Someone read a blog post of mine and told me it just show who frightened I was of a Bernie Sanders victory. That was weird, I mean why the hell would a Hillary supporter today be frightened? Had the guy even looked at any of the poll data? Bernie’s campaign is doomed. It’ll run for a while, and with fervor, but Bernie has lost the support of the majority of voters. He simply cannot find enough voters to win him the delegates he needs to win the nomination. He peaked in New Hampshire, as predicted (in fact as I said all along, and said beforehand he would, it was so predictable), and collapsed afterward, as predicted. The only surprising thing for me* was that his collapse is happening so much faster than expected. I mean look at Massachusetts. He is behind. He is behind so much–somewhere between 5 and 10 per cent–that the results while not certain for Hillary and very uncertain for Bernie. Bernie should be up 20% there now. Massachusetts is the state where, outside of Vermont, he should be massively popular. Which he is, actually, voters love him. Love him even more than Hillary, who is also very popular in Massachusetts, but those same voters will tell pollsters, over and over, that they would prefer Hillary as president because Hillary has the experience and skills need that Bernie lacks. The problem for the Bernie campaign in Massachusetts now is that after the New Hampshire win Bernie was about 20 points higher than he is now. So any Hillary win, or even a very close Bernie win, will be seen as a Bernie loss. He has to win by a solid margin for it to be seen as anything other than proof of weakened momentum in the most liberal part of the country. The fact that he is desperately struggling to hold Massachusetts is just indicative of just how much Bernie’s momentum after his big New Hampshire win has collapsed.
Nate Silver’s site, Five Thirty Eight, lists all the polls per state. You can see just how bad Bernie’s numbers are almost everywhere, you can see his support shrinking and Hillary’s both hardening and increasing as she picks up the undecided and seems to be taking away some of Bernie’s less attached support. This is is state after state after state. And polling, so far, has been fairly accurate. The flaws in polling in 2008 and 2012 seem to have been shaken out this year.
Bernie will still do well in many overwhelmingly white states that have very liberal Democratic parties that allow independent voters to vote in their primaries or caucuses, and he will do best of all in those states that caucus instead of holding a primary because Bernie’s core following are animated enough to attend caucuses in large numbers (though not in the numbers he was predicting, given Iowa and Nevada. His is a rather ill attended revolution). Unfortunately, too many of these states will be smaller states. Hillary, on the other hand, will win Texas, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and New York by large margins. And while Bernie people think they can take California because of his support among Hispanic millennials, just watch Texas on Tuesday. Hillary will probably take the Hispanic vote by a wide margin, if polls are accurate. Maybe 60-40. If that is the case, then California will be a massive win for Hillary. Unless he can wave that magic wand of his, the one that will make Republicans disappear when it’s time to pass his massive spending plans (and I wish there was such a wand), and make Hillary voters disappear, he loses. Loses big.
Bernie based his Revolution on millennials. Unfortunately millennials are, as 18-29’s have always been, the lowest voting demographic by far (and, alas, Hispanic millennials vote even less). Millennials vote in numbers that are a fraction of the older voters, and as such, older voters outnumber millennials, and older voters are as pro-Hillary as younger voters are pro-Bernie. There just aren’t enough kids 18-29 who vote to overcome all their aging parents and grandparents. Millennials outnumber aging Baby Boomers now by a few million, death’s sting and all that, but in 1972 those Baby Boomers outnumbered the as yet undubbed “Greatest Generation” by two or three times that, because their birth rate had been so incredibly high while the birth rate in the Depression had been low (forty somethings were in short supply in 1972). Plus old people died a decade sooner back when today’s baby boomers were 18-29. But, of course, Bernie also does better among Democrat-leaning independents, which is what carried him to that 20% lead in New Hampshire. The problem is, though, that those independent voters vote less than in primaries (and even less in caucuses) than actual registered Democrats by a large margin, and they can’t vote at all in states that are closed primaries or caucuses. Bernie also does better with whites than does Hillary (just look at his rallies, he even had white crowds at black colleges), but by a lesser margin that Hillary does among blacks and Hispanics. More whites vote for Hillary than blacks and Hispanics vote for Bernie. To make it worse, blacks vote in high numbers (indeed, black women vote more than any other ethnic demographic), and Hispanics, while they vote less than whites, are in huge numbers in certain key states, numbers so huge they can swamp any close white margin (that is, if whites vote for Bernie by 55-45%, a Hispanic margin for Hillary of 60-40% in a Democratic primary would be enough to overcome Bernie’s lead among white voters). Finally, Bernie leads