Updated below (on Monday, November 23,2015)
Two young people take a selfie with democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders after a campaign rally in Columbia, South Carolina, yesterday. Sanders is popular among young Americans, having won Iowa’s student mock election this past week with a majority of the votes, and he leads TIME magazine’s online poll for its 2015 Person of the Year.
I noted two interesting Bernie Sanders-related items this past week.
First, Bernie Sanders handily won the student mock election held in Iowa this past week. Just under a thousand middle school and high school students participated on the Democratic side of the mock election, sponsored by the state’s secretary of state’s office. The Washington Post reports that 22 of the state’s 99 counties participated in the mock election, but doesn’t indicate whether these 22 counties are more or less representative of the entire state.
That said, Bernie Sanders won the mock election with almost 53 percent of the vote, followed by Martin O’Malley, with 24 percent, and coming in dead last was Billary Clinton, with a paltry 15 percent.
Had these been elementary school students, I would feel at least a little bit better about these results. Why? I surmise that younger students primarily would have voted the way their parents had influenced them to vote, and thus the mock election results would be reflective of how the students’ parents intend to caucus in Iowa on February 1.
But because these are middle school and high school students who voted, I surmise, the students voted more independently of their parents than younger students would have. And since most of these high school students won’t be 18 years old as of February 1, Bernie Sanders’ having garnered a majority of the vote in Iowa’s student mock election won’t translate to much help to him when Iowa caucuses on February 1.
The Huffington Post’s polling analysis right now puts Sanders at 32.5 percent in Iowa, to Billary Clinton’s 54.4 percent. Real Clear Politics’ polling analysis right now puts Billary at 53.8 percent to Bernie’s 29.8 percent in the first-to-weigh-in state of Iowa.
What accounts for such differences in the preference for Bernie or for Billary? Age, apparently; the younger you are, the more likely you are to support Bernie Sanders, and the older you are, the more likely you are to support Billary Clinton.
This is good for Billary and her center-right ilk in the short term, since our elections still will be skewed to the older, whiter and more conservative voters for several more cycles to come, since the older, whiter and more conservative you are, the more likely it is that you consistently vote in elections.
But Bernie’s — and democratic socialism’s — popularity among young people now, if it holds as they grow older, spells doom for the Clintonesque sellout of the Democratic Party to the point that the Democratic presidential frontrunner, Billary Clinton, is quite Repugnican Lite.
(Indeed, as I have noted, much of her campaign rhetoric sounds like Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Marco Rubio’s, and given the too-similar campaign rhetoric, are voters going to vote for the younger, fresher Rubio — or for Billary? [Yes, my money still is on Marco Rubio emerging as the 2016 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee.])
It’s quite possible that Bernie Sanders won’t eke out a win in the current Democratic Party presidential primary race, and that history will show him to have been a transitional political figure, the presidential candidate who helped return the Democratic Party to its progressive roots but who couldn’t win the White House himself.
That said, I still won’t write Bernie’s political obituary; at this point he still could win Iowa, like John Kerry did in 2004 (after he had been written off as politically dead), and then, like Kerry did, win the New Hampshire primary and take the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. The numbers indicate that it’s not incredibly likely that Bernie will do so, but it’s still possible that he will.
In any event, Bernie Sanders has been influential, whether he wins the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination or not, and, truth be told, I’d rather that Billary Clinton lose in November 2016 than Bernie Sanders.
Why? Because if Billary wins the party’s presidential nomination but loses the presidential election in November 2016 — a decent likelihood, given how Billary, whom a majority of Americans do not like, is not polling very strongly against most of the Repugnican presidential contenders in polling match-ups — it most likely will be the death of her center-right, Democratic-in-name-only, pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic brand name of politics; it will be, at long last, the stake driven through the vampire’s cold heart.
Bernie Sanders’ loss in November 2016 widely would be interpreted as a repudiation of democratic socialism. I’d much rather that November 2016 be viewed as the DINOs’ loss, not democratic socialism’s.
Again, win or lose, Bernie Sanders already has been consequential. The second item that I noted this past week is that Sanders leads handily in TIME magazine’s online poll* of who should be its Person of the Year.
As I type this sentence, in TIME’s online poll Sanders stands at 63 percent voting that he should be a contender for the 2015 Person of the year, with only 37 percent (primarily the Billarybots and the Repugnican Tea Party set, I presume) voting that he shouldn’t be.
Right now the only other candidates for Person of the Year who even approach Sanders’ level are Malala Yousafzi (the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both with 58 percent. At number three are “Refugees,” from Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, as a group, with 54 percent of the vote.
