Sanders' Strong Showing In New York Doesn't Matter


The New York Times' April 20 opinion page could be used as a textbook example of why so many people loathe the press.

Headlined "A Homecoming, and a Triumph, for Hillary Clinton in New York," the story was penned by longtime Clinton reporter -- and unofficial campaign supporter -- Amy Chozick.

It's breathless. The story lovingly describes how the Democratic front-runner "danced the merengue in Washington Heights," how she "slammed down a mean game of dominoes in East Harlem," how she relaxed, basked in the love she received from New Yorkers, and even "broke her long-held rule of not eating in front of the news media by digging into an ice cream concoction named the Victory."

Without even acknowledging the recent controversies about crime and incarceration that have dogged the candidate, Choznick unironically describes the former New York senator taking the stage to “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys and Jay Z to celebrate her "triumph," as if she were a conquering Roman general receiving her laurels on the Palatine Hill.

That story ran parallel to a column with the headline, "Should Bernie Sanders Call It Quits?"

It's a reminder that, regardless of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont's hard-won victories, his success in making the Democratic primary a competitive race, and his streak of winning seven of the previous eight primaries before New York, the classic liberal wing of the Democratic party is firmly in the pocket of Clinton, and even a marginal victory is celebrated as a crushing victory for the inevitable Democratic nominee.

The next time one of Sanders' dejected supporters looks wistfully at the superdelegate count and asks why Sanders has 45 percent of voter-granted delegates, but only 7 percent pledged delegates, point them to the April 20 New York Times story. Remind them that, while Sanders was drawing tens of thousands to rallies with talk of political revolution, Clinton was holding "intimate" affairs, hobnobbing with the moneyed and powerful who make the real decisions about who gets to be president.

Why else would Wall Street's biggest banks and executives continue to open their wallets for Clinton while she "talks tough" on cracking down on them?

For Sanders supporters, the depressing truth is that their candidate had an impressive showing, probably better than he could have hoped for, but it doesn't make much of a difference. Clinton's "crushing' victory, in her adopted home state where she called in every favor she's earned in 15-plus years, earned her 139 delegates to Sanders' 106.

That's hardly a landslide. Depending on perspective, it might even be described as a case of a candidate just squeaking by in what is supposed to be her power base.

Yet it will help feed the narrative that Clinton has regained the momentum and, with more states favorable to Clinton on the horizon, it will threaten to make Sanders' streak a distant memory.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there remains only one possible path for Sanders to take to the nomination, and it's not a path he can access of his own accord. If the Department of Justice indicts Clinton on charges related to her State Department email scandal, the former secretary of state's campaign might -- might -- be derailed.

Clinton herself seems absolutely sure that's never going to happen, conveniently lumping anyone who has concerns over treating national secrets like email chain letters in with the "vast right wing conspiracy" to take her down.

"I know that they live in that world of fantasy and hope because they've got a mess on their hands on the Republican side," Clinton famously said on NBC's "Today" show. "That is not going to happen. There is not even the remotest chance that is going to happen."

That sounds like a candidate who's gotten some serious guarantees. And if American political operators can make back-room deals to freeze Sanders out of the superdelegate pool, and forfeit voter primaries in favor of handing Colorado's delegates to Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, then why is it so hard to believe Clinton hasn't made a deal with with President Barack Obama and his partisan Department of Justice?

Sanders has run a praise-worthy campaign, and he's left his mark on the Democratic party with his talk of revolution. But he's also proven that, especially in the U.S., you can't force a revolution when all the money and power is in the hands of your opponent.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: The New York Times (2) (3), Real Clear Politics (2) / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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