I Have Some Questions For Bernie Sanders Supporters After His Loss In New York

By now most people are well aware of the fact that Hillary Clinton won New York by around 16 percentage points – which is about the exact margin that polling guru Nate Silver predicted. Though anyone who had been paying attention to the polls heading into Tuesday night’s election knew that Clinton had been favored to win the Empire State from the start. So, while many Bernie Sanders supporters were certainly hoping that he would pull out the win, the facts going into the New York primary weren’t looking good for his chances.

Before going too much further here, let me start out by addressing the biggest “conspiracy” I’ve seen concerning the story of voter purges and irregularities New York. Make no mistake about it, this is a legitimate story where around 125,000 Democratic voters were removed from the rolls. This should not be happening anywhere in this country. We should absolutely be talking about what happened, why it might have happened and how to prevent it from happening going forward.

However, some pro-Sanders folks have been claiming that this was some sort of elaborate conspiracy by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to “rig” the election against him.

First, she won by nearly 300,000 votes – so even if every single one of those 125,000 people who were purged from the rolls happened to be a Sanders voter, he still would have lost by around 175,00 votes. But going beyond even that, to believe that this issue with voting registration led to Clinton’s victory is kind of ridiculous. For someone to actually believe that means:

  • The DNC and the Clinton campaign failed to “rig” the elections for the contests in which Sanders won – including key states like Washington, Wisconsin and Michigan.
  • Somehow there was a magic formula created by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to only purge the voters who were going to vote for Sanders – even though there was no way of knowing who was voting for which candidate by simply looking at their voter registration.

The question I have here is this: If these voting issues (which are something that need to be discussed and looked into) are part of some elaborate conspiracy to “rig” the election for Hillary Clinton, just how, exactly, did the DNC and her campaign know to target only Sanders voters without having any way to know which voter was voting for which candidate? While some Sanders voters were clearly impacted by this – so were some Clinton supporters.

Now on to Sanders’ Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver’s comments on MSNBC on Tuesday night.

During a segment where Weaver was presented with several different scenarios he was asked, point-blank, what will the campaign do if Bernie Sanders is trailing in both the overall popular vote and pledged delegates heading into the party’s convention.

And what was his answer? Oh, just that they would try to convince superdelegates to switch over to Bernie Sanders based on head-to-head polling results against Republicans.

Wait a minute – what? 

Isn’t this the campaign that once tried to vilify superdelegates as “un-democratic”? And isn’t this also the campaign that’s said superdelegates should side with the candidate who won the state?

I’m pretty sure it is.

Then how, exactly, does advocating as part of your “plan” to become the Democratic nominee involve claiming that the overall popular vote and pledged delegate vote (the two parameters that matter most) shouldn’t really matter and the superdelegates should side with your candidate, not because of who the voters chose, but because of – polls? 

Can someone please tell me how that’s not blatant hypocrisy?

What Weaver literally said was that, even if Clinton wins both parameters on which the primary determines candidates (popular vote and delegates), the superdelegates should ignore those results and follow what the polls say. Oh, by the way, these are the same polls that say it’s basically impossible for Sanders to catch Clinton.

How does any of that make even a shred of sense?

So, is the Sanders campaign now arguing that superdelegates shouldn’t align with the candidate who’s won more votes, delegates and states?

Because that’s essentially what Weaver said Tuesday night.

Look, Bernie Sanders has exceeded the expectations of practically everyone. He’s run a campaign that’s changed the Democratic party forever. He’s even made Clinton a much better candidate. It’s very likely he goes into the history books as someone who had a profound impact on the party going forward.

All that being said, there’s no rational or logical “path” for Sanders to win the nomination – not after New York. After losing Tuesday night (especially by the margin that he lost), his odds went from highly improbable to practically impossible. Sure, he might be able to chip into Clinton’s lead some, but he’s not going to catch her. Barring a political miracle, there’s practically no way that he goes into the convention leading in the overall popular vote and pledged delegates. Which means his only “plan” to become the nominee would be to try to convince the superdelegates to ignore the voters and choose him instead – a move that completely contradicts a lot of what he’s been saying during his campaign.

And if you’re really arguing that superdelegates should choose a candidate who’s trailing in both the popular vote and pledged delegates (which is very likely for Sanders), then you’re an absolute hypocrite. While superdelegates are somewhat controversial, if they’re aligning with the candidate who’s leading in the only two categories that actually matter, there’s not a great deal of “controversy” there.

What Jeff Weaver said Tuesday night doesn’t make any sense. Not only would this “plan” be the complete antithesis of basically everything Sanders’ campaign has been about, but Weaver’s argument isn’t even remotely rational.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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