Friday, April 08, 2016

How did Bernie Get Here?

This is --somewhat surprisingly-- never reported in the mass media, not even the pro-Bernie outlets, but is nonetheless well-understood by the cognoscenti: The reason Bernie Sanders --a grumpy old socialist who is not even a Democrat-- is the one running against Hillary in this 2016 primary is that no Democrat could do so, NOT that there weren't any qualified Democrats who would have loved to do so. Hillary Clinton has amassed so much power within the Democratic party by dint of her status as First Lady, NY Senator and the dozens of other roles she has played in the party over the last 20 years, that she is now demanding her just dues: nomination for the highest office. She has effectively attained such a tight grip over the party apparatus that no other Democratic-affiliated operative dare challenge her. The mechanics of this is simple: run afoul of her and she will divert DNC campaign funds from you, (or worse yet channel it to your primary opponent) and ensure that you never get to rise the party ranks through choice appointments and so on. Every Democratic politician knows this and so plays ball. They know that this is Hillary's time to run for the the Presidency and whether she is the best candidate or not, they MUST support her on pain of political suicide, because SHE has earned it.

Thus, no Democratic politician has taken up the primary bid in this election cycle. Biden and Warren, both of which could have been very viable challengers demurred in the face of the Clinton behemoth. Sanders, however, as a non-Democratic officeholder was not bound by this vow. Furthermore, he has never received funds from her DNC fundraising efforts, and as an independent has nothing to lose by not joining ranks with the Democrats on this or any other issue.

All of the aforementioned is well understood. But what just occurred to me today is something novel. If Hillary REALLY wanted to nip Sanders in the bud, she may have been able to do so. She may have dispatched some honorable progressive Democrat, such Elizabeth Warren, whom Sanders truly has enormous respect for, to prevail upon him NOT to rain on Hillary coronation parade.

But Hillary's didn't do this. The campaign probably reasoned that she needs some token opposition or else it the system may seem rigged or the media may not give the process enough desirable attention. What Hillary's campaign CLEARLY didn't reckon is that Sanders would be at this level of popularity --and rising-- both in popular esteem and delegate count. In the media, Clinton surrogates will of course continue to say that her nomination is virtually inevitable, that is "almost certain" to be the nominee, but this is all posturing in an attempt to manipulate voters, since no American wants to vote for a loser. Winning six out of the seven last primaries and being neck in neck in NY polls is alarming news for Hillary.

And so to restate: Hillary ALLOWED Sanders to run out of utter disdain for him. As a non-Democrat, Socialism-espousing, septuagenarian, she had no problem with him running at first. Now that he's thriving beyond anyone's (including Sanders' own) imagination, she's in a panic.

Anecdotal indicators on the ground seem to be pointing at a Sanders win come the NY Dem primary election day, April 19 2016. I am assessing Sander at even money beat Hillary in NY. The official polls are of course always behind the latest trend of Sanders' surge, so they're not much of help here, but they peg him at 10 points behind Hillary. Yet, I am amazed that the Predictit market is giving Hillary an 80% chance of winning NY.