Things are getting heated between Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, as the primary election date in New York gets closer. Thursday night, the two battled in Brooklyn, exchanging blows on issues the country is currently facing. Clinton still maintains a double digit lead, despite Sanders valiant effort campaigning in New York. The odds are slim that Sanders edges out a victory, but it isn’t because of his lack popularity in New York.
New York has something called a “closed primary.” This means that someone who isn’t registered as a Republican or Democrat can’t vote in the upcoming primaries this Tuesday. So, a person in New York can be registered to vote, but not able to vote for any of the Democrat or Republican candidates. A person has to be registered for either of the two major parties.
Senator Sanders has won seven out of the last eight states by large margins. He is currently leading Clinton in a national poll released during their Brooklyn debate. He is drawing rallies of people in New York by the thousands. A crowd of 27,000 people showed up to his most recent rally in Washington Square Park. It seems like the Sanders’ revolution is gaining a lot of steam around the country and in New York as well.
A poll released this past Friday by Marist says Clinton leads 57 percent to Bernie’s 40 percent in New York. 17 points is almost around the territory of a blowout. The question is, why does Clinton still have a huge lead over Sanders in New York despite his recent surge in popularity?
One major reason why he is losing so dramatically is because many of his supporters are not registered Democrats. Sanders has a lot of supporters registered as Independents and some of the smaller parties in America.
ThinkProgress reported that this past Thursday, 150 New Yorkers rallied in front of New York City Hall to demand open primaries. ThinkProgress conducted interviews with many of the protestors. Many New Yorkers feel like second class citizens because they cannot vote to choose their president all because of a label.
Sanders is going to have a very hard time campaigning in the coming weeks. The majority of the next set of primaries are closed. This is where Clinton could really take advantage of the voting laws in each respective state. Sanders is going to have to campaign really hard in order to make up for the lost voters.
Senator Sanders blew out Secretary Clinton in the Wisconsin primary, but that was largely do to the fact that Wisconsin’s primary is open to all voters. According to MSNBC, Sanders won independents by 72 percent to Clinton’s 28 percent in Wisconsin. The two candidates were split pretty evenly among voters who were registered Democrats.
Los Angeles Times’ contact reporter, Michael A. Memoli, reported this quote from Sanders on the matter at one of his New York rallies.
“We have a system here in New York where independents can’t get involved in the Democratic primary, where young people who have not previously registered and want to register today can’t do it.”
In his rally speech, Sanders brought up another interesting fact about voting in New York. Voters who have previously registered and want to change their political affiliations can’t do that either. The deadline was all the way back in October of 2015. Even if a person wants to change from an independent voter to Democrat, they can’t.
There is one advantage Sanders has over Clinton in the upcoming New York primary, though, and that is young voters. President Barack Obama used young voters to his advantage and orchestrated a huge upset over Clinton in 2008. Sanders may be able to do the same, but he has to keep encouraging the American youth to go out and vote.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]