Bernie Sanders won four states to Hillary Sanders’ seven yesterday. While Bernie’s overall loss based on the numbers on Super Tuesday is disappointing, a closer look shows that Bernie’s campaign still has a strong chance of success. While Bernie lost in Massachusetts, it was only by a small margin, and he won strongly in the blue states of Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and his home state Vermont, all of which are much more similar to the remaining states in the race than those in which Hillary won. In order to understand why Bernie lost, we need to take a closer look at why Hillary won.
Bernie’s status of being a new player in the game is something which both restricts and empowers his campaign. He is a political outsider who calls for a revolutions on Wall Street and in the Capital, a refreshing idea for many Americans who are sick of the endless wars, unjust distribution of wealth, and the uncontrollable spending of career politicians. However, Bernie is still unknown and has to work hard to earn voters’ trust, especially the voters who already feel safe in voting for the Clinton name even with it’s flaws. Sometimes, as is shown in this election, being known for both good and bad decisions over time is better than being barely known at all.
This issue of trust in Hillary and unfamiliarity with Bernie is amplified within black communities, where Hillary has made it a point to connect and show compassion for black Americans instead of strictly focusing on the issues. Instead of making the grand statements of change that Bernie makes when he calls for social reform and movements towards social justice, Hillary connects to the voters’ emotions and holds more intimate gatherings where she allows those who have personally faced injustices to speak; Hillary tells the specific people that she will make things better, while Bernie tells the country that things must change. This can be quite well summed up in a statement made by David Graham in an article written for The Atlantic: “Sanders speaks to racism; Clinton speaks to black people.” While it is true that racism is something that must be changed, and that Bernie can get many voters on this platform, people want to vote for someone who addresses them directly, and unfortunately for black voters, especially in the south, that person is Hillary and not Bernie.
However, while Super Tuesday is over, Colossal Tuesday is right around the corner. On March 15th, Bernie has a great chance of winning in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, and Montana, states which can truly make or break both Hillary and Bernie’s campaigns. These states are not the surefire wins for Hillary that those she won on Super Tuesday are, and if the voter turnout is right, Bernie could win it big. And herein lies the problem; voter turnout. Hillary has the black voters and many of the older more center-aligned voters who aren’t as comfortable with the radical ideas that Bernie has for change, and unfortunately the younger voters who rally for Bernie and who could push his campaign to win are not showing up at the polls. We need to get voters out to the polls, and for that to happen we need to educate the voters.
Education and the general spread of information is vital to the success and possibility of a win for Bernie Sanders. Voters need to be informed and need to know how the political system works. Carol Coakley of MAPA is a strong believer in educating the public, and saw first hand when she was working in Bernie Sanders’ Worcester office in the past week how a lack of education truly impacts the polls. “We were just amazed at the ignorance on the street! People would answer their doors and be surprised that the Primary was on March 1st, some of them thought it was on March 8th!”, Carol said. Every vote counts, and if people don’t show up to the polls, we have marginal losses like the one suffered in MA by Bernie on Tuesday.
Hillary didn’t have a win in MA under wraps, but unfortunately the voter turnout pushed it in her favor. Hopefully with improved education and voter awareness, a win for Bernie is still possible. With significant wins in the states that are truly indicative of the rest of this race and only a narrow loss in MA, we cannot let the raw numbers from Super Tuesday dissuade us so soon. While Hillary is reliant on the Clinton name recognition to drive her campaign with a stagnant voter pool, Bernie is still growing and gaining voters, slowly draining the Clinton pool and gaining the momentum he needs to win.
Massachusetts Peace Action and national Peace Action endorse Bernie Sanders. Volunteers phone-banked from the office and home, calling our members and supporters and urging them to come out and vote for Bernie. In the last week before Super Tuesday, our board vice-chair Carol Coakley was on assignment with the campaign, helping to manage Bernie’s office in Worcester.
So, how can you still help Bernie now that the MA Primary is over? Many of us in the Peace Action community have connections in the states that have not yet voted, and of course all of us have a voice! We need to have the loudest voices and spread the word that Bernie is still the best chance we have for peace!
In his victory speech in Vermont on Tuesday, Bernie said “… 35 states remain. And let me assure you that we are going to take our fight for economic justice, for social justice, for environmental sanity, for a world of peace to every one of those states”. We were pleased that Bernie thus directly spoke out about peace, something that is extremely inspiring and can help drive his campaign! You can still look into ways to volunteer with the Bernie Sanders campaign on the campaign website www.berniesanders.com, and of course donations to the Sanders campaign help spread the word and educate voters to get Bernie the wins he needs to keep moving towards the White House!
To donate to the Bernie Sanders Campaign and to show additional support to Peace Action, visit this link (https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/peaceactionsanders?refcode=blog)