In the 2016 election, there’s been a lot of rhetoric thrown around by every candidate and campaign, along with the supporters for each of these individuals. That’s nothing new, it’s just the nature of politics. The unfortunate part to a lot of this rhetoric is that, often, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Many of these things are comments that sound good – but don’t really contain a great deal of factual substance to them.
Take for instance one that’s been around for weeks concerning Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. For a while many pro-Sanders websites and his supporters have dismissed Clinton’s lead, claiming that many of her wins came in “red states” that aren’t likely to vote for a Democrat in November.
Sure, to a Sanders supporter that sounds like an excellent response to try to discredit Clinton’s lead. After all, who cares if she can mostly only win “red states,” right? Clearly, Bernie Sanders is the choice of the “blue,” liberal states.
The problem is, not only does this “red state/blue state” argument not make any sense, but it doesn’t really matter. In a primary election, every single state matters.
Honestly, this argument is rather silly for quite a few reasons.
1. In 2008, Barack Obama won many of these “red, Southern states” like South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton won states like California, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire – and we all know who went on to win the nomination and become president.
2. Of the 17 contests Bernie Sanders has won, 7 of them have been in very red states.
3. In key general election battleground states like Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Virginia and Nevada – Clinton has won all of them (supposedly Nevada could change, but that hasn’t officially happened).
4. While these southern states are, indeed, solidly Republican in the general election, she didn’t win them because Republicans turned out in large numbers to support her. She won these states (most by huge margins), because she crushed Sanders with the African-American vote. So, when you try to dismiss these states with large African-American populations, many that are in the South, in a way you’re basically trying to dismiss the African-American vote by essentially saying those votes aren’t as important.
5. When Sanders started his campaign, he said he was going to reach out to all 50 states because too many liberals had given up trying to compete in these strongly conservative states. So it’s a bit hypocritical for a guy who’s talking about political revolutions and increasing voter turnout to try to dismiss huge areas of the country because those Democrats happen to live in “red states.”
6. In states like South Carolina and Florida, two places Sanders was soundly beat, his campaign actually spent a whole lot of money trying to win there. It’s disingenuous to now try to downplay the significance of some of these victories in places he was clearly trying to win.
7. If you’re going to downplay the significance of Clinton’s “red state victories,” then why do Bernie Sanders and his supporters often brag about his wins in very red states?
8. Clinton currently leads by around 2.4 million overall votes – why does it matter what states they came from? Do liberals, progressive and Democrats in “red states” not have a right to have a voice in who represents their party in November?
9. As I said earlier, in a primary election, every single state matters. The whole “red state/blue state” doesn’t matter one bit.
10. As of now, Bernie Sanders is likely to be favored to win in the remaining “red states” (North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky) – are you telling me Sanders isn’t trying to win these contests because they’re not likely to support the Democratic nominee in November?
I’m really getting tired of hearing this ridiculous talking point being used by the Sanders campaign and some of his supporters. In a primary election, it’s about winning delegates – period. A candidate needs a whole lot of delegates, which means they need to win in many “red states” as well as “blue states.” So this nonsense that Clinton’s lead isn’t that impressive because many of her biggest victories “came in the South” is rather ludicrous, bottom line.
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