It was shocking news to many when Bernie Sanders first beat Hillary Clinton in a national poll of Democratic voters; now, it’s a regular occurrence. In the aggregated polls, Clinton’s lead is just one percent — down from about 25 percent in December. The former Secretary of State still has a 212 pledged delegate lead against Sanders. Is the Vermont senator’s rising popularity too little too late?
According to Real Clear Politics, out of the four most recent national surveys, Clinton is still ahead in two, but many polls are so close it’s a statistical tie. The latest poll from the Atlantic/PRRI, for example, showed Sanders is up by just one percent. Clinton still has a slight edge thanks to a poll from Pew at the end of last month showing her six points ahead.
Clinton’s campaign has hit a number of obstacles that help explain the changes. Hillary is still the center of an FBI investigation because of a private email server from her time as Secretary of State, although she’s not been charged with any crimes and the President recently came to her defense, explaining that it’s pure carelessness.
Greenpeace attacked the presidential candidate because one of her Super PACs took millions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry, leading to an fierce exchange with an activist. She also took money on numerous occasions from the financial industry, a favorite talking point for her rival Bernie Sanders.
The latest controversy stems from her time as First Lady, when she defended her husband’s crime bill using the specter of “super-predators.” The word was controversial when introduced, and nowadays it’s often considered a code-word to mean African American youth. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Bernie Sanders confirmed that’s exactly what it means in a panel discussion at the Harlem Apollo Theater.
Sanders most recently said that Clinton is qualified to be president, but “something is clearly lacking” about her judgement, according to the New York Times.
On the other side, the Vermont senator’s presidential run was labeled an “issues campaign” at the beginning, but he’s now become of the candidate of young liberals and the working class. His campaign has suffered a series of challenges, as well.
During a recent interview with the New York Daily News, Sanders said that gun manufacturers should not be held liable for people misusing their products, and stipulated that gun dealers should only be held liable for making a legal sale in fairly extreme circumstances.
That interview led to the headline “Bernie Sanders Sandy Hook Shame,” referring to the Sandy Hook shooting. Hillary Clinton later jumped on the controversy, saying Sanders “wants higher standards for toy guns than real guns.”
PolitiFact rated that statement “half-true.” The quote had scholarly supporters and opponents on both sides of the legal question. Clinton’s camp tried to defend it by pointing to Sanders’ record of voting for safety labels for toys and abolishing the use of lead paint, but that did not satisfy legal experts on either side.
In any case, there’s little evidence the controversy has had a lasting effect on the Vermont senator’s campaign. Still, Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead is significant, and her enormous lead in super-delegate endorsements is difficult to overlook. As the Los Angeles Times explains, it would take a miracle for Bernie Sanders to win.
His supporters still have something to look forward to at the convention, even if their candidate can’t clinch the nomination. As the candidate has explained to NBC’s Today show, they will continue the revolution.
Some of the supporters have discussed an inside-out strategy for the Democratic National Convention; Sanders delegates will demonstrate inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, while supporters rally outside. The purpose will be to force the candidate’s policy proposals onto the Democratic national platform, persuading them to fight to break up big banks, renegotiate trade deals, and end big money donations from Super PACs.
Sanders technologist Zack Exley explained to The Nation magazine that this won’t end in July.
“This campaign is changing people’s lives and changing everyone’s idea of what’s possible. No matter what happens, people are going to keep fighting for the political revolution that Bernie helped all of us start. What’s more, these organizing teams, structures, and processes won’t have to be reinvented. They will live on… This revolution is only just getting started.”
With the rapid changes in the polls, there’s still good reason to believe the miracle can happen. The next big test for Bernie Sanders will be on April 19, when he faces Hillary Clinton in a closed primary in his home state of New York.
[Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images]