Perhaps more important than Sanderss gain in the polls is how it happened: by patiently hammering on his message, regardless of what other candidates said
As Trump continues to dominate both parties for media attention, and Hillary Clinton remains a favorite to win with Wall Street, Bernie Sanders is suddenly surging again among those who actually matter: voters. But more important than his rise in the polls is how hes doing it.
A string of polls over the past two weeks show that the once-independent Vermont senator is tied or in the lead in the two early primary nations, Iowa and New Hampshire, and all of a sudden, in striking distance of Hillary Clinton nationally. With very little fanfare, he has been leading in New Hampshire for months, with some recent ones putting his lead in the double digits.
But Iowa seemed distinctly in Clintons corner for the last quarter of 2015 until this week, merely a month away from the primary. A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday night showed Sanders vaulted into the lead, with a slew of others prove him pulling in close to a tie.
Digging deeper into the numbers shows even more good news for Sanders: nationally, he is beating Clinton by 2-1 with voters younger than 45, and by 20 points with female voters younger than 35. In New Hampshire there is not one demographic group in which Clinton is beating Sanders. Hes also made recent gains among African Americans and Hispanics both demographics long considered Clinton strongholds.
But perhaps more important than the news of Sanderss gain is how it happened: by patiently hammering on his message of drawing attention to economic inequality, creating taxes on the rich, dramatically expanding Medicare and Social Security, making public universities free of charge and criminal justice reform.
He has, to great criticism by beltway pundits, avoided the rest of presidential candidates descent into constant fear-mongering about terrorism and hyping security threats from Isis. Instead he has mocked both the media and other candidates for doing so, as BuzzFeed reported last month 😛 TAGEND
As a nation and as a people, we have got to understand that our country faces a myriad of serious problems if you turn on the Tv, what they now say is, Well weve got one problem, its Isis, Sanders told, launching into a sarcastic impression of the they on television this week.
Clinton, meanwhile, has sounded more like the Republican candidates with her conventional forever war posture, her defense of the disastrous Libya intervention and her calls for an escalation of the war in Syria. Apparently shes not concerned that shes running for the nomination from a party who rejected her in 2008 partly because of her support for the Iraq war.
Sanders disappointingly isnt running as an anti-war nominee, either, and its a dishonor hes not more aggressive in rejecting the militarism that has infected the country since 9/11: hes indicated his support for the CIAs droning program, continued war in Afghanistan and has been largely silent on the fact that the war against Isis is by, almost all accounts, illegal since Congress hasnt approved it as the Constitution requires.
But he has proven false the idea that candidates have to drop everything to treat Isis as a threat to Americas existence necessitating 24/7 hand wringing, rather than what they genuinely are: a comparatively small problem in the day-to-day lives of Americans that we only exacerbate by doing the terrorists PR work for them and upending our rights to supposedly defeat them.
All of this is not to say Clinton should not still be considered the favorite. Nate Silver still has Clinton with a 73% chance to win Iowa and a 55% chance to win New Hampshire. She also has strong supporting in the African American community that will be critical for the third primary in South Carolina, and a much higher national profile for Super Tuesday in March, when more than a dozen nations will be voting at the same time.
She also has one trump card that Sanders never will, given her establishment ties: a massive advantage in super delegates, who make up a high percentage of the delegates who will actually decide the nomination at the Democratic convention the summer months but who arent beholden to election the style their nations primary aimed up.
But its clear that Sanders is not going to fade away, as many predicted in the autumn after it looked like his support was leveling off; he is only get stronger. Devoted that most voters dont even start paying attention until after the Iowa caucus, Democrat would do themselves well by putting the Clinton coronation on hold for now.
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