In the current candidate selection campaign for next year’s United States Presidential election, the race for the Democratic nomination has been subject to one of the most shocking developments in modern US history, the possibility of Bernie Sanders being chosen to run for the Democrats. The independent Senator for Vermont has had an incredible campaign over the last few months, proving to be a much aggravating thorn in the side of Hillary Clinton. Clinton was the presumed favourite going into the selection process for the 2008 election and much like 7 years ago, she once again was the initial front runner for next year’s election. However, history could be looking to repeat itself as Hillary could well lose out again to the 74 year old Senator. Sanders is a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist who wishes to enact some radical reform to some of the most central beliefs in the United States, including breaking up the big banks to prevent situations like those which set up the financial crash almost a decade ago. Sanders has been branded a lefty by many in the Republican due to his belief in regulating Wall St and his demanding of free third level education, all of which goes against the staunch capitalist views of the GOP but equally is attracting younger and more liberal voters.
Could Bernie Sanders’ success be a hindrance to the Democrats as a whole however? It has been seen in polls that while Bernie has the lead in New Hampshire, Iowa is a far closer contest with Clinton still holding more than 50% of support in a poll of likely voters in the Democratic primary. In South Carolina, after MSNBC’s sit-down debate with the Democratic frontrunners, a poll taken by Winthrop University showed that in the southern state, Hillary Clinton led by a large distance over the self-proclaimed Democratic socialist Senator for Vermont. What all of these polls seem to be indicating is that Clinton will be the candidate for the Democrats come next November’s election, this is reflected in what the potential candidates for the GOP have also been saying in many of their public appearances over the last few months. Hillary Clinton has been personally addressed by many in the Republican field. In the 3 televised debates for the Republicans, on Fox, CNN and CNBC respectively, there is an evident belief that in the eyes of the Republican frontrunners, Hillary is the opponent that they are going to face come 2016. However, there are still 3 months between now and the Iowa Caucus and in previous elections there has been a stark difference between who wins in Iowa and who wins the candidacy. A Hillary win could lead to a mass mobilisation of Sanders supporters to get out and vote, something that might be key as US elections generally low turnout levels.
Bernie Sanders has done something that many pundits would have never believed possible in the US since the start of the Cold War, Bernie Sanders has popularised the idea of a more socially liberal, a more economically social and a less capitalism-based United States. This was done through what many have branded as his ‘genuinity’ when addressing the people. Much has been said of Clinton’s socialising with the upper class, her support from Wall St and the mainstream media and, as many opponents of Clinton have pointed out, the way by which she changes her accent depending on where she is speaking; take for example the slight southern drawl the Chicago born politician spoke with whilst canvassing in South Carolina. All of this, on top of the consistency Sanders has shown in his activism and voting record as a Senator, has led for many younger and more liberal voters to see him as a viable alternative to the largely homogenous nature of many in federal politics. Much in the way the GOP has gradually drawn itself more to the right over the last 7 years, Bernie could well drag many in the Democratic party more to the left. Bernie has shown that there is a huge voter base that perhaps hasn’t been tapped into before. His campaign, funded solely by individuals, is unlike anyone else he is running against who relies on large sums of funding from large corporations and the likes.
Bernie Sanders is by no means a popular figure in the eyes of Republicans, and for that matter neither is Hillary, but in the eyes of this voter-base that was previously untouched by his fellow candidates, Bernie has given an option that veers away from the traditional lines of Democrat/Republican. If Hillary is chosen over Bernie to represent the Democrat party next year, there is the risk that many of these voters will once again be turned away from the polling booth. Bernie Sanders is a candidate who may have given the Democrats an unseen advantage that it could be argued cannot give. Traditional Democrats may well have supported Bernie for the sake of not having a Republican president for the next 4 years but it is very uncertain if Bernie supporters will lend their votes to Hillary Clinton in the event she is the candidate chosen to contest the election next November. The Republican Party has been fractured as of late, Bernie Sanders may well be the person whose popularity may well have done the same for the Democrats. It could easily be the case that Bernie Sanders’ rise could be the entryway to the White House for a GOP candidate.
Other Outsider Candidates for 2016
The “America’s Third Party” candidate who famously published a video of him dressed as President Obama under the title “Odombus Boogie” to Youtube, including full blackface.
Chances to win: 2/10, racism seems to be working for Donald Trump
Caesar Saint Augustine de Buonaparte Emperor of the United States of Turtle Island
A perennial candidate since 1996, most notable for blaming the lack of outsider candidate coverage for
the Presidential race for “so much crazy violence continuing in the world”
Chances to win: 3/10, the turtle vote can never be ruled out
You’ve likely seen a video or two of this man over the years, recognisable by his impressive beard and distinctive wellington hat. His main platforms include free ponies for all Americans and a fully funded time-travel research effort
Chances to win: 10/10, that time travel funding is a guaranteed win… eventually