2016, Politics, Polls — May 20, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Hillary Clinton is winning because she is winning more voters


There is no evidence that the establishment is overruling the will of the people in the Democratic primary

1) Clinton has consistently led national match-ups. Sanders was gaining ground on her, but that appears to have stopped and even reversed. At no point in the entire cycle has he led the Huffington Post polling average.

If we went back now and held a national primary, Clinton would still win.

2) Among those who have already voted, Clinton leads by 3 million votes out of a total of about 23 million. She has earned about 57% of the vote cast so far.

Yes, Bernie was an underdog. He is a Socialist from Vermont. He has a profile that is pretty far away from what most would expect to win, even in the Democratic primary. Having never been a member of the Democratic party, he understandably had little support from elected Democrats and other members of the “establishment.” But this is different from saying the system was “rigged” against him. Clinton started with much of the same institutional support in 2008 that she had this year, but Obama’s campaign hustled and figured out how to beat her.

I know it’s terrible to lose. I worked on an underdog Democratic campaign for an outspoken liberal from Vermont. Victory started to seem possible and when that ultimately came crashing down it was devastating. But we don’t do ourselves any favors when we fail to grapple with the fact that our message or our candidate wasn’t compelling enough to win. Regardless of whether Bernie would be a better president, or a stronger candidate against Trump, he failed to make that case to enough of the voters who decide. Claiming instead that he is losing because the system is “rigged” only undermines confidence in our democratic process and makes it harder to imagine replacing the Republican Congress with those who could actually implement the policies Sanders wants.

After Howard Dean lost he created an organization to support progressive candidates at the local level. Obama was ultimately able to capitalize on some of the strengths of the Dean campaign (along with his own), avoid some of the weaknesses, and move the country and the Democratic party in a much more liberal direction than I thought possible in 2004. I hope that we see something similar this year. I hope Sanders and his supporters keep bringing their energy for attacking income inequality, student loan debt, and the other serious problems we face into support for local candidates and continued pressure on the Democrats to be more progressive. The only way to make our imperfect system better is to continue showing up.