Bernie Sanders sends a chilling message to Hillary campaign
Hillary Clinton and her campaign cronies saw something frightening yesterday: a fired-up crowd of ten thousand people in Madison, Wisconsin, packing the Veterans Memorial Coliseum to the rafters in support of a candidate best known as Not Hillary. The previously fairly obscure Senator Bernie Sanders is drawing the same kind of enthusiasm that Eugene McCarthy sparked in 1968 when he drove an even more inevitable nominee from the Democratic ticket, incumbent President Lyndon Johnson.
It is clear that the progressive base of the Democratic Party is fed up with Hillary Clinton, the cozy-with-Wall-Street party insider who parlayed political connections into a nine-figure fortune after leaving the White House “dead broke.” In fact, the big news the Clinton Campaign intended to tout on the day of Sanders’s triumph brought home the point: her campaign has managed to raise $45 million.
To the left-wing core of the Democratic Party, the message is a clear contrast: Hillary has the money, and Bernie has the people.
Does anyone in the Hillary campaign think they can draw ten thousand wildly enthusiastic supporters to cheer, stomp, and call out her name in an orgy of political thrills? I suspect they are considering the question this morning, thinking that out of 16 million or so people in the Greater New York Area, perhaps ten thousand is not an insurmountable number. In Greater Madison, with a population of 568,593 in the 2010 Census, it is certainly an impossibility.
What the dramatic pictures of Madison show is being reflected in polls in the first two states to speak on the nomination. In Iowa, Time Magazine reports:
The self-described democratic socialist is now favored by 33% of Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, doubling his support since early May and coming within just 19 points of Clinton, who is at 52%, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Clinton, however, still has significantly greater name recognition than Sanders in Iowa, where 26% of Iowans haven’t heard enough about the Vermont senator to rate him.
There is plenty of time for those 26% in Iowa to learn who Sanders is. Even more important, the Iowa Caucuses depend on enthusiasm, which Sanders obviously commands. People have to devote an entire evening to showing up and staying at a caucus. That’s very different from rummaging through old people’s homes and filling out absentee ballots. When Hillary lost the Democrat nomination to Barack Obama in 2008, it was in Iowa that the first blow was landed, as Obama out-organized her.
The news for Hillary is equally bad in New Hampshire, where Sanders is closing the gap with her:
A CNN/WMUR poll released Thursday [last week] showed Mrs. Clinton with 43% of likely Democratic New Hampshire voters, compared with 35% for Mr. Sanders.
The real problem for the Democrats with Sanders is that he means what he says, as for instance in Madison yesterday:
“They may have the money, but we have the people,” Mr. Sanders said of other presidential candidates.
In his remarks, Mr. Sanders railed against what he called the “billionaire class,” saying that most people in the U.S. don’t feel like they live in the richest country on earth because the wealth is concentrated among very few people.
“The issue of wealth and income inequality, to my mind, is the great moral issue of our time,” he said. “It is the greatest economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time.”
Mr. Sanders pledged to fight on behalf of workers, calling for guaranteed family and medical leave, paid vacation and a renewed union movement. He also said he would break up the largest financial institutions in the country, telling supporters that “If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”
The dirty secret of the Dems is that they are the party of the super-rich and the underclass, while the GOP is the party of the bourgeois – the rising small businesses, the wealth creators. In order to fund themselves and their turnout efforts, the Dems need a skilled hypocrite like Hillary (only more convincing, as were her husband and Barack Obama), able to denounce the wealthy while Hoovering up their cash with a nod and wink.
Will the Sanders crowd willingly assent to a Hillary candidacy? Maybe. But I doubt they will have much enthusiasm about it, and the Dems need to wring every vote possible out of low-information, uninvolved people who on their own wouldn’t show up at the polls.