Sanders Had A Tremendous Night, But Clinton Is Probably Going To Trounce Him In The End

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Feb 10, 2016 7:00 PM
Sanders Had A Tremendous Night, But Clinton Is Probably Going To Trounce Him In The End

While Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) had an astonishingly excellent night (some might say “yuge”), it could be his own Little Bighorn. Yes, it’s a big deal that the prohibitive nominee of the Democratic Party got clobbered by double-digits, lost young and suburban women, voters under 50, and every income bracket below those who make $200k or more.

Betsy Woodruff and Jackie Kucinich wrote about how the Sanders campaign just out-worked and outmaneuvered the Clinton machine in New Hampshire, along with running into Bernie supporters who voiced their distrust of Clinton–and their disgust over Madeline Albright and feminist Gloria Steinem’s remarks. Albright said there is a special place in hell for women who don’t back Hillary; Steinem said that women support Sanders because they want to attract men, or something. In fact, support for Sanders is so deep, that some will back the disheveled democratic socialist–and no one else.

Numerous Sanders supporters flatly stated that they would under no circumstances back Clinton, citing the criticisms of her that Sanders brings up on the stump every day.

Ashley Bays of Quincy, Massachusetts, who came to New Hampshire to volunteer for Sanders, said she would “absolutely not” back Clinton, ever.

“It would be completely against my ideals,” she said.

“Hillary is obviously not thinking about the best interests of the people,” she continued. “She’s thinking about the corporations that fund her, Goldman Sachs.”

Peggie Greenough, a New Hampshire voter who came to the party along with her husband and three sons, said she wouldn’t vote for Clinton if she’s the nominee.

“I don’t trust her,” she said. “I don’t trust her at all.”

Marilyn DeLuca, of Londonderry, New Hampshire also said Sanders is “the only candidate out there” with integrity. And she wasn’t exactly enthralled by Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem’s goofy arguments that women are obligated to back Clinton.

“They’re irrelevant,” DeLuca said. “Their time has come and gone.”

“I have two daughters in their twenties,” she added, “and they were so angry when they heard that.”

Based on the exits, it’s an old Guard vs. new order rumble, and the new order won–or did it? As Stephen wrote earlier today, Clinton got slaughtered, but left with more delegates than Sanders thanks to the Democratic superdelegate system that allows party officials who can back anyone in this contest. So, even if Sanders won, he lost.

This is a sign of things to come. The delegate math and the composition of the electorate as we head towards the Mason-Dixon line and out west all suggest that Hillary is going to clean Sanders’ clock once the primary shifts away from states, where whites make up the vast majority of voters. C’mon guys, we all know that Iowa and New Hampshire are whiter than Wonder Bread, whereas South Carolina’s Democratic primary is set to be a majority African-American contest. And they’re all breaking for Hillary overwhelmingly.

First, the math (via Cook Report):

…98 percent of pledged Democratic delegates will come from states with lower shares of liberal whites than Iowa and New Hampshire. Just 447 of 4,051 pledged Democratic delegates - 11 percent - are tied to results in states or districts with higher shares of college-educated whites than New Hampshire. Moreover, just 13 percent of pledged Democratic delegates will be awarded in caucus states like Iowa, which as 2008 proved, tend to bring out more liberal participants than primaries.

In other words, if Sanders prevails narrowly in Iowa or New Hampshire, his support among liberal whites and in college towns - essentially Portlandia - would be entirely consistent with a scenario in which he also gets clobbered by Clinton nationally.

And the road ahead (FiveThirtyEight):

Polling has indicated that Sanders trails among nonwhite voters by nearly 40 percentage points nationally. Although no reliable recent polling is available in Nevada, Clinton leads by 30 percentage points in both of our South Carolina forecasts. In the latest Marist College poll, she’s buoyed by a 74 percent to 17 percent lead among black voters. Sanders must cut into that margin if he wants to have any chance in South Carolina or anywhere in the South.

You could already see how Sanders might have problems in Nevada and South Carolina even as he was crushing Clinton in New Hampshire. Despite winning the state by more than 20 percentage points, the best Sanders could manage among registered Democrats was a tie. His large margin came from registered independents who voted in the Democratic primary. You must be a registered Democrat to vote in the Nevada caucuses, though you can register as one the day of the election. In 2008, 81 percent of Nevada caucus-goers self-identified as Democrats. Just 58 percent of New Hampshire voters on Tuesday thought of themselves as Democrats.

Most worrisome for Sanders is his 25-percentage-point loss among New Hampshire Democrats who want to continue President Obama’s policies. Obama’s current job approval rating among blacks nationally is about 90 percent. Sanders will have big problems in South Carolina if he doesn’t do better among voters who like Obama.

Regardless, let’s give credit where credit is due: Bernie Sanders had a great night. And he’s raised a ton of money since his New Hampshire victory. But it could be his last great win. He’s approaching Hilary’s southern firewall, and it’s dubious he can climb over it. At the same time, he could be a consistent thorn in the side for Clinton, with his fundraising keeping him alive throughout the primary season. He won’t win, but he could keep gnawing at the heels of the Clinton machine, leaving her bloodied going into the convention, consistently highlighting her flaws (of which there are many), and leave her quote bloodied entering the general. The problem is if the Republican pick is someone who is an unserious clown, all of the hammering (and possible damage) inflicted by Sanders would be irrelevant since this unspecified GOP nominee isn’t going to be able to compete in areas where elections are decided.

For now, conservatives should get a good laugh knowing that Hillary knew that she needed to do well with women, suburban parents, and in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties; she lost all of the above.

Exit question: Given that New Hampshire Democrats don’t find Hillary to be honest, one former supporter said the emails made him distrust her, is it time for Sanders to unleash on Hillary for mishandling classified information? Today, it was reported that top Clinton aides handled sensitive material over her server. This is an issue and a huge flaw in the character of a primary opponent.