The path to a Bernie victory

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Bernie Sanders can win. On Super Tuesday, Clinton won in “red” conservative states of the South, which Democrats will lose in the general election, while Sanders ran close or won in “blue” states that actually vote for Democrats in the general. There are voters in many states who haven’t voted yet.

Sanders had a big victory in Colorado thanks to millennials and Latinos. Caucuses in this state are only open to registered party members. The state added nearly 30,000 registered Democrats in recent months. Quite a few people probably joined the party just to caucus for Sanders.

The Democracy Now radio/TV show focused on what happened here.

Colorado has a burgeoning Latino population and they are nearly 15 percent of eligible voters in the state. Erika Andiola, the national Latina press secretary for Sanders said Bernie had a disadvantage in Colorado where Clinton “has been very well known within the Latino community, but she didn’t have the Latino community entirely on her side. I think Bernie [gains support] every time he speaks and the more and more momentum we gain, the more Latinos are able to learn who he is and the message that he brings. And more and more Latinos are getting tired of the establishment.”

Dulce Saenz, the Colorado state director of the Sanders campaign, said Bernie appealed to the independent pioneering spirit of Colorado where one-third of registered voters are unaffiliated with the other two-thirds divided equally between Democrats and Republicans. Saenz is an immigrant from Mexico who grew up in Weld County “which is about 25 percent Latino. And it’s a county in which we won by a substantial margin, as well,” she said.

Saenz also noted the Sanders campaign reached out to the large native-born Chicano “the border crossed me” population as well as immigrants.

Sanders’ success is more impressive when you consider that the entire Democratic leadership supported Clinton. The Clinton campaign held a quiet small-crowd press conference with prominent elected officials speaking when they rolled out their endorsements. By contrast, the Sanders campaign held an enthusiastic rally of about 100 people waving signs in English and Spanish. Three members of the Colorado state legislature endorsed Bernie: representatives Jonathan Singer (Longmont) and Joe Salazar (Thornton) as well as senator Mike Merrifield (Colorado Springs).

Meanwhile in California, many Democrats are feeling the Bern. California holds its primary in June. But at the end of February, the state’s Democratic Party held its convention. Los Angeles Times reporter Cathleen Decker noted that a glancing mention of Clinton and Sanders in a speech revealed a split. While few of the elected politicians on stage support Sanders, applause for Clinton “was drowned out by cheers for Sanders.”

Voting analyst Paul Mitchell told a convention panel that millennial voters — roughly those 35 or under — are rejecting the Republican Party but aren’t joining the Democrats. East Bay congressman and Clinton supporter Eric Swalwell (who is 35) told Decker “there’s no question that right now Bernie Sanders has the overwhelming majority of the millennials. Whoever’s the candidate, as a party we have to understand why that is the case.”

The corporate media claims that Clinton has won more delegates than Sanders by a wide margin. But this is deceptive. They are counting the unelected superdelegates (who are party leaders who support Clinton with some exceptions). Actually Clinton has only a modest advantage over Sanders among delegates chosen by voters. This has angered Sanders supporters, particularly when Clinton supporters call on Sanders to drop out now.

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi just now declared that the states’ pledged delegates — and not the superdelegates — should decide the winner.

“I’m not a believer in the sway of superdelegates deciding who is going to be the nominee,” Pelosi said. “I think we have a democratic process where people vote on both sides of the aisle … and that that should determine who the nominee is.”

Pelosi made similar remarks in 2008 during the primary race between then-senators Obama and Clinton. Obama had more pledged delegates and Clinton was attempting to win the nomination with superdelegates.

Pelosi had a number of political differences with Clinton then, particularly over the decision to go to war in Iraq. Clinton was an advocate for war while Pelosi opposed the Bush invasion. In the current race, Pelosi hasn’t endorsed either Clinton or Sanders.

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

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