The dilemma for the Democrats

As things stand, it seems that the Democrats have a strong chance of winning a third successive election in 2016. If polling is what we’re going by, only John Kasich seems to pose a threat to their chances and his distant third in the Republican primary suggests that scenario will probably not arise.

Regardless of my belief that both Democratic candidates are certainly capable of winning the presidency, (and in my view, they probably will) if either were to be nominated it would cause certain issues which could haemorrhage their vote and perhaps give the Republicans the window of opportunity they need to seize the White House in November.

Let’s start with Bernie Sanders. That this Independent Senator from Vermont continues to remain a strong contender for the Democratic nomination is testament to how diverse a democracy can (and should) be, but also points out just how polarising this election has been thus far. However, it’s not all good news for him.

Michael Cohen of the Boston Globe makes the observation that:

Hillary Clinton may not be a perfect candidate, but there is no candidate more capable of mobilizing the key voting blocs in the Democratic Party — black, Hispanic, and female voters. It’s not to say that Bernie Sanders could not prevail against Trump in a general election. Perhaps he could, but Sanders does not have the same ability to energize Democratic partisans the way that Clinton does — and he is a far less known entity. As an avowed socialist with a paper trail of politically fraught statements, and with very little foreign policy acumen, he’d be ripe for Republican negative ads.

I think Cohen is only half-right on his assessment of where Sanders could potentially be weak. Firstly I would reject the claim that Bernie lacks energy or that it would be harder for him to beat Trump compared to Hillary (polling suggests it’s the other way). However, for all the strides which the Sanders campaign has made, breaking into the minority vote has not been one of them. Because his message seems to resonate and rely on the votes of working class whites, it means that he is dependent on a high turnout from them for success. Also, it’s interesting to note that I wouldn’t describe Bernie Sanders as a socialist, but because he has affiliated himself with the terms makes him an easy target for ads which could be to his detriment.

Then we move on to the current favourite. Despite all the flak which Hillary Clinton gets from across the political spectrum, if push came to shove voters would probably see her as the lesser of two evils when pitted against a Republican. The issue with Clinton is that she may fail to tap into and energise a politically disaffected electorate (mainly comprised of youths) and although it’s hard to think that the Republicans will, she would have to present herself as a radical and energising alternative to the status quo which would be difficult to achieve as a conventional establishment candidate. Clinton appears to thrive on apathy, with low turnouts generally working in her favour. Even though it is definitely unlikely, Donald Trump’s unique appeal to Republicans across the country could maybe also be translated into some surprising successes in a general election against Clinton. Also, for a contest that is being billed as the most important in a generation it doesn’t promise to be one with a low turnout, and so for Hillary to win convincingly it’s important she remedies her issue with failing to appeal to a broader section of people.

So while I think that the potential nomination of either of these candidates poses some real problems, I don’t think that they would be excessively hard to solve. Both Democrats are generally in line with the public on social issues and despite their respective economic policies having some marked differences, both are a far cry from the big tax breaks and increased military spending which the Republicans seem very keen on implementing.

Do you think I’m wrong in my assessment? Are you more supportive of Bernie, Hillary, both or neither? Drop a comment below!

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Don Royster says:

    Mostly I agree with your assessment. However I don’t think Trump has an appeal to many Republicans. The real place he is strong is blue collar white men. Those especially left out in the cold from the recent recession. They have no place to go but down economically. Which means lack of hope. Which means they are going for Trump. Trump has especially done well where there was an open primary where any body could vote in either party’s primary.

    One thing that could really help Hillary’s turnout in the fall would be to have a Mexican American as a vice presidential candidate. This would excite Mexican Americans everywhere, especially in the Southwest. She might even win Texas in a close race there.

    Also the speech she did yesterday when she took on ISIS showed her strengths. While all the other candidates have policy platforms, none of them seem to have a real practical policy with dealing with ISIS and the Middle East. She has specifics. She shows why there is a difference between running for an election and governing. She is much better at governing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment and yes, if Hillary picks Julian Castro as her running mate I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a rout, and Trump could fare as badly as Goldwater did.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. donna cheatham says:

    Bernie Sanders is clearly the most capable person for the Democratic nomination. He is steadfast, honest, intelligent , sincere, and the competent. He is the reason why I am voting for the Democrats. I am sure that there are many more who feel. the same way. Simply put it Bernie I simply wont vote. We need to get the corrupt Politicians out of the White House, the way to do this is vote for Bernie Sanders period.


    1. See, I suspect your opinion echoes a lot of other people who support Sanders, and that’s where I think Clinton will struggle.


  3. Kathryn says:

    I think you’re assessment is accurate in terms of what the media portrays, but that is not reality. The truth is we don’t know how many people would have voted for Bernie Sanders because many were not allowed to. In many states that hold closed primaries people that switched to the democratic party to vote for Bernie went to vote and found they were not in the system or were marked as independent, republican or no affiliation and so were not allowed to vote. Some were life long democrats that this happened to. Some were given provisional ballots and so we have no way of knowing if they were counted. Then there was an insane number of polling places that ran out of ballots. People having to wait over 4 hours to vote because the decreased the number of polling places. People in Washington are reporting receiving letters from Hillary Clinton giving a far away and wrong caucus location telling them to arrive 30 minutes early and if they followed the letter they would not have time to get to their correct caucus location. People in NY and CA are reporting that after switching to the democratic party they are checking their registration only to find that it is not that in the system (today is the last day in NY to switch to Democrat). There have also been reports of poll tampering where machine votes can easily be flipped and speculation about the likelihood that this has happened. There has been an insane level of bias from the media pushing Trump and Clinton as the front runners, giving almost no coverage to Sanders, so until recently a lot of people had never heard of him. The list goes on and on, and Americans are fed up with the corruption. As far as the democratic side goes, here is what I anticipate will happen, if the democratic nomination is stolen from Sanders and the people don’t get to vote, the democratic party will crumble, millions of people will leave. And if bernie doesn’t run as an independent they will write him in on their ballots in November. The #bernieorbust movement is yuge, the more the suppress us the more likely they are to destroy their party or end up with a trump presidency because we won’t vote for clinton.


    1. See I’ve heard about voter fraud but I’ll need to do more research to see just how true it is. Honestly I wouldn’t be too surprised if it was the case.


  4. John Smith says:

    I found some very interesting analysis by a writer whose predictions have been coming up pretty good in last few Democratic primaries. It changes my perception of where Bernie stands in the Primary race. He is standing a much better chance to trump Hilary than what is being presented by the Big media!


    1. Interesting, that much I can be sure of.


  5. Lorna Stein says:

    I wouldn’t vote for Hillary if there was no one else on the ballot, and I am a Baby Boomer. If you think that is harsh, try sampling the younger voter. I’d switch away from my party and vote Trump even. I’d hope there was a real progressive to chose from in my state.


    1. Thank you for your comment. Really interesting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s