Pope Smiley Face — er, Francis — right now comes in at fourth place, with 51 percent, and no other person or group of persons breaks 50 percent in the online polling thus far.
How does Billary Clinton fare in TIME’s online poll as I type this sentence? A whopping 24 percent say that she deserves consideration as Person of the Year, while 76 percent say that she does not. (I’d have voted “Oh, hell no!” had that been an option. A Facebook or Twitter account is necessary to vote, by the way, which should cut down at least somewhat on the same individuals voting multiple times.)
The racehorse American Pharoah (his owner apparently misspelled the word “pharaoh”) right now fares better than does Billary, with 26 percent voting that the horse should be considered as Person of the Year.
(In case you’re wondering, of the Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirants, Donald Trump fares the best in the online poll for Person of the Year, with only 15 percent; behind him is Ben Carson, with 13 percent. And Barack Obama right now has 39 percent, making him more popular than Billary but not as popular as Bernie.
In case you were wondering even further — and you probably weren’t — my own top three choices for TIME’s Person of the Year for 2015 would be [not necessarily in any certain order] Bernie Sanders, “Refugees,” and Latino journalist Jorge Ramos, who has been an outspoken advocate for the rights of immigrants from south of the border, even before he took on Donald Trump’s chillingly fascistic, jackbooted, nationalist/jingoist and racist — and thus dangerous — anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric.)
Why is Bernie Sanders doing so well in TIME’s online poll?
Well, I surmise, it comes down again to youth: Younger people are more likely to be online and thus are more likely to participate in online polls.
In old, actual votes that actually make or break presidential candidates in the actual caucuses and the primary elections, Billary Clinton, the old, dead hand of the past, no doubt will get scads of actual votes from center-right old fucks.
But the future, apparently, belongs to democratic socialism.
P.S. I’ll take a moment here to note that while the nation’s second-largest labor union, SEIU (Service Employees International Union, which has a membership of around 2 million workers), this past week endorsed Billary Clinton as president, none of us union members at the bottom got any say whatsofuckingever in the matter.
I’ve paid my monthly dues to SEIU for years now (they come out of my paycheck automatically), but the union’s decision to endorse Billary was not made by us dues-paying pee-ons, but only by SEIU’s upper echelon.
We dues-paying pee-ons (that’s not a misspelling; we are urinated upon) had zero opportunity to weigh in on the endorsement, either by snail mail or even electronically.
I have to suspect that the ineffective, self-serving SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, who should have been dumped by now, supports Billary primarily (or even only) because Billary is a fellow woman and because this is what “feminism” has come to mean these days: supporting a woman over a man no matter what the woman stands for or does not stand for.
I mean, fuck: One of SEIU’s stated central priorities is the $15/hour minimum wage for every worker in the United States of America, but Billary Clinton won’t support a federal minimum wage of more than $12/hour. Bernie Sanders supports the $15/hour minimum wage.
SEIU is anti-democratic and cowardly — and apparently misandrist — and stopped representing its members’ best interests years ago.
The nation’s largest nurses’ union, National Nurses United, and the American Postal Workers Union had the brains and the courage to endorse Sanders.
Update (Monday, November 23, 2015): I just saw this tidbit in a piece posted today by prognosticator god Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com (the link is Silver’s):
…[E]xit polls like this one have historically asked voters in Iowa and New Hampshire when they made their final decision on how to vote. These exit polls find that voters take their sweet time.
In Iowa, on average, only 35 percent of voters [caucus-goers] had come to a final decision before the final month of the campaign. And in New Hampshire, only 29 percent had. [Emphasis mine.]
(Why is the fraction lower in New Hampshire than in Iowa? Probably because voters there are waiting for the Iowa results before locking in their choice. In fact, about half of New Hampshire voters make up their minds in the final week of the campaign.) …
This puts the current poll numbers for Iowa and New Hampshire (for both of the duopolistic political parties) into better perspective, methinks.
The title of Silver’s aforementioned piece is “Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls,” and in the piece Silver makes the case that based upon historical trends in the election and the election polling cycle, Trump hardly is a shue-in for his party’s presidential nomination. I don’t see why this advice doesn’t apply equally to Billary Clinton.
As I wrote, I still can see Bernie Sanders winning both Iowa and New Hampshire, just as John Kerry dramatically came from behind in 2004 to take both Iowa and New Hampshire when Howard Dean had been coronated already, much as Billary Clinton already has been coronated…
TIME’s editors will choose the Person of the Year, but that doesn’t mean readers shouldn’t have their say. Cast your vote for the person you think most influenced the news this year for better or worse. … Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on December 4, and the combined winner of our reader polls will be announced on December 7. TIME’s Person of the Year will be announced December 9.