Full disclosure, in an ideal world I prefer Bernie Sanders and his policies. They are what the doctor ordered for the country. After he underperformed for the second night in a row, his delegate count is behind where he was in 2016. He has vowed to stay until I suspect the next round. He is correct in stating that he has won the ideological race with younger voters. However, in particular, the bottom of this demographic still refuses to materialize.
As usual, a slew of excuses are flying. They include long voting lines at colleges. Why? Apparently the DNC has control over even local elections officials. I am not making light of voter suppression, but long lines are a reality for most voters around the world. And in other nations, the young manage to vote.
Even in states like California that have taken steps to make this much easier, the excuses are rife. Here are some I heard.
But I had to work! In California that particular voter could have requested a mail-in ballot, even if a no party preference voter. That same voter could have sat at home with a cold glass of Hard Mikes, in his or her slippers, petting the cat, while listening to YouTube. And if this voter did not even have a stamp, the postal service would still deliver.
Yet, many younger people who liked Sanders…had to work and could not be bothered.
Then there is the other jewel that I heard from a Sanders fan, but not a voter. This kid, let’s call her Jane, worked her ass off. She made calls, attended rallies, and Facebooked. But vote? That’s for old people. She could not be bothered because she heard from her media influencers that it was rigged, so why bother? Jane, you vote to make them work at stealing your vote…and it’s good practice.
This is far more widespread than you think. I heard this also from a nephew, who is not planning to vote, perhaps ever. Why? It’s rigged. It’s time for youth to develop a different attitude. Vote, someday it may matter. But as long as they sit it out, no matter how many rallies, or petitions, or even phone calls, why would politicians care? It’s a fact, that politicians do not listen to those who don’t vote. Yes, there is money as well and special interests, but if you give up that fundamental right, why would they listen?
And while anecdotes are not statistics, the kids still voted at lower rates than 2016.
If this trend somehow changes in the coming contests, then it is possible that Sanders might overcome Joe Biden, but it is very unlikely. Sanders gave a speech today where the tone softened greatly. He was counting on growing the voting base with this younger demographic. Now he is facing the prospect of having to concede. I expect him to suspend his campaign before the convention and endorse Biden. One reason, Donald J. Trump. Both men know how critical it is to win in November.
Bernie or Bust…DemExit
Like 2016 we are seeing this again. Yes, I understand the anger and the need to grieve. Which is one reason to remove that scab sooner rather than later. It will mean time for people to find their way forward.
However, some will never vote for anybody but Bernie. This has its own issues since movements cannot depend on one person to grow. They need to build on past achievements, and at this point, this should transfer to creating a viable progressive caucus in Congress. It should also go into building local leadership and founding progressive organizations. This means work, and it is not going to happen if people take their toys and go home.
Some will sit it out. Of that I am positive. The question is whether those voters can be replaced by others. And personally I am not going to ask, or beg.
The Blue Wave…
So who showed up at the polls? It wasn’t the youth vote. We know this from hard data. However, returns looked like the blue wave of 2018. This is an older, more conservative, blue wave. It is the voter base that gave Democrats the House. This is also a voter group that trends more independent and will change parties as the situation changes. They are what once we called soccer moms.
This was a critical part of the wave, and they voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Then there were the more conservative and older Southern African American voters. But it was not just them. African Americans showed up in Detroit for Biden. These are voters who mostly sat it out in 2016. Sanders won Hispanics in the Southwest. I am positive most of these voters will show for Biden in November.
Why? It’s not like voters care much for Biden. In fact, Sanders acknowledged that he has lost the electability debate. People are afraid, period. The Trump administration has created chaos, and many voters who liked that, in the beginning, are tired of it.
It’s not that many voters expect change from Biden. Unlike in 2008, this is a fear election. The Coronavirus pandemic and the economy freezing is a crisis. It is a black swan. However, we must ask, are Democrats only capable of winning in the middle of a stomach-churning crisis? If this is the case, then progressives should start the work of taking over their party. And I will not breathe easily until it’s called in November.
Incidentally, I am one of those millions who will vote for whoever is the candidate in November. I did my duty during the primary. And I would like to give you a piece of advice, which I learned the hard way. Never get attached to a candidate. It’s not good for you. It also clouds the mind. Policies can happen from other people, not just one.