VAL 2016 | Bernie Sanders bygger en presidentvalskampanj från ingenting. Och det verkar lyckas. Han har börjat knappa in på Hillary Clinton.
I en tid när utmanare med budskap som utmanar konventionerna i respektive partier – Donlad Trump hos republikanerna och Sanders hos demokraterna – är det som entusiasmerar väljarna kan det vara en fördel att strunta i vad politiska rådgivare brukar viska i örat på presidentkandidater.
“Let the other candidates worry about the horse race; Bernie Sanders is worried about forever. It is the opposite of everything we’ve come to expect from the political process–and this year, being an opposite is the secret to success”, skriver Sam Frizell i Time.
Frågan är bara om det kommer att hålla hela vägen även om han, mot förmodan, skulle lyckas besegra Clinton.
Dåligt organiserade kampanjer har en tendens att förr eller senare göra bort sig.
Kampanjstrateger har också påpekat att Clinton är betydligt bättre på att locka färgade medan Sanders inte lockar väljare hos minoritetsgrupper i någon större utsträckning.
The Internet has killed the kingmakers. Freshness beats incumbency, while the perception of sincerity beats all. There is no room for focus groups in the elevator to the top of the polls; America wants its candidates straight up and packing a kick. This is how a squinty-eyed New Yorker goes from shooting his cuffs and hawking condos to the head of the GOP pack. It’s how Bernie Sanders can join the Democratic Party in April and by August be battling for first place in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Without a single TV ad–or a single congressional endorsement–Sanders has exposed the weakness of the party’s Clintonian establishment while at the same time spotlighting its hunger for an ideological savior. Polls now indicate that if the nominating contests were held tomorrow, Sanders would edge out Clinton in Iowa and beat her in New Hampshire by 10 points. Nationally, he has cut Clinton’s lead from an impregnable 46 points to a crumbling 21 points in just two months.
But even those metrics don’t convey the extent of the Sanders phenomenon. At Clinton events, campaign staffers section off floor space before her speeches to make her crowds look densely packed. Sanders needs no barriers. His audiences are authentically huge–28,000 in Oregon, 11,000 in Arizona, 7,500 in Maine. His volunteer army, meanwhile, though mostly self-organized online, numbers more than 182,000 people spread out from rural Alaska to the Florida Keys, people who have asked the campaign how to improvise events, knock on doors and spread the gospel from campus quad to living room to farmer’s market.
Sanders is all rallying cry. When the Wall Street Journal attempted to tally the cost of his agenda–trillions in new government spending on health care, 90% tax rates on the superwealthy, free public college, a Scandinavian-style safety net–his defenders criticized the effort.
“Carter, Clinton and Obama all ran against the party,” Simon Rosenberg, Democratic strategist and veteran of Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, observed of the last three Democrats to reach the Oval Office. “We don’t do coronations. It’s not our thing.”
The challenge Sanders faces is to build a campaign that can harness this energy effectively. His paid staff is growing rapidly, from four to nearly 40 in New Hampshire in just a month’s time. In Iowa, Sanders is quickly catching up to Clinton, with 54 paid staff to her 78 organizers. He’s set his sights on hiring in the Super Tuesday states.
He has volunteers eager to be involved in 47 states from Alabama to Michigan, where the campaign has no staff and no offices. In a largely unproven experiment, two staffers at the Burlington, Vt., headquarters are using conference calls, Internet chats, organizing parties and digital seminars to train hundreds of Sanders enthusiasts–who in turn are supposed to train other volunteers in rippling circles of self-sufficiency.
“The whole notion of self-organizing is a pipe dream,” says Marshall Ganz, a Harvard-based adviser to both the Dean and Obama campaigns. “One of the great values of the Internet is it’s a way to share information, but it’s not a substitute for relational structure and accountability.”
Clinton’s aides say they prepared for a strong challenger and they’re not changing course. The insurgent has been unable to break through with African-American voters, who could prove decisive in the later primaries. “Sanders may be rocking her with white progressives,” says Joe Trippi, a veteran Democratic strategist. “His problem is whether he can break Clinton’s domination of minorities. It’s a huge hurdle if it can’t be solved.” Clinton is still far ahead in nationwide polls, leading Sanders by around 20 percentage points. And her minions have begun to attack, sending out fact sheets that draw comparisons between Sanders and former Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chávez. “That is the kind of politics that I’m trying to change,” Sanders says of team Clinton’s attack.
Tidskrifsomslag: Time den 28 september 2015. Omslaget är den amerikanska upplagans.