Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Can Bernie Win POC?

Matthew Yglesias thinks that Sanders can build on his victory in New Hampshire and start to erode Clinton's substantial leads among minority voters. I suppose there is some truth in that, as her numbers among minority voters have no where to go but down.

A few things Yglesias doesn't grapple with are the unique nature of New Hampshire and Clinton's relationship with Obama.

New Hampshire was made for Bernie both ideologically and geographically.  It was right next door to Vermont, and he is well known and liked there.  New Hampshire Democrats are a pretty liberal bunch, and Sanders probably would have won there, even if he had been from Oregon.  But the fact that he was from Vermont with an ideologically sympathetic electorate means that he was always going to win New Hampshire.  That doesn't mean he's guaranteed anything in Nevada or South Carolina.

One thing I think you will see is Clinton beginning to trot out Obama allies to support her.  It's already started.  She has tied herself to Obama as a way to subvert Sanders' appeal to minority communities.  By creating herself as Obama's heir - in ways that Sanders is not - she can remind African American voters in particular of her loyalty to Obama after a bruising primary in 2008.  This kind of echoes what I wrote yesterday.

Yglesias notes that minority communities - in the South in particular - tend to be risk averse.  Their status as minorities means they have to remember who their friends are and who has always been in their corner.  The Clintons pass that test.

Clinton's best friends right now are Elijah Cummings, John Lewis and Andrew Young in South Carolina and Harry Reid, Dana Titus and former Las Vegas mayor Jan Jones in Nevada.  Getting Julian Castro, Henry Cisneros, Ken Salazar and Bill Richardson out into Nevada would probably help, too.

I don't think Southern Blacks abandon Hillary.  But she might be vulnerable among Hispanics.

Sanders problem is getting vulnerable, risk-averse populations to take a gamble on him.  And he doesn't have much time to do that.

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