Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How Obama Won and Bernie Sanders Can Too

How many times have you read the words in an article, "It's a reality that Bernie Sanders can't win?" Bernie Sanders has no chance. Bernie Sanders will never be the democratic nominee. Bernie Sanders will never be president. Over and over and over again.

I seem to remember Hillary going up against an African American in 2008 who got the same kind of press over and over again saying he couldn't win. Gee, I can't remember who that was...

He's the freaking president of the United States, people! 

And Hillary's not. How many news journalists and political science experts told you that would happen? Not very many, if any at all.

So let's just stop with all this "reality" crap. It is not reality that Bernie Sanders won't be president of the United States. Hillary was defeated once, and if the right pieces come together, she can be defeated again. The only "reality" is when the election happens and we have the final votes counted.

Social Media

Part of what made Obama's campaign so successful was his ability to utilize social media to invigorate volunteers and grow into a grassroots movement to reach other to potential voters. His popularity on social media also helped him with gaining the youth vote.

Bernie Sanders is trending well on Twitter with both of his hashtags winning the fight against Hillary's for the most part. But Hillary still far outreaches Bernie on Youtube. Though he may be gaining on her on Facebook (that article is from June).

However, what none of those statistics can tell us is how many people are actually engaged with Bernie's or Hillary's campaign and if those people are making efforts to reach out to other potential voters and if those efforts are effective. If they are, Bernie's campaign could turn out a lot like Obama's.

The Issues

Another factor that helped Obama was his ability to address voter concerns regarding the economy. Today, voter concerns have not changed much. The GOP debate might have been entertaining (and guess which candidate actually came out on top), but there was little to no discussion about the issues Americans want to hear about.

According to several polls, Americans want to hear the candidates discuss real issues. They want to hear about fixing the economy, about jobs, about education and healthcare. Bernie Sanders has been consistent in his message about income inequality and protecting working families. Supporters have flocked to him because he's speaking about real issues that the American people want to hear about.

Another draw for Sanders is that he refuses to use attack ads against other candidates. On multiple occasions he has spoken against the media for their focus on political drama and not on the real issues facing American citizens. He has garnered a lot of respect from potential voters on that aspect alone.


Obama's campaign had a lot of enthusiasm, and Bernie's campaign is showing signs of having more. At the beginning of July, Obama had 180,000 small donors contributing, Sanders had 250,000. Bernie Sanders has consistently drawn bigger crowds than any other presidential candidate.

July 29, 2015, one hundred thousand people attended house parties for Bernie. Double that number is being called to march on Washington for Bernie rally. Bernie Sanders has the most active Reddit page of any presidential candidates. And supporters of Bernie Sanders came together on their own to create a website that made it easy to find and understand Bernie's position on important issues.

The enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders is there, and it can only grow. And we're still four months away from 2016.


Another thing Obama did well was get young people and minorities out to the polls, demographics known for not voting. A large number of Bernie supporters are millennials. He has the young vote for sure. The test will be if he can amp up his appeal to minorities. Time will tell.

Poll Data

Bernie is currently 24.2 points behind Hillary in the national polls. At the same date in 2007, Obama was 16 points behind Hillary nationally. Though Bernie has a much larger gap to cover than Obama, Bernie has recently surpassed Hillary in NH, something Obama didn't achieve until January of his election year. Bernie's still closing the gap in Iowa, but he has four months (Obama's turn around) to get there. There's still plenty of time for Bernie to catch up, and the enthusiasm behind him, and how quickly he's climbed, I'd be worried if I were Hillary.

A Different Campaign

Obama's campaign is different that Bernie Sanders'. But if we should have learned one lesson from Obama's win, it's that nothing is for certain. So go ahead. Continue saying Bernie will never make it. I'm willing to bet you'll be eating those words a year and a quarter from now.

No comments:

Post a Comment