Hillary Clinton’s most recent victories in the Democratic primaries have left most analysts resigning Bernie Sanders to an inevitable defeat to the former New York senator for the Democratic nomination. While he plans to run his campaign all the way til the Democratic convention in July, his decision to lay off hundreds of his campaign staffer is symptomatic of his descent to electoral oblivion. There is hope still for what would be a very commendable victory in California, but beyond that it appears bleek still. Should Sanders lose as many expect him to, I still think much of what he has done has changed the American political landscape, and here’s why.
‘Big money’ may not be able to buy elections anymore. You need only look at Jeb Bush, a man who raised over $100 million before the primary season even began, yet managed only to acquire the grand total of 4 delegates before dropping out too see that money doesn’t seem to have as strong a correlation to success as it once did.
As of writing this, Bernie Sanders has raised over $180 million, none of which have come from Super PACs or special interest groups, with donations averaging $27* per head. Sure, Hillary has raised more overall but she has been beaten by Sanders when it comes to money raised both in February and March. Sanders ability to galvanise working people and fund his campaign on the back of their donations alone shatters the time tested practice of an ‘establishment’ candidate getting the nomination. It may the case this election cycle too but it definitely won’t be as easy from now on.
The Democrats are attracting independents. While this has been great for the party and will serve it very well for them at a general election, it has been a source of great controversy. Some 3 million independents were not able to vote because of New York’s closed primary rules, and this undoubtedly hit Sanders far harder than hit Hillary. This is also not the only state where it affected Sanders badly and it most likely won’t be the last.
Bernie’s views are resonating among young people. Sanders overwhelming youth support has fuelled much of his support, and while he may fall short, he should take solace in the fact that he has appealed to a demographic which will wield and shape political power over the coming decades.
Regardless of the outcome, the Democratic party has been shaken and shaped by these primaries, and most importantly, by Sanders. I find it very hard to believe that free tuition, higher taxes on the most wealthy and more green policies will all be thrown out of the window if Hillary Clinton takes to the Oval Office in 2017. She will be lobbied quite heavily (just as she is now) by many Sanders supporters to carry out a more progressive agenda which they campaigned for.
Do you think I’m writing Sanders off too soon? Do think you he will win? Drop a comment below!
*As the linked article suggests, this is figure is a bit dubious. It still is a far, far lower average than any other candidate though.