Silver Lining for Sanders in NY: He Won More Votes and Counties Than Obama Did in 2008


An untold story of the New York Democratic primary is that Bernie Sanders did a whole lot better than most people think. Compared to Barack Obama during his 2008 Empire State contest with Hillary Clinton, Sanders won far more counties, a higher percentage of the vote, and more actual votes than the candidate who would go on to beat Clinton for the nomination and become President.

Back in 2008, Clinton's home state advantage helped her beat Obama in 61 our of New York's 62 counties. Earlier today, Sanders beat Clinton in 49 out of New York's 62 counties. You're reading that correctly: Clinton lost to Sanders in 4/5 of the counties--almost everywhere in the state except the New York City area.

Despite the state's large African American population and the opportunity to vote for the nation's first black President, Obama received a lower percentage of the New York primary vote than Obama did: 40% against Clinton, contrasted with Sanders' 42%. In absolute vote totals, Sanders will also surpass Obama's results, when the final votes are counted, by at least 10,000 votes.

The conventional wisdom likely to be reported during the next few days is that the contest for the Democratic nomination is over. The corporate media has been playing this mythical Clinton coronation tune since the primary began.

But the contest did not end for Obama when he failed to beat Clinton in her home state. And it is nowhere near over for Bernie Sanders.

Indeed, there might be a silver lining for Sanders in that he did as well as he did, considering Clinton was Senator of New York for eight years, is a Democratic darling of Wall Street, and had the allegiance--and endorsement- of every major politician and newspaper in the state.

Clinton's New York victory looks even less impressive in light of the fact that many independent voters, who overwhelmingly support Sanders over Clinton, were not able to vote in the New York primary. And because of strict registration requirements requiring a voter to change party preferences or select a preference six months in advance, a whopping 37% of New York City voters under the age of 30 were unable to vote in the Democratic Primary.

Yet even with more than a third of Sanders' most supportive demographic effectively disenfranchised from voting in the primary, Sanders still won 42% of the vote, keeping Clinton's home court margin of victory to about 15%.

This does not speak well of Clinton's popularity among voters in her home state. Obama's 2008 margin of victory over Clinton in his home state of Illinois was double the margin that Clinton just took New York with.

Another silver lining for the Sanders campaign is comparing Clinton's 15% home state margin of victory to how Sanders did a few months ago in his home state of Vermont, which he has successfully represented in Congress for 26 years.

Sanders won Vermont by 86% to Clinton's 13.6% of the vote, a margin of victory nearly five times larger than the margin that Hillary received in her overstate New York primary win.