Wisconsin, the Race Going Forward, and Hillary Clinton’s Patience

According to ABC News, Sanders won these demographics in Wisconsin:

  • He won 63 percent of men and 50 percent of women
  • He won liberals by 18 points
  • He won 78 percent of whites under age 45
  • He won 56 percent of nonwhites under age 45

Although you don’t hear this anywhere, he’s been winning a small majority of nonwhites age 29 and under just about everywhere except maybe the Deep South.  He also tends to do better than Clinton with younger women. He’s not so much the white man’s candidate as he is the younger people’s candidate.

You’ll hear over and over that he can’t win, but if you don’t count the superdelegates he’s only 250 delegates behind right now.  (By my count, Clinton has 1280 pledged delegates and Sanders has 1030.)  And that’s a lot, but making up that difference is not impossible, I don’t think, especially with several big states — New York, Pennsylvania, California — yet to be heard from. The most recent McClatchy poll has Sanders slightly ahead of Clinton nationally. But it’s going to be an uphill slog, no question.

Clinton is reacting to this as Clinton does, by going even more negative against Sanders than she was already.

One of her talking points is that Sanders isn’t a real Democrat. Like that matters, at a time when party identification is at a historic low.  Eric Levitz wrote,

It makes sense that Clinton isn’t sure if Sanders is a Democrat. But she needs to do everything in her power to make sure that he is one. Despite his independent label, Sanders has been a member of the Democratic caucus and a reliable vote for the Democrats throughout his time in Congress. He likens his political philosophy to that of Franklin Roosevelt. Ideologically, there is little distinguishing Sanders from Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown: He should feel comfortable in today’s Democratic Party. More critically for Clinton, his supporters should. In Wisconsin last night, Sanders once again notched a double-digit victory on the strength of his support among independents. Clinton needs to keep those left-leaning voters in the Democratic fold.

I hear from Clinton supporters that the PUMAs, or enough of ’em anyway, eventually made peace with Clinton’s loss and voted for Obama in 2008. But Obama didn’t treat the PUMAs the way Clinton treats Sanders supporters. For example, after the recent flap about accepting money from the fossil fuel industry, she said, ““I feel sorry sometimes for the young people who, you know, believe this. They don’t do their own research.” Yes, sneering condescension is a sure way to win people over.

This is from the Washington Times, but I’ve seen the quote elsewhere:

The Hillary Clinton campaign has “lost patience” and will start going after Sen. Bernard Sanders much harder and hoping to destroy his campaign, CNN reported Tuesday night.

In a report after Mrs. Clinton’s latest defeat at the hands of the Vermont socialist, reporter Jeff Zeleny said the Clinton campaign has decided that party unity can come later.

In the meantime, she will go after Mr. Sanders hard on issues such as gun control in the next two weeks before the New York primary, Mr. Zeleny said.

The question is, can Clinton win the nomination without doing it in such a scorched-earth way that it will hurt her chances in November? She needs those Sanders supporters she is alienating. Does she assume they’ll all be struck with amnesia? Some will vote blue no matter who, but a lot probably won’t (especially the independents and young voters) unless Clinton can give them a reason to do so.

Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver warned against such a strategy, noting that their primary has been much less personal than the Republican race.

“Do not destroy the Democratic Party to satisfy the secretary’s ambitions to be president,” he said on CNN.

If she wins the nomination the Dem Party may never recover.