in white males, about 55-45 per cent. However females vote for Hillary about 60-40 percent. Bernie’s problem is that he badly miscalculated the size of the voting bloc he thought he had, and sadly, his message was tailor made to appeal to only his voting bloc, because it is being rejected by everyone else. Successful candidates adjust their message (and how it is delivered) to appeal to different voting blocs. Bernie’s is one size fits all, no matter who he is talking to. It is unrelentingly the exact same. It isn’t working, and his speeches, his precinct walkers, his phone banks, and all his TV advertising actually seemed to increase Hillary’s turn out in South Carolina, even though he dominated the airwaves with ads and knocked on more doors. He spent millions and millions of dollars in South Carolina for nothing. He is spending even more across the South, and Hillary’s numbers keep rising and his dropping. He has virtually abandoned the whole region, all that money wasted. You’ll see him visiting specific congressional districts in states like Texas where he might be able to win–like that around Austin– since delegates are allocated in Texas by congressional district. He’s fighting a last ditch effort. Every day, almost, his window of opportunity shrinks, and it’s already almost a pinhole. All he can realistically hope for is a several hundred delegates–maybe even a thousand–to cheer their heads off when he gives one helluva speech at this convention. But his revolution, hopelessly bungled by the energetic amateurs running his campaign, will be a model of how NOT to run the next Progressive candidacy. Liz Warren is watching and taking notes.
Once several million more of us boomers die off (not that I’m hurrying anybody) and these wonderful overwhelmingly leftist millennials get to the age where they begin voting on a regular basis, then and only then will you see a sweeping change. My optimistic guess is 2024. By that year the Republicans will be (optimistically) so faded they cannot get the electoral majority they need to win the presidency–they can barely do it now, and already lost it for 2016–and we will have already won back the Senate and maybe the House, not to mention a mess of state legislatures so we can reverse their jigsaw gerrymandering and get more Democrats elected again. Again, I’m thinking optimistically. Texas will certainly be a battleground state if not a blue state (remember that California was a Republican state as late as the 1980’s). But looking ahead four presidential election cycles, to 2032, when that Hispanic half of all of today’s 1 to 5 year olds start hitting voting age, the red and blue United States today will not be politically recognizable at all. There will have been a dramatic realignment reflecting the steady shrinkage of the numbers of white Americans and black Americans (and, incidentally, Native Americans even more so) as the declining birth rates combine with the Great Baby Boomer Die Off to reduce the white and black population to the same negative growth rate seen now in most of the world’s economically advanced countries. (Japan’s population will have plunged by millions by then, in fact, and Germany today is desperate for Syrian refugees to bring down the average population age.) The Hispanic baby boom in the United States will fade, however, a generation later as the sudden increase in birth rate brought about by the immense waves of Hispanic immigration in the 1970’s-80’s becomes an increase in death rate as life expectancy is reached and that baby boom departs. It happens to all us boomers. We’re everywhere and then, in three generations, we are nowhere. Their kids will be having kids at close to the rate of everybody else, and the country will become more geriatric and less, even much less, young. Any predictions about that period are beyond me, but I’m always optimistic. And besides, I’ll be long dead by then.
In a bit of irony that would probably infuriate Howard Zinn, the change that Bernie wants so badly now reminds me of what is called the Jacksonian Revolution. That was when, in 1828, furious over centralized banking, the powerful Washington D.C. political elite and the undemocratic election shenanigans in 1824 that denied him the presidency despite having the most votes, Andrew Jackson led an electoral army that voted out what remained of the 18th century system that had ruled the country since the American Revolution. They threw a legendary inaugural party to celebrate, trashing the White House. Appalled, obsolete, unloved and unvoted for, what remained of the Federalist Party (who today’s conservatives trace their heritage to, not quite correctly) was atomized and disappeared. So might go the GOP, maybe. Great political parties have disappeared, like the Federalists, the Whigs. And Bernie, by then, will be seen as the prophet who predicted it all, a Democratic saint, but like Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and ’56, he just couldn’t get his shit together.
This just ain’t Bernie’s year.
*actually the only other surprise so far this campaign for me is that Bernie didn’t win in Iowa…I thought he’d take it by 5-10%. Right there it showed that he had organizational problems as was not able to get his voters out in the numbers he was predicting. Iowa is Bernie’s demographic, one of the top three whitest and most progressive Democratic parties in the nation, and with a strong pacifist streak. It was Bernie country, and his people fucked up.