VAL 2016 | Bernie Sanders har lovat jaga Hillary Clinton hela vägen till demokraternas eget partikonvent.
”We’re in it for the long haul. We’ll win some states, we’ll lose some states. We’re going to the convention.” Detta var Sanders löfte när han nästan lyckades slå Hillary i Iowa.
Hans kampvilja har tvingat Clintons lite småtråkiga kampanj at bli lite mer snabbfotad. Han har fått Team Clinton att inse att man inte kan ta något för givet i denna valrörelse.
Och man kan definitivt inte ta något för givet med Donald Trump som motståndare. Han har varit undervärderad under hela sin valrörelse.
Mark Binelli har i Rolling Stone studerat dynamiken i demokraternas valrörelse.
The morning after Super Tuesday, as many pundits were writing Sanders’ obituary, his campaign held a press briefing in Burlington. ”We had a fantastic night,” campaign manager Jeff Weaver insisted, acknowledging that ”we shot for five [states] and got 4.9.” Sanders had won Vermont, Colorado, Oklahoma and Minnesota and lost Massachusetts by the thinnest of margins. ”We did not target 11 states yesterday,” Tad Devine, a senior adviser to the campaign, explained, describing Super Tuesday as ”the single best day” for Clinton on the campaign calendar in terms of geography and demographics.
”These arguments about the delegate math, I have to say, as someone who spent a lot of time in the Eighties working on this topic, I view the analysis as being, frankly, shallow, and representing not a real understanding about how the modern nominating process works,” Devine said. ”I know there’s a lot of number crunchers who think they know how this process works and conclude the race is over. I would suggest understanding the dynamics of a modern presidential campaign requires more skills than arithmetic.”
Devine went on to sketch out a Sanders path to victory, pointing out how the geographic diversity of the senator’s Super Tuesday wins proved they could rack up a string of wins as the primary season moved out of the South and into friendlier territory. At one point, he even suggested that pledged delegates – that is, the delegates won at the voting booth – might switch to Sanders if Clinton stumbled badly, an oddly undemocratic pitch from a campaign focused on the rights of the little guy.
Added the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who attended a half-dozen Sanders events in Iowa and New Hampshire, ”I’ve been doing this for 20 years now, and there’s something special about the Sanders voter. You can see it in their eyes: They believe they’re onto something, and that the rest of America will discover it in time. This is not Don Quixote to them. They think they can change the political process.”
Even before Super Tuesday, Luntz considered Clinton the likely nominee. But he also told me about a recent poll he’d conducted with Snapchat, in which, among 18-to-26-year-olds, Sanders was more popular than Barack Obama. ”He has really taken that generation by storm,” Luntz says. ”He is everything they have been waiting for. He’s not political, he’s more focused on policy. Whereas Clinton plays politics the way it was played 20 years ago when her husband was president.”
In the view of the Democratic pollster Peter Hart, Clinton’s biggest challenge is that ”voters think she’s competent, but they’re less convinced on compassion, and they’re downright skeptical when it comes to integrity.”
That said, the incredible stakes manifested by the spectre of a President Trump have started making even Clinton’s platitudes (”I know it sometimes seems a little odd for someone running for president, these days, in this time, to say we need more love and kindness in America. But I’m telling you, from the bottom of my heart, we do”) sound like necessary truths.
The primary fight with Sanders has also certainly transformed Clinton into a much stronger candidate: She’s more relaxed, and there’s a deeper focus and urgency in her message. According to a story in The New York Times, Team Clinton has been preparing to bloody Trump with the help of ”two prominent surrogates”: the Big Dog himself, Bill Clinton, who ”would not hold back on the stump” in order to blunt Trump’s ”ability to sway the news cycle,” and President Obama, ”who has told allies he would gleefully portray Mr. Trump as incapable of handling the duties of the Oval Office.”
Will that be enough, in these days of revolt? ”The key is, how does she handle Phase Two and Phase Three of this campaign?” Hart, the Democratic pollster, says. He isn’t as worried about the schism that’s been playing out in the primary. ”It’s different from other years, where there would be irreparable damage for a long time,” he says. ”I’m not of the belief that everyone who voted for Bernie looks at Hillary and says, ‘There’s the enemy.’ This is a situation where I think, by the time the Democrats go to the polls, the differences will be joined.”
Tidskriftsomslag: Rolling Stone, 24 mars (nr. 1257), 2016.