandal. By contrast, Sanders offers a surging candidacy that energizes the base while attracting significant independent crossover voter support.

It is also worth considering these comparative campaign optics: Hillary Clinton symbolizes everything about the political establishment that Trump has so successfully lambasted and lampooned; meanwhile, Trump represents everything about radical inequality and greed that Bernie Sanders has so successfully campaigned against. Which of these dynamics do you think will work best in the Democrats’ favor?

These indicators of Clinton’s perilous candidacy are exacerbated, to say the least, by the latest email revelations showing, as even Clinton-friendly mainstream media reported, that Hillary Clinton lied about the circumstances behind her private email server. On top of this, there is still the distinct possibility of further revelations, or even an indictment of Clinton. (Mentioning the “damn emails” is not scandal mongering, it is actually crucial: it directly affects Clinton’s electability, something all Democrats should care about.)

After a parade of surprisingly transparent mainstream media stories, from the New York Times to the New Yorker, acknowledging Clinton’s lies and abuse of power, now MSNBC and others are trotting out stories promising that Clinton’s “lead over Trump would grow without Sanders in the race” – which is, of course, pure 100% conjecture. Amazingly, MSNBC proffers headline-level credibility on this hypothetical, while going out of its way to discredit its own polls (conducted with the Wall Street Journal) showing Sanders “with a whopping 15-point lead over the presumptive GOP nominee”– claiming, “the real meaning of those differences is hard to determine.” Erroneously and irresponsibly, MSNBC, NPR and other mainstream media continue to count uncommitted superdelegates who have yet to vote, insisting Clinton “needs fewer than 80 delegates” to win. Simply factually untrue.

The truth is, voters in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, South Dakota in North Dakota, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC still matter – and if they want a Democrat in the White House, even if they ideologically prefer Clinton, they ought to be looking at these cold hard facts.

On June 7, voters have a unique opportunity to impact the fate of the Democratic Party and the nation. If it’s truly about winning, all available evidence shows Sanders is the most likely to defeat Trump.

There are no guarantees in politics, only possibilities and likelihoods. If you examine the political histories and voting records of Sanders and Clinton, and all available current polling, here’s what you’ll find:

  • Bernie Sanders is by all indicators the most likely to win the presidency.
  • Bernie Sanders is the most likely to push for a $15 minimum wage.
  • Bernie Sanders is the least likely to spread war or military aggression.
  • Bernie Sanders is the most likely to fight for significant Wall Street and campaign finance reform.
  • Bernie Sanders is the most likely to push hard for universal single-payer healthcare, and universal free public college.

If you’re a Democrat or an independent voter (“No Party Preference” in California), and you want a Democrat in the White House who has a long consistent history of fighting for economic fairness, corporate accountability, human and civil rights, and against war and military aggression – Bernie Sanders offers the best chance for defeating Trump and his destructive politics of hate-mongering and greed.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Christopher D. Cook

Christopher D. Cook

Christopher D. Cook is an award-winning journalist and author of "Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis" (2006). Cook has written for Harper's, The Economist, Mother Jones, The Christian Science Monitor, Common Dreams and elsewhere. See more of his work at

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