Hillary Clinton’s huge win in New York sparked the usual conspiracy theories. But exit polls show that demographics – not overhyped ‘game-changers’ – decided the race. (More)
“The New York primary is bullsh-t. … It’s voter suppression.”
So declared Ezra Koenig last night after Hillary Clinton trounced Bernie Sanders in the New York primary:
The New York primary is bullshit. Whoever wins – this is garbage. It's voter suppression. pic.twitter.com/M4hVyDljaG
— Ezra Koenig (@arzE) April 18, 2016
Yes, New York makes changing party affiliation harder than any other state. While new voters could register up until March 25th, the deadline for already-registered voters to change parties passed back in October. Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall cited several long-standing problems with voting in New York, arguing that those problems continue because the state rarely sees truly competitive races:
New York is a very blue state in federal politics; and there’s extreme partisan collusion in state politics. So no one is really invested in boosting turn out or making it easier to vote. Everyone (again, parties, organized interests, etc.) is either resigned to how things are or happy about how they are.
Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina – totally different story. But in New York, no one even cares enough to suppress our vote.
Yes, there were irregularities. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has asked for an investigation and legislative reforms after 125,000 Brooklyn voters were stricken from voter rolls, and many students at SUNY Albany thought they had registered, only to discover that the (unidentified) registration drive never delivered the forms to the County Board of Elections.
But Clinton won Brooklyn by a 60-40 margin – she won New York City by a 63.4 to 36.6 split – so the eligible Brooklyn voters who were dropped would likely have widened rather than narrowed her lead. The rightly-aggrieved SUNY Albany students may have numbered in the hundreds, but probably not in the thousands … and Clinton won the state by 284,605 votes.
And despite the grumbles of Sanders supporters, it’s simply irrelevant that Sanders won 50 of New York’s 62 counties. Indeed that echoes the quadrennial lament that most of the nation’s counties voted for the (losing) Republican … as if the few voters who live amidst vast tracts of farmland, forests, and mountains – not the 81% of voters who live in cities – should decide elections.
“Another day, another lost news cycle”
Meanwhile, from the Inane Punditry file, we offer this mega-turd from Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti:
Bernie Sanders had just arrived at the rally, and missed the incendiary remark entirely. Many on the senator’s campaign had never even heard of Dr. Paul Song, the speaker who had just commandeered news coverage of a massive Washington Square rally in New York by referring to “corporate Democratic whores.”
Nevertheless, by the next morning, the campaign was forced into full scramble mode. Cable coverage of the 27,000-person rally was eclipsed by reporting on the furor surrounding the comment, requiring a Sanders response. After first resisting an apology, the campaign settled on disavowing the remark with a tweet.
Another day, another lost news cycle.
Debenedetti continues, ad diarrhium, to explain how intensified media focus on Sanders’ shortcomings and surrogates’ gaffes stalled the ‘momentum’ of his seven straight wins and turned the tables in New York.
Please flush. I get that pundits obsess over each daily news cycle. But voters don’t, and – except for two late-March samples, both before the period Debenedetti documents – the New York primary polls barely nudged since January. Sanders was always likely to reel off victories in Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Wisconsin, and Colorado for the same reason that Hillary won both the South and almost every large, diverse northern state …
“It’s time to stop pining for the fjords”
… and that reason is demographics:
- Sanders barely won men (52-48) … but almost six-in-ten voters were women and Clinton won them by 61-39.
- Sanders barely won whites (51-49) … but four-in-ten voters were people of color and Clinton won African-Americans by 75-25 and Hispanics by 63-37.
- Sanders romped among voters 18- to 29-year-olds (67-33) … but five-in-six voters were 30 or older. Clinton edged Sanders among 30- to 44-year-olds (51-49) and won huge among the six-in-ten voters who were 45 or older.
- Sanders won by 59-41 among Very Liberal voters and 70-30 among voters who think the next president should be more liberal than President Obama … but Clinton won big among the two-thirds of voters who are Somewhat Liberal or Moderate, and by 74-26 among the majority of Democrats who hope the next president will continue President Obama’s legacy.
Simply, Sanders’ demographic and ideological base is too narrow to win in large, diverse states … and that’s why the Guardian’s Richard Wolffe invokes Monty Python’s ‘Dead Parrot’ Skit:
Like the Monty Python parrot, the Bernie Sanders campaign is no more. It has ceased to be. Its metabolic processes are now history. It’s kicked the bucket and shuffled off its mortal coil.
It has been an ex-campaign since Super Tuesday, when Sanders fell so far behind Clinton in the delegate count that he needed lopsided victories to get back into contention for the convention.
That didn’t happen in New York on Tuesday night. And according to the polls, it won’t happen in any of the big states left: Maryland, Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey.
Clinton will enter the convention with a clear lead among pledged delegates. On that basis, there is no room for Sanders to argue that the super-delegates should ignore the popular vote and the mood of the party to flip their support.
To the Sanders supporters who have already pressed send on their tweets, comments and emails: I know. It doesn’t matter. Numbers, facts, delegates, convention rules, logic, reason, actual votes, party unity: none of it matters.
None of that matters, Wolffe continues, because the Sanders campaign was never really about winning, or governing:
In reality, winning never really mattered to Bernie Sanders. The exercise of power was never the point, even if it became a self-delusional diversion along the way.
What mattered was ideological purity. Like all good Cold War-era socialists, Sanders was far more interested in critiquing the system than running it. It was always easier to feel morally superior than engage in the messy business of building a winning and governing coalition.
Thus, he has a message for Clinton and her party:
But it’s past time for Clinton and the Democratic party to turn towards the general election. They have an unexpected and historic opportunity to turn a victory into a rout: to win not just the White House, but to take back the Senate and quite possibly the House.
They could use the next two months to press their case, recruit down-ticket candidates and organize early for November. Or they could continue to debate the finer points of bank regulations and free trade deals.
It’s time to stop pining for the fjords, and start running against the party that Trump built.
I hope all Democrats – including Sanders supporters – can agree on that.
Photo Credit: David Becker (Reuters)
Good day and good nuts