Bernie Sanders has “taken Kansas” from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, and also won the Nebraska caucus in today’s “Super Saturday” vote, according to the Huffington Post. The New York Times is reporting that the two victories will likely give Sanders an edge going into the next stage of the race, especially if he manages to win Maine tomorrow as well.
“[W]ith Mr. Sanders’s victories in two of the three states, a win Sunday in the Maine caucuses could give him a burst of momentum going into Michigan on Tuesday.”
Bernie Sanders continues to defy expectations, cruising to a 22-point victory in New Hampshire and fighting Hillary Clinton to a near tie in Iowa.
In doing so, Sanders has defied a long-held Democratic belief: that a candidate can only win by capturing the center of the electorate.
One consequence of this belief, held since the 1980s, is that the Democrats have “moved to the center” in an effort to capture those all-important centrist voters. That meant moving closer to Wall Street — a practice that Hillary Clinton embraces and which Bernie Sanders has disavowed. It also meant getting chummy with the mainstream media establishment. Many Bernie backers have noted that the media under-reports Sanders victories and reports on Hillary’s “inevitability” with a hooting triumphalism, celebrating the narrowest win in the safest state as though the female nominee’s candidacy was all-but-secured.
This approach could ultimately work against the Democrats, and deliver the pro-Clinton camp a president straight from their worst nightmares: Donald Trump.
Many believe that Hillary would be a lot more vulnerable against Trump than Sanders would. A Trump vs. Clinton race is likely to end with Trump as president; a Trump vs Sanders race is likely to deliver a Bernie presidency.
Many praise Sanders for moving the Democratic party back to its populist roots. After analyzing Iowa caucus data, Nate Cohn of the New York Times found that Sanders “fares much better among less affluent whites than Mr. Obama did eight years ago.”
Cohn concluded, to his surprise, that the supposedly “radical” Bernie Sanders is attracting massive support from a group that would traditionally be expected to support a more moderate, establishment candidate.
“[T]he assumption that Mrs. Clinton will easily maintain her strength among nonwhite voters may be shakier than once thought.”
Even cynics at the Washington Spectator have expressed appreciation for what Sanders has achieved.
“I like Sanders. I love that he’s hammering home this lesson— that populism is popular—to frightened Democratic elites. I’m gobsmacked that in a mere matter of weeks, he has upended a generation’s cobweb-encrusted psephological clichés. What’s more, I distrust Hillary Clinton, and I fear the message that would be sent to those selfsame Democratic elites by the success of a candidate for whom four of the five top contributors to the $712.4 million she’s raised for her campaigns since 2000 were banks.”
Bernie supporters can also take heart in the massive turnouts Sanders encouraged this “Super Saturday.” The Daily Mail compared Sanders’ performance to Obama’s back in 2008 and noted with amazement that Sanders attracted a higher turnout in Kansas — the state where Obama’s mother and grandparents hailed from — than Obama himself managed. Daily Mail applauded Sanders for his success, noting that Clinton merely “held on” during Bernie’s great weekend.
“Bernie Sanders has had a Super Saturday, winning the Kansas and Nebraska Democratic primaries and taking the first two victories in the four caucuses being held over the weekend. Hillary Clinton held on with a victory in delegate-heavy Louisiana.”
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]