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Sci Tech    H2'ed 4/18/16

Sanders Can Win. Here's Why.

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Bernie Sanders at Tindley Temple Chapel in Phila
Bernie Sanders at Tindley Temple Chapel in Phila
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Hillary Clinton came into this election season with more advantages than any Democratic candidate in the last century.

Before even a single American had voted, Clinton had a 351-superdelegate lead. She had the best pre-election name recognition of any non-incumbent presidential candidate in a half-century. She had the implicit support of a popular incumbent president. She had not even a single half-serious primary competitor from within her own party. She had a massive, intimidating war-chest of funds as well as a near-infinitude of potential fundraising streams. She had the best-organized and best-funded super-PACs anyone has ever had. She had the gratitude of state Democratic parties across the country, having lined their coffers with funds both directly and indirectly for years. She had held the most high-profile president-like job (Secretary of State) for four years. She had a popular ex-president for a spouse.

Clinton had the support of nearly every Democratic-leaning organization in America. She had experience running for President and a team of presidential-campaign veterans at her beck and call. She had the Democratic National Committee in her back pocket, which ensured that she'd only have to attend as many Democratic debates as she chose. She had deep and longstanding support from within the media establishment. She had historical significance as the woman most likely to be the first-ever female President. She had eight years of White House experience and six years in the U.S. Senate. She had state election statutes that made it hard or impossible to either register or vote as an independent in most Democratic primaries.

Clinton had a primary schedule that put most of her strongest states first. She had the tacit agreement of media professionals nationwide that unpledged delegates could and would be reported in the exact same fashion as pledged delegates. She had as much time as she wanted to campaign, having no job at the time she announced other than voluntary non-profit work and for-profit speeches. She had the implicit assurance of CNN and MSNBC that she'd have a surrogate or supporter, and usually two or three, on every political panel they convened.

And she had a 60-point lead on her next-closest competitor.

It's now April 18th, and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been statistically tied in every single national poll taken in the last month.

Bernie Sanders entered the 2016 primary election a superlatively old -- and, to be honest, old-looking -- Independent socialist Jew with a bevy of Old-World tics (like talking with his hands), no fashion sense whatsoever, unruly hair, no super-PACs, and no national name recognition. The Democratic Party felt no loyalty to him, at either the state or national level. He was at three percent in the polls. He was from one of the smallest states in the nation, one of the ones that few outside New England ever talk about or think about. He had no money. He had no friends in the media. He had surrogates, indeed a diverse cast of them, but somehow they never got invited onto major-media political panels. He had a "fringe-candidate" sign on his back that it seemed he would never get off. He had no way to force Clinton to do more than four or five debates, all of which would be held, per the decree of the Democratic National Convention, at the most inconvenient hours. He had a penchant for blunt talk that seemed certain to sink him in a political climate where every mental lapse quickly becomes a meme.

I'm sorry, but the truth is that less than a year ago Bernie Sanders had absolutely nothing, and Hillary Clinton was better positioned to win the Democratic nomination for President than any Democrat in the year before an election since Franklin D. Roosevelt. That we pretend that any measure in which Sanders comes up short -- say, in his support among African-Americans -- is somehow a fatal flaw in the man and not a sign that absolute nobodies don't become household heroes in under six months is an insult to America's collective intelligence.

So it's time to get real.

And the sign that it's well past time for somebody to just say what most of America already knows to be true is that today Philip Bump of The Washington Post wrote a scathing editorial complaining that Bernie Sanders says his average contribution is $27 when it's in fact $27.89.

It's official: We've been through the looking glass for far too long, America.


Enough with a media so stuck in its own shirtsleeves that it can't take the long view of anything anymore.

Clinton is a bad candidate and the whole country knows it.

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Seth Abramson is the author of several books: DATA (BlazeVOX, 2016); Metamericana (BlazeVOX, 2015); Thievery (University of Akron, 2013); Northerners (Western Michigan University, 2011); and The Suburban Ecstasies (Ghost Road Press, 2009). (more...)

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