Sanders still has a fighting chance if he routs Clinton in key, upcoming races, says award-winning author Robert McChesney
JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders squared off in three Western states on Tuesday, with Clinton winning Arizona and Sanders taking Idaho and Utah, sparking latest round of debate over the Democratic primary, with many saying Clinton has secured the nomination. CNN, for example, gives Clinton a 97% chance to win the nomination. But new polls of potential November matchups heavily favor Sanders, and could swing the tide of the Democratic primary in his favor. ROBERT MCCHESNEY: Well, I think the idea that Clinton’s lead is insurmountable is based on the idea that the superdelegates who have informally committed to her will not change their vote, and no matter what happens in the primaries they are locked into voting for Hillary Clinton. NOOR: Clinton’s current lead of 300 awarded delegates jumps dramatically if superdelegates are added to the mix. MCCHESNEY: Nancy Pelosi, among others, made it pretty clear that if Bernie Sanders wins the majority of the elected delegates, the idea that the unelected delegates would throw the election to Hillary Clinton, well, that would be a very controversial and dubious move for the party to make. It would in all likelihood to great damage to the future of the Democratic party, really destroy its chances of winning in the November election. NOOR: With superdelegates off the table, a different picture emerges. MCCHESNEY: If you look at that picture, Bernie can certainly catch up. It won’t necessarily be easy, but his chances are closer to 50/50 than they are to 20/80. NOOR: To catch up to Clinton, Sanders would need to continue winning states by wide margins like he did in Idaho and Utah Tuesday night. Some new polls show Sanders closing in on Clinton nationally. MCCHESNEY: He’s still getting massive support. People are just learning about Bernie Sanders in large parts of the country. It’s their first introduction to him. And it’s a very positive one. So the future, the immediate future, looks great. Saturday he will likely win blowout wins in Hawaii and Alaska, and Washington State, which is a large state. So then he’ll have five consecutive blowout 20, 30, 40-point victories over Hillary Clinton in races going into the all-important Wisconsin race. Wisconsin has always been a bellweather state for Democratic politics going back to 1960. It will be again this year. NOOR: Clinton does hold large leads in states with upcoming primaries and large delegate count, according to Real Clear Politics. MCCHESNEY: We have to take Real Clear Politics, what they are doing, with a grain of salt. Because if you look at where Bernie Sanders was in Utah, or Idaho, or even New Hampshire a month before the election, it didn’t show him winning by blowout victories, it showed him losing by landslides. So he has come a long way in all these states. And I think New York State will be interesting because really it’s going to test out a crucial hypothesis. The working hypothesis has been that the more people see Bernie Sanders the more they like him. That’s been true his entire political career, and that’s been true this year. It was striking that recent focus group work done by Frank Luntz, the guy who does all the work for Fox, who’s the Republian–of Republicans and Democrats just this week showed that the one candidate that both members of both parties respected the most was Bernie Sanders, the more they got to see him. NOOR: Which does help explain why Sanders has consistently out-performed Hillary Clinton against Republican challengers, including Donald Trump. A recent CNN poll found Sanders beating Trump by 20 points in November, and according to the newest Reuters polling data, Trump has been gaining on Clinton in a matchup, and is now beating her head-to-head. MCCHESNEY: What Hillary Clinton is closer to is money and power, like the Republicans. But when people abandon the Republicans, Donald Trump or any Republican, they aren’t looking for a pro-money candidate who’s pro-Wall Street. They’re looking for oftentimes a candidate who’s got honesty and integrity. And the sort of issues that Bernie Sanders has signaled as the issues that are important to him, single-payer health insurance, free college tuition, making wealthy people pay their taxes, these are issues that appeal across the political spectrum. These are issues that people who call themselves conservatives, and certainly independents, they respond to. They are much more attracted to Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton. NOOR: This year, a record 43 percent of the country’s voters identify as independents. They have been favoring Sanders by large margins in the primary, and would flock to Sanders if he faced Trump in November, argues McChesney. MCCHESNEY: Well, Bernie Sanders is going to grab most of those. Hillary Clinton is very unpopular with the Republicans, much moreso than Bernie Sanders, and has no appeal particularly to independents, either. No known appeal. Certainly not compared to Bernie Sanders. So I think that explains why in the polling, repeatedly, of all American voters, Bernie does much better than Hillary, usually, and at least as good a job, generally, in head-to-head matchups for November. NOOR: One big question remains: How much of the big money behind the Democratic party actually prefers Trump over Sanders? In a similar way, many of the billionaires in the Republican party would favor Clinton over Trump, because they consider Trump a loose cannon and don’t like his opposition to free trade. Sanders poses a greater threat to the interests of Wall Street than Trump does. This may also shape how corporate media covers the election; why they seem in such a hurry to write off the Sanders candidacy. Corporate America really does not want a president Sanders, and it appears mostly to be prepared to bury Sanders long before he’s dead.
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