Tuesday, April 05, 2016

On being an irritant to the Democratic frontrunner.

Apparently the Hillary Clinton campaign is running out of patience with the upstart Bernie Sanders campaign.

Which is a good thing.

In an article on the Telegraph, writer David Millward discusses how the Sanders campaign will continue to bother Clinton right up to and probably through the Democratic national convention.
Bernie Sanders was on the cusp of being declared the winner of the Alaska caucus when the email from Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s boyish campaign manager, arrived.

It was short and to the point. The Clinton campaign was being outspent by thousands upon thousands of supporters chipping in a few dollars here and there for the insurgent self-declared Socialist senator from Vermont. In just three paragraphs the message combined optimism with irritation that he was still in the contest.

Mrs Clinton may still enjoy a healthy lead among the delegates who will choose the Democratic presidential nominee at the party’s convention in Philadelphia in late July, but she is finding Mr Sanders impossible to shake off – and he has made it pretty clear he is not going away any time soon.
Currently Hillary is leading in the delegate count, and she will likely continue to maintain that lead unless there's a seismic change in the voters' perceptions of the candidates. Which is a possibility, but getting more remote after each primary. Even with good showings in states like Wisconsin and Wyoming, Sanders will have to concede a number of delegates even if he wins. The Republicans are fond of the "winner-take-all" contests, but the Democrats use a proportional division based on voter preferences, and occasionally a weird system that uses elected, alternate, and unelected alternate(!) delegates.

With New York's big primary coming up soon, Clinton will pad her lead some more, although Sanders has done a good job cutting into her lead in the polls. Regardless of who "wins" that contest, Hillary will definitely add to her delegate totals.

So why does Sanders insist on staying in the race?

Other than the obvious answer (he has a shot at winning the nomination), he serves a valuable purpose of being the "conscience" of the Democratic Party. Sanders has already had an effect on Clinton's rhetoric, forcing her to soften some of her more conservative views:
The Sanders campaign says victory is still achievable with polls showing he is performing better against the Republicans than she is. Even if Mrs Clinton does get the nomination, his supporters say he has succeeded in pushing her to the Left on a range of issues from Wall Street reform to the minimum wage.
Many of the most ardent Clinton supporters have some reservations about their candidate. While they are loyal to Clinton and see her becoming the first woman president as the most important civil rights achievement of the new century, they certainly can't agree with everything she says or does. Sanders is helping bring Clinton back towards the center, where she'll have the best chance in the upcoming general election.

Sanders ain't going away. Clinton Democrats will have to deal with that fact.

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