Just months ago, with no opposition and big money supporters like Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton was bound for a free ride back to the White House. But as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump announced their candidacy, Americans on both sides of the spectrum seemed to reject traditional politics and the candidates that go with it.
If political polls mean anything at all, today is a good day for Bernie Sanders, who is virtually tied with Clinton, to become the Democratic candidate in Iowa and holds a comfortable double-digit lead in New Hampshire according to RealClear Politics. The Vermont Senator’s campaign, funded mostly by individual donors, has done quite well against Clinton’s corporately-funded machine.
This is a pattern that has been taking shape for years, according to New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman who says that Republicans thought they could beat Obama in 2012 if they just threw enough money at Mitt Romney; “Instead they watched [Karl] Rove’s infamous Fox News meltdown as their $117 million grubstake went up in smoke. To many of the billionaires it felt like a mugging.”
This year voters are threatening to give Clinton that same lousy feeling courtesy of Bernie Sanders.
While the Democrats have been spared much of the media’s scrutiny in favour of daily jabs at Donald Trump, the real joke of the 2016 campaign has been the myth that they only have one choice. In December, when Samuel L Jackson was asked who he would support he gave the same half-hearted endorsement that many on the left feel bound to. “I’m forever a Democrat,” he said, “and I’m gonna vote for Hillary. I mean, I love Bernie — Bernie’s a man of the people — but he can’t win.” And Jackson has a point. Clinton was one of the most active First Ladies in U.S. history, a former New York Senator, Secretary of State, and the only candidate who has lived in the White House. On paper, she is the most qualified person in the field.
There’s no doubt Clinton knows how to play the game. In fact she’s been playing it for decades: supporting the Iraq War when the country was in a frenzy, opposing gay rights when it still made political sense, and sidelining her own career to save her husband from several political disasters.
Clinton was one of the most active First Ladies in U.S. history, a former New York Senator, Secretary of State, and the only candidate who has lived in the White House.
So on some level you have to respect that Clinton is the kind of person who gets things done. But at the same time it’s just easier to believe that Sanders is the honest candidate when he’s spent nearly 30 years of his career shouting the exact same things he shouts today. At this point Sanders’ commitment to his cause is either a serious compulsive disorder or a sense of dedication to principle that few politicians have shown.
Sanders is the honest candidate when he’s spent nearly 30 years of his career shouting the exact same things he shouts today.
When asked about Sanders, Clinton claimed that she’s, “not nervous at all” even though her team has thrown her into a mad scramble to appeal to young Americans while attempting to make sense of that fact that most of them can relate better to a balding 74-year-old man from Vermont.
It’s not hard to picture the scene at Clinton HQ where someone suggested she ‘dab’ (the dance not the drug) with Ellen to appeal to millenials:
“It’ll be charming!”
“Yes, it’ll be just like the time she whipped and nae naed!”
Though it is difficult to imagine why anyone thought it would work a second time.
In fact, even Girls creator Lena Dunham’s takeover of Clinton’s official Instagram didn’t exactly produce the results they were looking for.
“I’m here for Lena, but I haven’t decided between Hillary and Bernie,” a potential supporter told the New York Times at a Clinton event in Iowa. “I don’t want to vote for someone for president of the United States because I love Lena Dunham.”
So maybe the reason that youth are flocking to Sanders is because he doesn’t embarrass himself by pretending to be hip to their jive.
Whether they like to admit it or not, Clinton’s team is scared and they should be because those who prefer Sanders have already proven that young people do vote. They stole her first shot at the White House in 2008, turning out in record numbers for Barack Obama, and if they go with their gut in 2016 they could do it again.
Democrats who say that Sanders has no chance are undermining their own party’s future by telling young Americans to support a party that doesn’t trust them to turn out to vote and expects those that do to elect the first female president, not because she’s qualified, but because, ‘there is no other choice.’