Fresh off the heels of a narrow democratic caucus victory in Nevada on Saturday, Hillary Clinton should have some new, very real concerns about her campaign's viability going forward. Latino voters, Nevada's second largest demographic, selected Bernie Sanders by 8 points over Clinton (53 percent to 45 percent) according to NBC exit polling (yes, EXIT polling, not entrance polling).
This news shocked Clinton's Press Secretary, Nick Merrill, who responded to the numbers via Twitter calling them "complete and utter bullshit." The only problem is they're not. The Clinton campaign has since begun to spin a web of obfuscation, claiming the numbers must be wrong considering she won in Hispanic populated precincts, such as Clark County. While true, it does not change the exit polling results. Although Latino voters make up a large subsection of Clark County (30 percent), they are still a minority of the voting population which would explain why a win in those precincts does not directly translate to a win amongst Latinos. No matter how her campaign attempts to spin them, the numbers remain the same.
This result among Latino voters was a YUGE coup for the Sanders campaign considering just over a month ago he was polling 21 points behind Clinton among the crucial minority demographic. In a recent article, titled Sanders' Surrogates Are Berning Down The Clinton "Firewall", I explained why her so-called "firewall" with minority voters was a media myth, a view born out by Nevada's Latino caucus-goers.
This was a proverbial shot across the bow of the establishment narrative that Bernie may do well among young, white voters, but will falter among the broader democratic electorate. Since the primaries began early this month, and Bernie's astounding showing in them, the democratic establishment has unleashed an onslaught of baseless rumors, innuendos and poll-tested attacks on the Senator's record and character. This is something I have come to expect from Republicans, but never thought was a level self-respecting Democrats would stoop to. In an article earlier this month, titled 5 Conservative Talking Points Feel The Bern, I disabused five myths that were being circulated by the right, but it seems there's now a need to dispel five more being promulgated by the establishment left as well. Here they are, one at a time:
1. Bernie Sanders wasn't really part of the Civil Rights movement. Let's get the most ridiculous myth out of the way first. Following Sen. Sanders' historic victory in New Hampshire, the esteemed Civil Rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said of Bernie Sanders' activism, "I never saw him, I never met him ... I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton." This insinuation, apart from Rep. Lewis contradicting his own previous statements about when he met the Clintons (1991 FYI), obviously serves to inflate Sec. Clinton's involvement in the movement and diminish Sen. Sanders'.
Quite contrary to that off-handed dismissal, Bernie Sanders was an outspoken leader of the University of Chicago's campus chapter of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and, in 1961, organized a 15-day sit-in at the administration building to protest segregated campus housing. In the spring of 1962, he merged his CORE chapter with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), of which Rep. Lewis became chairman a year later. In 1963, Bernie Sanders participated in the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King and, after returning to Chicago, was arrested while protesting segregation at a South Side school. In contrast, Hillary Clinton was a "Goldwater Girl" in 1964. To be fair, she was 16 at the time so I won't fault her for sharing her conservative father's ideologies. However, to lead the public to believe that Bernie's Civil Rights record was anything less than impeccable, or that Hillary was somehow similar in her activism, is completely disingenuous.
2. Bernie Sanders is a single-issue candidate. In the most recent democratic debates, her political ads and even her victory speech in Nevada, Hillary Clinton has made the claim that Bernie Sanders is a "single-issue candidate", that issue being income and wealth inequality. Aside from the fact the "single issue" is actually the culmination of many issues, the Clinton campaign must either think the American people are ignorant or don't know how to Google. Sen. Sanders has made it abundantly clear in speeches, debates and on his website that issues such as tuition-free public higher education, climate change, rebuilding our nation's infrastructure, racial justice, equal pay for women, single-payer healthcare, campaign finance reform, comprehensive immigration policy, combatting ISIS, $15 minimum wage, etc., etc. are what he stands for in this election.
3. Bernie Sanders' supporters are all "Bernie Bros". Sen. Sanders has been asked time and again recently about misogynistic individuals known as "Bernie Bros". These "supporters" have allegedly made offensive sexist remarks online about Sec. Clinton and her supporters. Bernie has roundly denounced these so-called supporters of his, saying "Anybody who supports me and is engaged in sexist attacks is unacceptable, I do not want that support." In any movement involving millions of people there are bound to be a handful of bad actors whose motives and intentions are questionable at best. This is what the "Bernie Bros" represent, nothing more.
4. Bernie Sanders accepted speaking fees from private interest groups as well. Last year, Hillary Clinton made $675,000 for just three speeches given to Goldman Sachs. Since 2001, she and her husband have made over $153 Million in paid speaking fees alone (averaging over $210,000/speech). Bernie Sanders made a whopping $1,867.42 last year for three speaking engagements, all of which he donated to charity. To say it's like comparing apples and oranges would be the understatement of the century.
5. Hillary Clinton is more electable than Bernie Sanders. Finally, say what you will about the veracity of primary polling, but the latest national Quinnipiac poll pitting Sen. Sanders and Sec. Clinton against the top Republican contenders shows Bernie topping Hillary in head to head matches with each. Not only that, but Clinton actually LOSES in every one of those match-ups! In addition, Bernie's favorability ratings are 51 percent favorable to 36 percent unfavorable, whereas Hillary's are 37 percent favorable to 58 percent unfavorable. So, if your main concern is electing a Democrat to the White House in November, then you'd better start paying attention to who the American people think is better suited to do just that: Bernie Sanders.