Clinton Remains Unbeaten in Racially Diverse, Delegate Rich States
When a boxing champion unifies the belts across all major governing bodies (WBC, WBO, WBA, IBF) for a weight class, we refer to them as the “undisputed” champion. For this analogy, if we consider Florida the WBC, Illinois the WBO, Ohio the WBA, and New York the IBF, then Hillary Clinton is the undisputed Democratic champ. Of all primary and caucus elections this cycle, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and New York (“the Big Four”) represent the four most populous and diverse states decided. Three of Clinton’s Big Four victories were by double-digit margins.
Previously, Bernie Sanders alleged that Clinton was incapable of winning outside of the ‘conservative south.’ Though his characterization was a gross misrepresentation of the electoral map, this charge went unchallenged. Thus, Sanders was allowed to perpetuate this Southern fallacy on a wide scale.
Admittedly, the state of Florida is geographically “south.” But south does not always mean South. Or, more aptly, south does not always mean Dixie, as Sanders implied in the Brooklyn debate. Besides, his “South” argument is moot considering Democratic President Barack Obama, won Florida, TWICE. So, regardless of how ‘conservative’ Sanders hopes to portray Clinton’s victories, the fact remains, Clinton is winning in states that Obama won at least once. Whether they are north, west, east or… South. Rather than stigmatize southern Democrats in order to score political points, it would behoove Sanders to abandon divisive rhetoric and pivot his message to one of unification.
Sanders’ biggest disappointment this election has been his inability to connect with voters of color, especially black voters. His numbers among this vital Democratic voting block has been an abject failure. Endorsements from Spike Lee, Erica Garner, Killer Mike, and Dr. Cornell West did not help Sanders gain any traction in the black community. How does Sanders answer for this failure? He doesn’t. Sanders claims that black voters consistently vote for Clinton because ‘they do not know who he is or how his plans will benefit them.’ Sanders doesn’t realize how patronizing and insulting it is for his campaign to continue disseminating this message.
The overall premise of his inherent implication is beyond insulting to black voters. Sanders’ premise falsely concludes that black voters are too ill prepared or lack the requisite intellect to decipher the hieroglyphs of his mundane, repetitious, single-issue campaign.
Bernie, we understand. We get it. You dislike corporate banks, very very much. That is completely reasonable, most U.S. citizens agree with you, including blacks. But black voters have concerns that extend beyond just Wall Street and breaking up the banks. Black voters are not a monolith, thus, diversifying your message is a necessity.
Stubborn refusal to prioritize other issues plaguing society will prove to be Sanders’ downfall. He can continue to drone on about Millionaires and Billionaires, but that tone-deaf repetition of his stump speech is not resonating with people of color. Sure, Sanders can win in mostly white Wisconsin, or all white Alaska and Utah, but what about melting pots. In the Big Four contests Sanders was trounced. He didn’t just lose. Sanders lost in the Big Four in embarrassingly epic fashion. No pundit alive can name a single major party candidate to ever lose their home state by a quarter million votes. That’s unheard of. Sanders lost his home state of New York by hundreds of thousands of votes! No, you didn’t misread that line, and your glasses are on straight: Bernie Sanders, Brooklyn born, New York native, lost New York by over 250,000 people!
If the Sanders collapse in New York happened in a vacuum, it wouldn’t be alarming. But he’s lost every significant battle by those numbers. He lost the second most delegate rich state of Florida by thirty-one percentage points. THIRTY-ONE!!! He lost the fourth most delegate rich state of Ohio by fourteen percentage points (13.8, I rounded up). The third most delegate rich state of Illinois was at least competitive — but he still lost. Sanders has not won a single delegate rich state with a racially diverse population this entire election.
His campaign must change. His message must change. His rhetoric must change. His fear mongering must stop. His divisiveness must stop. His demagoguery of the Democratic Party and President Obama must stop. His alienating certain voting blocks must end. His stigmatizing of southern Democrats must end. His sowing seeds of distrust must end. He must take a long look in the mirror and truly internalize his failures, or his candidacy will end!
As it stands after his New York shellacking, Sanders has no mathematical path to the nomination. He will enter the Philadelphia Convention with a substantial deficit in both the popular vote and more importantly, the pledged delegates. The only possible way Sanders may become the nominee of the Democratic Party is by convincing Super Delegates to subvert the will of the overwhelming majority of voters.
If Sanders had won in New York and went on to win in Oregon and California and more than half of the remaining contests, then his philosophy of carrying the Blue States would apply and earn him the nomination based on electability. But his repeated inability to reach voters of color is problematic. Sanders supporters were quick to point out that then Senator Obama also lost the New York Primary to Clinton in 2008. However, Obama didn’t demean southern voters along the way, because he won southern states. Obama was in a much different place after New York than Sanders. Obama had a legitimate path to the nomination. Sanders would have to win EVERY contest from now to the convention by nearly 80 percent to claim the lead. Is his path impossible? No, math dictates otherwise. But common sense dictates that his candidacy is over, it’s just that simple. You can’t lose every major primary then demand support from party elites.
With every Sanders defeat, conspiracy theories abound. Enough! Sometimes when you lose, there is no one to blame but yourself. Allegations of purged voting rolls did not factor into this election. If all 125,000 alleged purged voters were given to Sanders and then doubled, he still would have lost. This adolescent excuse making for losing, is unbecoming an individual seeking to hold the highest office. Accept the challenge, learn from defeat, and aspire for better. But please, stop attributing your failures to the party, or to donors, or to misinformed voters, or whatever cockamamie attribution you devised. Learn humility, and perform better.
The longer Sanders stays in the race and drags Clinton through the mud, the more harm he inflicts upon the party he claims to want to represent.
(Thumbnail Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)