Bernie Sanders has reason to feel good heading into Tuesday’s primary elections. Not only did he stay alive and survive his anticipated stream of southern defeats by Hillary Clinton, he picked up a useful number of states of his own along the way and now he is poised to show his real strength in the big industrial states with collapsed economies that he knows should be his real source of strength.
Also, the finances of his campaign are far healthier and better run than Clinton’s as usual enormous, bloated and cash guzzling effort.
Last week’s “miracle in Michigan” give Sander san enormous boost right when he needed it. Not a single poll gave him victory in Michigan.
According to the Clinton camp, within the past week they were 17 points ahead of him. Memo 1 to Hillary: Fire your pollsters.
Even Bernie, the most quintessential of optimists clearly had not expected to win. The math of the race is still against him. The Democratic Party establishment are as determined this year to elect Hillary over him as they were in 2008 to elect Barack Obama over Hillary.
But Hillary has just shown yet again her glass jaw. And she has been unable to flatten Bernie. She has no “big punch.”
She cannot even fend off a 74-year-old Jewish socialist from Brooklyn with a hairdo the world has not seen since the heyday of Albert Einstein.
He cleaned her clock in a major Midwest state that is “must-win” in November. Large numbers of young Hispanics are flocking to Bernie. Even Hillary’s support among younger African-Americans is eroding.
White males find her toxic in droves. And that is only among the Democrats.
Even with Bernie bringing new voters into the race, total Democratic primary turn out is way, way down on 2008 while, thanks to Donald Trump, Republican vote primary turn out is more than double for the Dems.
Hillary thought she could coast home on the rolling waves and gentle breezes of an adoring and united party. Instead, a 74-year former mayor Burlington, Vermont and a speaking style out of the 1930s is hanging in and scoring points, winning key rounds. After his Michigan upset, he had taken nine state primaries and caucuses to her 12.
If she is this weak when the wood is green, how will she do against a serious Republican challenger in the mainstream election when the wood is dry?
Hillary can still win if the Republican Party splinters, which could certainly happen.
But so far, her triumphal march to the presidential nomination looks instead, as I’ve said before, like the long, slow, joyless, slog of Czar Nicholas II of Russia’s Baltic Fleet 1904-5 20,000 miles round the world only to be destroyed at the Battle of Tsushima in May 1905.
Hillary’s campaign guzzles money the way the Russian Baltic Fleet gulped down half a million tons of coal. Her campaign keeps getting embarrassed, upended and taken by surprise. Its planning in Michigan has been widely recognized as sloppy, complacent and predictable.
The Republicans could certainly blow themselves apart over the spring and summer. But if Donald Trump survives the endless old establishment intrigues to bring him down he could lead an enthusiastic, energized grassroots movement in the fall national campaign locked and loaded to blow Hillary to shreds.
In other words, the Battle of Tsushima all over again, when the entire Russian Navy after a voyage of 20,000 miles and seven months went to the bottom of the China Sea in less than two days.
The hundreds of super-delegates pledged to Hillary should note the parallels – and plan accordingly.
Martin Sieff is the author most recently of Cycles of Change, a study of the patterns of American politics from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama (Amazon-Kindle, 2015). Visit Martin at MartinSieff.com
Martin Sieff is a former senior foreign correspondent for The Washington Times and former Managing Editor, International Affairs for United Press International. Mr. Sieff is the author of “That Should Still Be Us: How Thomas Friedman’s Flat World Myths Are Keeping Us Flat on Our Backs” (Wiley 2012) and “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East” (Regnery, 2008). He has received three Pulitzer Prize nominations for international reporting.