Bernie’s other problem– he’s not actually a Democrat

I’ve written about this before, but an anonymous smart political science professor friend who is employed by a state where he worries about what he publicly says shared this link and included the following rant:

Y’all know my candidate preference and how the delegate math has the Democratic nomination effectively determined by now, but I have to share this rant since it encapsulates a lot of my frustration with the Sanders crowd. Also on the ballot yesterday was a Wisconsin supreme court seat. The Republican incumbent has a notorious history of anti-gay and anti-labor politics, and if Democrats had defeated her they would have won the court majority. But the Republican won a close race. The Clinton campaign asked voters to vote for the Democrat in the court race, spent its own money advertising for the Democrat, and Clinton mentioned the race in every Wisconsin campaign stop. The Sanders campaign did none of that–not even once asking its voters to vote in the court race. The end result: much greater shares of Sanders than Clinton voters skipping the supreme court race (especially his young supporters) and also voting FOR the Republican incumbent. Sanders wants the Democratic nomination, but can’t bother himself to help Democrats downballot where they’ve been devastated. He’s even refused to commit to help with fundraising for more liberal Democratic candidates if he loses the nomination. His campaign is only about him and too many of his supporters only care about him, not the larger picture. That’s no recipe for a “revolution.”

I wouldn’t agree that the campaign is only about him.  But Sanders is not and never has been a member of the Democratic party and that would be a huge problem for the party were he the standard bearer.

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Bernie’s problems: math and demographics

Really, really good post from Yglesias on Bernie post Wisconsin:

To Sanders fans, the fact that he’s won seven of the past eight contests feels like he has enormous momentum in the race. To the demographically inclined, it just looks like a coincidence.

Because the five largest states — California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois — all have above-average black and Latino populations, most states have below-average black and Latino populations. Because of that, Sanders is well-positioned to win a large number of states that have few residents and assign few delegates. He happens to have benefited from a small run in the calendar that featured a whole bunch of these states.

Next up comes Wyoming, which will make it eight out of nine. But then comes New York, which happens to allocate more delegates than Wyoming, Wisconsin, Washington, Hawaii, Alaska, Utah, and Idaho combined.

New York is 17.6 percent African-American (versus 6.6 percent for Wisconsin) and 18.6 percent Hispanic (versus 6.5 percent for Wisconsin). Relative to that much more diverse electorate, it’s not good enough for Sanders to narrowly edge out Clinton. According to Silver’s math, he needs to beat her by 4 points to net enough delegates to stay on track — and that’s even before he fell a delegate or two short in Wisconsin. Right now he’s down 10 points.

I also love how well he explains the media bias for Bernie.  Yes, for Bernie.  This is a pattern I used to teach about back when I assigned Tom Patterson’s classic, Out of Order.  The media desperately wants a close, hard-fought contest, not one candidate clearly moving to victory:

The media is biased — in favor of Sanders

To Sanders fans, this naysaying is just more evidence of the anti-Bernie bias in the media.

The truth is exactly the opposite. The media has a systematic self-interested bias toward exaggerating how close the race is. Sanders supporters are a minority of Democrats, but they are still a large number of people, and they avidly read and share content about Sanders’s big fundraising hauls and his wins in low-population states.

Television networks want people to tune in to their debates and town halls, which they are much more likely to do if they think something is at stake. And Sanders’s big fundraising has been transformed into big advertising dollars, which is literally money in the pockets of media companies.

The media loves Bernie Sanders!

And so do millions of voters. But somewhat more voters like Hillary Clinton, which is why she’s been ahead of him in national polls from the beginning and why he keeps falling further and further short of the delegate totals he needs to win.

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