Speaking to a nearly silent audience, Bernie Sanders explained to the Democratic National Committee that they needed to inspire voters to the polls, or face another defeat like in the 2014 mid-term elections. Despite the persuasive argument, party leaders are still gathering around the Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for 2016.
According to the New York Times, Sanders spoke Friday night to a large group of party elites in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His speech brought up a touchy subject – the party’s 2014 losses.
“My friends, the Republican Party did not win the midterm election in November: We lost that election. We lost because voter turnout was abysmally, embarrassingly low, and millions of working people, young people and people of color gave up on politics as usual and they stayed home. That’s a fact.”
His solution to the low turnout is to inspire voters, rather than settling for politics as usual. He avoided speaking about Hillary Clinton directly, instead just referring to “establishment politicians.”
“With all due respect – and I do not mean to insult anyone here – that turnout, that enthusiasm, will not happen with politics as usual. The people of our country understand that given the collapse of the American middle class, and given the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality we are experiencing, we do not need more establishment politics or establishment economics.”
He explained that his campaign represented an “unprecedented grassroots movement” that has prompted his rapid rise in the polls. Bernie Sanders explained his campaign would tackle central progressive issues – Wall Street, climate change, campaign finance, economic and educational inequality, immigration, and mass incarceration – by taking on the establishment, not by being a part of it.
That message might resonate with disaffected Democrat voters, but not with party elites.
According to Politico, Hillary Clinton was also working hard in Minneapolis. Her top aides made the rounds in the summer meeting, selling the candidate and alleviating concerns about the former Secretary of State’s email scandal.
A leak from her campaign revealed that she had 60 percent of the party’s super delegates, who aren’t subject to voter tallies.
Although those delegates can still change their allegiances, Clinton’s show of force will likely reinforce the delegates’ commitments.
Bernie Sanders still has a long ways to go with most voters as well. Newsweek reports the most recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Hillary Clinton led the Senator from Vermont 45 percent to 25 percent. Although that’s the lowest she’s polled since 2012, the 20 point gap will be an enormous obstacle for Bernie Sanders.
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