Hillary Clinton’s camp probably thought they’d win the California primary in a walk. That was before Bernie Sanders came along.
The Vermont socialist is siphoning off some of the Democrats natural base of young “progressives” looking for the next fashionable, flaky far-left cause to latch onto. A “Bernie” bumpersticker on their electric car looks perfect next to the “Free Tibet” and “Coexist” ones.
But bumperstickers aren’t ballots. Who will really win the Democratic race on voting day next Tuesday?
The Los Angeles Times crunches the latest poll numbers:
As he has done across the country this primary season, Sanders commands the support of younger voters by huge margins in advance of Tuesday’s primary — even among Latinos and Asians, voter groups that Clinton easily won when she ran eight years ago. Many of his backers come from a large pool of voters who have registered for the first time in the weeks before the election.
Yet, Tuesday’s outcome remains difficult to predict, precisely because of the untested nature of Sanders’ following. That portends an intense fight in the final days of the campaign. (…)
As he has elsewhere, Sanders benefits here from party rules that allow registered nonpartisan voters — known in California as “no party preference” voters — to take part in the Democratic primary. Among nonpartisans who were likely to vote, he led by 48%-35%.
Sanders’ chances of victory rest on big turnout of voters who typically don’t vote in primaries and who — in the case of the nonpartisans — will have to navigate complicated voter rules to request a Democratic ballot.
“His base of support is young voters, low-propensity voters and [nonpartisan] voters. Not only does he have to turn them out by election day, but he has to educate all those nonpartisan voters” to request a Democratic ballot, said Dan Schnur, the poll director who heads USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.
The trouble is: Young people talk a lot about politics but they don’t tend to turn up to vote — especially if casting a ballot for Bernie is as complex as it sounds.
Regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, Hillary Clinton will likely cinch the nomination, but for the first time in years, this will leave millions of Democrats angry and disillusioned. Those aren’t the kinds of “supporters” a party wants going into November.
Credit: Los Angeles Times