Bernie Sanders won the debate--at least on the internet.
I, like tens of thousands of liberal young college students, joined with the hive-mind and watched the debate surrounded by friends and various WiFi enabled technologies. As soon as the debate ended, I began scouring the web for polls.
Two hours later, a stark and striking contrast began to present itself.
Slate.com trumpeted Hillary's outstanding performance and handy victory...yet Slate's own online poll had 75% of respondents declaring Senator Sanders the winner.
CNN declared Clinton's victory a "confident sweep," yet again, CNN's own Facebook poll had Sanders winning at 79 to 84% of online voters.
Time Magazine posted its response, entitled "Clinton in Control." But again, in Time's own online poll Senator Sanders garnered the votes of 71% of an astounding 76,400 unique respondents.
Even Forbes had to acknowledge Bernie's internet dominance--the Senator received three times as many new Twitter followers in the course of the debate than Secretary Clinton.
Now, these numbers are obviously not dispositive. Online polls are notoriously fickle, and hard to confirm in any sort of scientific way. But they do tell us something--Bernie Sanders is the clear favorite of internet savvy Democrats (read; millennials, also known as the same people that voted for Barack Obama). The sort of people that would go out of their way to track down every poll possible and cast a digital vote are overwhelmingly Sanders supporters--and these are the same sorts of people who, like myself in 2012, will wake up at 5 a.m., drive down to the local firehouse, and cast a vote for their candidate.
How is it that the professional pundits can be so confident of the old guards continued success--while tens of thousands are so overwhelmingly convinced otherwise?
I'm not saying the professional analysts ought to take my opinion on the thing, but doesn't the internet's response warrant consideration? Shouldn't Clinton's alleged victory be tempered by these numbers?
Perhaps there is an edge of cynicism in their predictions, it's often said that Clinton is the only Democrat capable of checking Donald Trump and Ben Carson's terrifying rise to prominence and viability.
But this is a bit of a red herring. Real Clear Politics, in an aggregate of 4 separate polls (including Quinnipiac) has Sanders beating Trump in a general election by over 4 points.
This all is starting to look a little bit like 2008 all over again, and perhaps that's why the professionals have been so swift to declare Hillary Clinton the winner by knock out.
Is it possible that a firebrand self-described Democratic Socialist from Vermont viz-a-viz Brooklyn, to rob Hillary Clinton of her crown?
Barack Obama certainly snatched it 7 years ago.
And we've all seen how the Clinton camp responds to populist, insurgent, dark-horse candidates--that is to say, not well.
But Bernie Sanders is no Barack Obama, and smarter minds than mine will crunch these numbers, weigh them, and make their predictions. But as it stands tonight, a few hours out from the debate, Bernie Sanders is the man to beat--at least on the internet.