It Didn’t Have to Be This Way
Was the 2016 Democratic Primary the pivot on which the next half-century turned?
by Gaius Publius
I won't do this too often, but I will do it from time to time, because the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party continues to this day. I want to remind us all of what might have been, and why it's not. I believe if we forget the past, we risk losing the future.
Let's start here, with Touré:
As a longtime Hillary supporter I want to apologize to Bernie folks. I was wrong. I now think his economic populist message could’ve won.— Touré (@Toure) November 9, 2016
And move to this:
This Would Have Been The Electoral Map If Bernie Sanders Had Run Against TrumpThat Sanders–Trump map? It's quite a surprise:
Projected Electoral College vote counts in a Sanders–Trump race
Note at the top the Electoral College count — 303 Sanders, 235 Trump. For comparison, here's what actually happened:
Actual Electoral College vote counts (source)
The Electoral College vote, if all state votes stand, is Trump 306, Clinton 232.
States of interest are these (west to east):
[H]ow did this happen? And, perhaps even more intriguingly, what might have happened if Trump had faced Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton? ...I think the Michigan vote would have been much less close in a Sanders–Trump race than stated above. Sanders beat Clinton in Michigan by nearly 1.5%, and all of Clinton's vote in Michigan, a state hit hard by job loss, would have gone to Sanders — a Democratic Party change candidate in a change election in a Democratic state.
A closer look at the primary voting of white males — Trump’s strongest demographic base — in these states reveals that, had Sanders run, Trump likely would have lost.
In Michigan, for example, primary exit poll data shows that 56 percent of white males voted for Sanders. If we then consider how many white males vote in Michigan, we can extrapolate the data to conclude that Sanders would have won the overall vote in Michigan with about 48 percent of the vote compared to Trump’s 46.9 (as opposed to the 47.9 that Trump actually gained versus the 46.9 for Clinton).
Note also that this methodology considers swings toward Sanders among white male voters only. It's easy to imagine swings toward Sanders of other demographic groups as well, such as those millennials and independents who this time chose not to vote. For example, here are the millennial turnout figures for the last two "change" elections, 2016 and 2008:
- Millennial turnout, 2008 — 51%
- Millennial turnout, 2016 — 19%
Hillary’s 59,814,018 votes (which won her the popular vote, but not the Electoral College vote) is considerably less than the 69,498,516 Obama got in 2008, and the 65,915,795 he received in 2012. She was particularly hurt by low turnout in crucial swing states.Comparing the two "change elections" only, note those numbers. Clinton-2016 underperformed Obama-2008 by almost 9 million votes. It's easy to imagine the size of the Sanders crowds translating into increased turnout among all age groups.
White Male Vote in Other Rust Belt States
Using just the projected white male vote for Sanders and keeping all other voting patterns the same, the writer notes the following about other Rust Belt states.
For example, Wisconsin:
Primary voting for Sanders among white males: 60 percentAnd Pennsylvania:
Sanders’ hypothetical statewide performance against Trump: 49.7 percent Sanders, 47 percent Trump
Primary voting for Sanders among white males: 50 percentSimilar results are predicted for other states in our list. Again, this is just the adjusted white male vote. I don't imagine that Sanders would have lost any of the Clinton female vote, nor any of the black or Hispanic vote, and millennials would very likely have turned out for him in droves, making the margins projected in the article even wider.
Sanders’ hypothetical statewide performance against Trump: 50.5 percent Sanders, 46.2 percent Trump
Look again at that top map. Even without Ohio, Sanders wins.
That's the alternative universe in which Democrats went with their strongest candidate. In the real world we have President-Elect Trump. But it didn't have to be this way. Remember that through the next two painful years. Think of that also during the 2018 mid-term election, when we can finally make a change — to both parties.
And think about that also every time a Democratic Establishment office-holder betrays again the attempt to free the soul of the Democratic Party from the grip of corruption and money. The Democrats are now completely in the minority. They have no further to fall, except to extinction. There's nothing left to protect them from when the bought ones sing the old old blackmail songs — "Who else you going to vote for?" and "But, the Republicans are coming!"
Too late. The Republicans are here.