Why Bernie Sanders Fell Short

*Editor’s note: Views of the author do not reflect the views of BUnow.

With the election season heating up, it would only be right to take a moment to pay our respects to good old Senator Bernie Sanders, who recently scored an 87% approval rating in his home state of Vermont. Not only is this the most impressive rating amongst all 100 senators, but it also beats out the next best rating (currently held by Susan Collins (R-ME)) by more than 15%. Yet, Sanders’ high levels of approval and likability were not enough to secure him the Democratic nomination.

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup of legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup of legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

 

Now, as people argue over whether this was the fault of the mainstream media or of Sanders himself, I cannot help but feel that it was a simple combination of both.  The way I see it, there are three big reasons why Bernie Sanders just couldn’t quite tackle Hillary Clinton.

 

  1. He played it too soft.

The thing about Clinton is that she has a colorful past. Whether or not you agree that she has done any wrong whatsoever, everyone can admit that she has certainly been accused of an awful lot. This would have been perfect ammunition for Sanders to really get the upper hand. He could have exploited Clinton’s weaknesses yet he put them on the back burner and focused on his “revolution.” Sanders’ message was powerful, and he deserved for it to be heard; but, I can’t help feeling that if he really wanted to make it all the way to the White House, he could have focused a little bit less on his own strengths and a little bit more on Clinton’s weaknesses. Is that how it should be? Of course not. But that’s politics.

  1. The Democratic National Committee wanted to ignore him.

Some people deny that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or the mainstream media is at fault in this situation. I would simply urge those people to access the Wikileaks of correspondence between members of the DNC, containing nearly 20,000 e-mails. Even if it can be argued that Sanders was conspired against, it is blatantly obvious that a majority of the DNC did not like him.  

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former head of the committee, stated that it was “silly” to think that Sanders could become president.  Jordan Kaplan, the national finance director, stated that Sanders was “obnoxious.”  Sanders was not a part of the DNC’s master plan, and the fact that he performed as well as he did was as much of a surprise to them as it was to the rest of America. For a moment, Sanders really had the DNC scared.

  1. Minority voters didn’t like him.

Some people suggest that Sanders didn’t get the minority vote because he’s “just an old white guy.” In fact, it is generally accepted among a good percentage of voters that Clinton scored the minority vote because she is a woman.  Frankly, I find this idea a bit ridiculous. Minority voters are exactly like any other subsection of voters: they vote based on their own beliefs. Clinton’s campaign is simply excellent at marketing themselves to minorities. While it could be argued that name recognition played a role in Clinton’s success, to imply that it was because of her biological sex would be completely myopic.

Whether you love or hate Sanders, nobody can deny the big splash that he made in the pool of politics this past primary season. His revolution now rests in the hands of his supporters; the ones passionate enough about his message to seek out other politicians with similar ideologies and values (although it might be hard to match Sanders’ approval ratings).   

 

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