Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Why Bernie Lost New York

No, Bernie Sanders didn't lose New York because his supporters were disenfranchised. It was well understood that the state was a closed primary. The deadline for registering as a Democrat - or Republican - was last October. There was plenty of time for his supporters to sign up. Complaining now is nothing more than sour grapes.

And he didn't lose because of the interview he did for the Daily News that most objective readers felt was weak at best and deplorable at worst. Seriously, how many people do you know who actually read the Daily News for its politics? Or the New York Post, for that matter? I have a New York Post app on my smart phone. Know what I was reading this morning? The anemic offense the Rangers put up in game three of their best of seven series against the Penguins. I'll bet the ranch not one person who voted Tuesday even gave the interview a first let alone second thought.

The reason Bernie Sanders lost New York was because Hillary Clinton got more votes - a lot more votes. In fact she got almost 300 thousand more votes than Sanders. In a state he desperately needed to keep his nomination hopes alive, he didn't just lose; he got destroyed.

It comes down to demographics. Without independent voters, Sanders had to rely on registered Democrats to win and the simple fact is that almost 60 percent of them have been voting for Clinton. Indeed, the only states that Sanders has won that were closed were ones with a predominantly white population. And his two biggest catches in open primaries - Michigan and Wisconsin - were states that have an extremely progressive Democratic electorate.

When you break it down, Sanders has two core constituencies that overwhelmingly support him: young people between the ages of 18 and 29 and white working class people. In virtually every other demographic, Clinton is either tied with or substantially ahead of him. And two of those demographics - women and African American - will be critical in a head to head match up against Donald Trump.

In states that have very diverse populations - New York, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina - she has won, some handedly. Yes Sanders has had quite a run, but it's important to point out that he was the clear favorite in every state he won. The only surprise was the margin he took Wisconsin by. Most pundits thought it would be a lot closer contest.

And now the calendar turns on him. After his New York defeat, Sanders faces uphill battles in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island. All but Rhode Island are closed. And Clinton has solid leads in virtually all of them. Should she sweep, and she could end up doing that, her already impressive pledged delegate lead would swell even more, making it virtually impossible for him to catch her.

Bernie supporters can scream "fix" all they want, but the reason their guy isn't winning has nothing to do with conspiracies or the establishment or Wall Street. He just isn't getting enough votes, period. In school we used to call that basic math.

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