Every centrist and every Clinton supporter, at some point since the 2016 election, has heard ‘Bernie would have won!’ It’s a rhetoric that the left-wingers of the Democratic Party – so called Bernie Bros – are fundamentally sticking to. However, facts and statistics show that, no, Bernie wouldn’t have won.
In 2008, had Hillary Clinton been the Democratic candidate instead of Barack Obama, it would have been highly like she would have gone on to be President. This is because the primaries were so close, as well as the fact Clinton went on to receive almost 300,000 more votes than her opponent. However, the 2016 primaries were not a tight or even remotely close contest. Clinton finished with almost 4 million more votes than Sanders, leaving her opponent with a dismal 39% of the vote. After losing the primaries by a landslide, it shows the Independent Senator evidently does not have the sufficient backing from the Democratic party to win the Presidency.
Of course, Sanders did exceed expectations. The Senator received 1,865 delegates by the convention, which is somewhat impressive, noting Sanders isn’t a Democrat. But what scored Sanders those delegates were not primary elections, instead undemocratic caucuses. If on voting day, America adopted caucuses, possibly Sanders might have beaten Trump. Sanders’ supporters, the general election doesn’t function that way.
When we look at the primaries, and the demographics that Sanders appealed to, there is a clear reason as to why Sanders would not have won if he were the candidate. As shown from the Alabama special election last year, a demographic that is vital for the Democrats are African-Americans, especially women. Yet, in the primaries, Clinton not just won the African-American vote, but won 76% of the demographic. Former Democratic Presidents – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – were elected due to high apathy from African-Americans. After losing the African-American vote in primaries – by a landslide – it would have been highly unlikely Sanders would have received a high turnout from a demographic he failed to appeal to.
But why did Sanders fail to reach people of color? Why did he lose the female vote? The answers – his platform was fundamentally flawed.
When reading over his policies there is a repetition of certain issues. Increasing the minimum wage. The expansion of Social Security. Free college tuition. Oh, and the “top 1%.” It wasn’t a surprise that a demographic that Sanders did win included those that thought economic inequality was the most important issue. However, very few of Sanders’ policies directly covered women’s or ethnic minority issues. After calling Planned Parenthood a part of the establishment, and saying women’s healthcare was a distraction from ‘serious issues,’ it isn’t a shock that his main demographic included white males. From the beginning, his policies failed to gain support from women and people of color, and it is clear, Sanders would have failed in winning the Presidency.
All this said, Sanders would never have had to face an obstacle that contributed to Clinton’s loss in 2016 – sexism. Throughout the 2016 primaries, we learnt more of Sanders’ policies, very little about his flaws, and throughout the election, it seemed all was said of Hillary included, not policies, instead, her emails. Yet, if Sanders were the candidate, the one in the spotlight, and the one against Trump, his flaws and previous controversies would surface without a female candidate to hide behind.
Voting against gun control. His inconsistency on healthcare. The disturbing essays, in which Sanders believes women fantasize about being raped.
All these flaws, all these controversies, would all have come to light had Sanders won the nomination. And sure enough, these scandals would have held him back from the White House.
A scandal from Hillary Clinton’s past – well, more precisely, her husband’s – haunted her during the second presidential debate. After several allegations of sexual assault against candidate Trump came to light, the Trump campaign was quick to use Bill Clinton’s former sexual deviance against his opponent.
But if we had candidate Sanders instead, would it be any different? Answer: barely.
In the wake of Access Hollywood tape release, Trump would have used Sanders’ womanizing past – and his rape essays – against him. And, as the attacks would be against his opponent himself, rather than his opponent’s husband, they would have been far more affective.
As the debate for the future of the Democrat party continues, there is one thing that should be certain: Democrats, should not allow an Independent to fundamentally change their party. As shown from the primaries, his policies have an inability to reach women and African-Americans – the core of the Democratic Party. Take note, liberals, or be prepared for electoral failure in 2020.
Photo: Gage Skidmore