The reactionary guide to politics: Bernie Sanders upsets Hillary Clinton in Michigan

March 9, 2016

There is nobody in the United States congress who has taken on the Koch brothers, who want to destroy social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and virtually every federal program passed since the 1930’s more than Bernie Sanders.

And I am proud that the gentleman who is head of Goldman Sachs — now he didn’t give me $225,000 for speaking fees — he said I was dangerous, and he’s right: I am dangerous for Wall Street.

  • In spite of losing the overall delegate count on the night — due to Hillary Clinton’s predictably huge win in Mississippi — Bernie Sanders scored a huge victory in the Democratic Michigan Primary. By my count, it’s the 9th state Sanders has won to this point, along with Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Minnesota, but it’s the first one that really counts, at least in a sense of the pundits giving him credit.
  • It was a huge upset. As the embedded link above indicates, on average Hillary had a 21-point lead as recently as the last four days. That’s insane. If ever there was evidence to suggest the 2016 election cycle is unique, to say the least, we can start there. (Or maybe we would have started with Donald Drumpf, but still.) It is one of the largest upsets in American political history.
  • Sanders’s roughly 2% victory in Michigan also seems to bode well for him in other midwestern states, such as Ohio and Illinois, who hold primaries a week from today. I don’t mean to suggest that these narrow wins are going to make up for the landslide victories Clinton has posted in all the southern, red states. But they will certainly quiet the silly notion that Bernie should drop out of the race anytime soon, something that Hillary and her surrogates have tried to push over the last week.
  • It’s also going to work wonders for Bernie’s ability to raise money, to continue to get his message across to Americans who haven’t yet paid attention to the race. If nothing else, the absolute lowest expectation throughout the remainder of the campaign will be seeing Hillary move further left.

Southern black voters are (duh) more conservative

  • It’s funny. After Bernie’s success in Iowa and New Hampshire, two of the whitest states on the map, the media went on to explain how Sanders can’t carry the black vote. And they were more right than I ever imagined they would be. But one of the fallacies that surfaced was the idea that black voters were not subject to being one autonomous vote, that each of the Democratic candidates would have to earn the black vote.
  • This proved to be nonsense. In the South, Clinton ran about 4:1 with the black vote, securing wins in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee. She racked up a big basket of delegates by dominating the bible belt, also known as Republican Country, also known as the states Democrats have no chance of winning in a general election. I understand that this is how the process goes, and it’s largely the path Barack Obama used to defeat Clinton in 2008, but it still doesn’t feel very fair.
  • If Michigan taught us anything, it’s that the Southern states are not a completely accurate reflection of the black vote. Clinton still procured about two-thirds of the African-American vote, but it’s a far cry from 4-to-1 and perhaps the biggest reason why Sanders was able to execute the upset. Assuming states like Ohio, Illinois, and down the road Pennsylvania, follow Michigan’s example, then Sanders has more hope than originally thought. That, and it probably isn’t the best look for the DNC nominee that the runner-up (Sanders) has a reasonable chance defeating her in some of the critical swing states that Democrats will rely on in November.
  • We’ll know more by the end of next Tuesday. But for now, Sanders at least has a puncher’s chance in the Rust Belt. Clinton is a strong favorite in Florida and North Carolina, but Sanders isn’t done making noise at this point, a welcome sign for his supporters (like me).