Stranger Things are Happening

The Republican primary is fascinating to watch. Just when you think the three stooges routine has run its course, something new pops up, like an ad with a provocative picture of Trump’s wife and the subsequent sniping. While all eyes have been on the Republicans, however, the Democrats have been holding a primary competition with its own problems.

Hillary Clinton is far ahead of Bernie Sanders in terms of delegates, but the popular vote is close. Why is Clinton on her way to wrapping up the nomination even though she has earned just a few more votes than Sanders? Well, she has far more superdelegates who have pledged to vote for her. Superdelegates are free to vote for whomever they please. Since Hillary and Bill have been campaigning for years, they have developed strong relationships with many of the superdelegates, who are often party insiders. The Democratic primary favors the establishment candidate, since the superdelegates are generally people who have risen through the ranks of the Democratic party.

In addition, the order of the primaries has hurt Sanders. Sanders has done poorly in the South and other states where there are large percentages of minority voters. These primaries came before many of the primaries in the more progressive states in the northeast, midwest, and west, where Sanders is likely to run more strongly. The irony is that while Sanders was supporting the civil rights movement back in the early sixties, Clinton was a young Republican. Yes, Sanders has done a poor job connecting with African American voters. He doesn’t seem to like talking about himself.

Sanders’ main, and some would say only, campaign issue is fighting the injustice of wealth inequality along with money’s negative impact on governance. The political system is rigged against the poor and middle class, he argues. Well, look around, Bernie. The Democratic primary is rigged too. It’s just like the government, which is biased toward those with money and connections. He knows this, of course, but if he says anything, he’ll look like a sore loser. All he can do is point out how Clinton takes money from Super PACs. Bought and sold, he implies.

Criticizing the party would not help him win, nor would it help the eventual nominee defeat the Republican pick in the fall. So, he’ll probably stay quiet about the unfairness of the primary process, at least until the convention. He realizes that the superdelegates aren’t obligated to vote for Hillary. They could change their minds. Stranger things are happening this year. Could Sanders be Clinton’s VP? Stranger things are happening.

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