Thanks to his highly progressive policies, Bernie Sanders has become one of the most popular presidential candidates among people hoping to put a liberal back in the White House in 2016. But without the name recognition and mainstream track record of Hillary Clinton, many progressives are absolutely convinced Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a shot at winning the Democratic nomination.
Without a major Republican front runner that people can take seriously (namely, not Donald Trump or Ted Cruz), the Democratic nominee has a very real chance of winning the 2016 Presidential election–so why aren’t liberals bigger champions for Bernie Sanders? Well, many on the internet grassroots movement are major supporters of Bernie Sanders, but they’re also realistic. Despite their love of Bernie’s policies, they don’t think he can win. And the primary reason seems to be the fact that Hillary Clinton is his competitor. She’s a world famous household name who has already served in the White House as Secretary of State.
But it’s that pragmatism that actually is killing Bernie Sanders’ chances. As is often the case in United States presidential elections, the dark horse candidates don’t stand a chance simply because Americans aren’t willing to waste a vote on someone like Bernie Sanders who probably won’t win, and risk taking votes from a safer choice like Hillary Clinton.
But is Hillary Clinton really a safe choice? Nearly every story in the news since the start of the election buzz has discussed the disappointment she has caused her supporters and the backlash she’s sparked from opponents, as was the case with the email scandal and her recent failure to take a position on the Keystone XL pipeline. What’s more, the Huffington Post points out that many of Hillary Clinton’s previous political decisions are major progressive failures when compared to Bernie Sander’s record; such as Clinton’s 2013 opposition to gay marriage and 2002 vote for the Iraq war.
“He’s connecting in a way that Hillary Clinton is not,” said Burt Cohen, former New Hampshire state senator. “He’s talking about things people want to hear. People are used to candidates who are calculated, produced and measured, and they see through that. Bernie’s different.”
As the LA Times shows, if Bernie Sanders can manage to win the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary, his chances of earning the Democratic nomination go from unlikely to very possible. But, surprisingly, one of his biggest obstacles is his own supporters: the people who don’t think he can win, and thus don’t devote much time to celebrating his campaign.
The polls show Bernie Sanders staying afloat, but still lagging behind Hillary Clinton overall. A recent CNN poll showed that 72 percent of Democrats thought Hillary Clinton could beat the Republican nominee, while only 2 percent thought Bernie Sanders has what it takes. However, a more recent poll shows that support for Bernie Sanders beats out all of his potential Republican opponents.
If liberals would take the leap of faith and throw their full support toward Bernie, he might finally become the mainstream name that progressives need to put his policies in practice.
“If Democrats simply vote based on their value system (considering demographic shifts favor Democrats), Bernie Sanders can easily win the presidency,” says columnist H. A. Goodman.
But, of course, expecting millions of people to simultaneously support an underdog is a nearly impossible undertaking, which means Bernie Sanders will likely fail to obtain the nomination despite having enough support to win it.
What do you think? Do you support Bernie Sanders? And would you be willing to go out on a limb for him by showing your support?
[Image credit: Getty]