Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bernie backs down! Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton for president, drops out of the race.

Sanders and Clinton, side by side. Getty. 

Senator Bernie Sanders has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and has ended his historic run for president. USA Today. Sanders said that he would do whatever he could to ensure that Hillary Clinton makes it to the White House. It is unclear what role Sanders will play in the Clinton campaign as no further events have been planned. Sanders will create successor organizations to continue the campaign for progressive campaigns. It is unclear how many of Sanders supporters will cross over to support Hillary Clinton. 

My Comment:
Well I saw this coming. I kind of figured that Sanders would back down against Clinton. This might not be the nicest thing to say about someone, but I never thought Bernie Sanders had much of a spine. He always held back when fighting against Clinton and never used the most effective attacks against her because he thought they would be unseemly. Famously, during a debate he said that people were sick and tired of hearing about Clinton's e-mails. Using that attack along with other corruption scandals and Bill Clinton's various sex scandals might have helped Sanders win. It would have been dirty, but politics is about winning and Sanders should have tried to win. But he never did so.

Plus there was this:

Still, despite the lack of backbone, Sanders did fairly well this election cycle. He captured 1900 delegates and won many states, sometimes by landslides. Clearly his message, that the government is corrupt and that people should get higher wages and free college, resonated this election. But he never quite had enough voters and Clinton was able to get more votes then him. 

So was the system stacked against Sanders? I think you can make the argument. Though Sanders was unlikely to win no matter what, with Clinton's huge advantage among minorities, the system was tilted in her favor. Though much has been made of the super delegates, I don't think they were the only factor against Sanders. They certainly didn't help Sanders because the super delegates were made up of the political establishment and they never liked Sanders. 

But what really hurt Sanders was the proportional allocation of delegates. Even though Sanders was winning quite a few states he never really caught up to Clinton in delegates. He would win but Clinton would still get between 40% and 50% of the delegates. If there had been more winner take all or winner take most primaries like there were in the GOP race, Sanders may have caught up a bit more in terms of delegates and may have had enough momentum to win outright. I think this, more then any other factor, torpedoed Sanders's campaign.

Sanders also had problems with getting media coverage for his campaign. Some of this is due, of course, to the media circus that is Donald Trump. He completely drowned out every other candidate in terms of media coverage. Even if he hadn't though, the media focused much more on Hillary Clinton then Bernie Sanders. Sure, some of these stories were terrible for her, but any coverage is probably better then no coverage at all, which is what Sanders got from the media. They wanted Clinton to win, plain and simple and never gave Sanders the chance to talk about his views, at least not compared to Clinton. 

Why did Sanders endorse Clinton when he was treated so poorly by the Democrats? My guess is that he wanted a career. Though Sanders senate seat is safe and he is technically an Independent, he would get a very chilly reception for the rest of his career. Sanders would not be able to accomplish much of anything if he wasn't able to work with the Democrats. And there is a chance that the party could hurt him in other ways if he didn't go along with it. I don't think he is happy about it but it doesn't seem like he had much of a choice. 

The $10,000 question is what happens to Bernie supporters. The polling I have seen doesn't look good for Hillary Clinton. The majority will support her but in a four way race between Clinton, Trump, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson she only gets about 2/3rds of the Sanders votes. Given how many votes that is, she might be in trouble. She's already barely in front of Donald Trump, and if the "shy Tory" effect is happening, she's probably actually behind already. Not everyone is willing to admit to pollsters that they are voting for Trump, especially ones that were former Sanders voters... 

Regardless, I am guessing that when it comes down to it most Bernie voters will go for Clinton. The mainline Democrats will go with Clinton just because of tribal loyalty and a dislike of Republicans. The progressives will partially back her as well, but she will lose votes to Jill Stein, who is doing her best. 

But what of the millennials? For many of them this was their first experience with elections and they are angry and disillusioned now. They are angry and upset and I think most of them will stay home. Some will vote for Clinton yes, but I think more will just ignore voting now. Losing in this way probably feels like a stab in the back for them. Others will vote 3rd party or even vote for Trump out of spite or because they agree with him more. I personally know quite a few Bernie Sanders supporters that have told me that they won't be voting for Clinton under any circumstances. 

Honestly, I think Bernie Sanders voters have much more in common with the political beliefs with Clinton's opponents then here. The anti-trade/more jobs faction should probably go to Trump. Progressives should go to Jill Stein. And I think quite a few millennials should go with Gary Johnson. That doesn't leave much for Clinton herself. But just because I think these candidates match up better with their political beliefs, that doesn't mean they will vote for them. 

Still I have to admit that I am biased against Clinton voters. Despite how much I talk about politics and how open I am about my political beliefs nobody has ever told me that they are voting for Clinton. I know supporters of just about every other candidate but nobody I know is supporting Clinton openly. Without that personal knowledge, I don't know how to get into the heads of Clinton supporters. I understand Sanders supporters quite a bit more but I am completely mystified by Clinton ones. The ones that I know don't seem interested in supporting her, but who knows if they are central examples... 

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