The bias in the American mass media are driving me crazy. So let me get onto my little soap box.
You can see the bias when they add the super-delegates to the pledged delegates to pretend that Clinton has a higher lead. If these super-delegates would actually vote against the wish of the primary voters, the disgust will be large enough to make sure that the Democrats would lose.
You can see the bias in that the media hardly speaks about money in politics. A main topic in both primaries.
What I want to talk about today is that the media generally assumes that Hillary Clinton is more electable in the general presidential election than Bernie Sanders. Often in the dismissive implicit way of the establishment. That can be a real opinion, but the evidence goes into another direction.
Money in politicsI am happy to admit that I am also biased. For me Bernie Sanders is clearly the best candidate, mainly because he wants to get money out of politics. Money in politics is bad for the public debate, for democracy, for the environment and for the economy.
Politicians who have to do what their donors tell them have no flexibility to compromise and get things done; they have to defend indefensible positions. This leads to a childish political debate. Nearly all Republican representatives in Washington reject basic scientific findings on climate change. This is childish. It is equivalent to putting your fingers in your ears and singing la, la, la, la. It matches the donor's preferences, but does not match their voter base. Half of the Republican voters support policies to reduce greenhouse gasses.
Just look around the globe, democracies have cleaner air and water. Progress in climate policies will be very slow as long as money determines US politics. On so many topics the positions of the politicians do not fit to what the population wants according to the polls. Even if money had no influence, the appearance of influence alone makes people cynical and hurts the American democracy.
The evidenceSo okay, I have a bias. Let me give you the evidence I have. Do your due diligence and check them. Compare that to the lack of evidence provided by the media.
It would be great if everyone could just vote for the candidate of their liking, but as long as the election system is what it is, it is reasonable to want to elect a Democrat that can beat Donald Drumpf and make sure that 2016 is not the last election. It is reasonable to want to elect someone who can beat Ted Dogma Cruz who is beholden to four donors from the fossil fuel industry.
The most quantitative evidence is from the head to head polls. Clinton beats Trump by a few percent, but Sanders beats him clearly. Clinton would lose an election with Ted Cruz, which would be a catastrophe, while Sanders would beat him by 10 percent. Marco Rubio would beat Clinton by 5%, while Sanders would win.
Polls are not elections and it is still early, but the difference is clear. At the very least these polls certainly do not show that Clinton is more electable.
Polls also show much better favorability and honesty ratings for Sanders. In fact, Sanders is the only candidate on both sides that has positive a favorability. People do not only vote for policies, they also vote for personality. These ratings are a big help in the general elections.
More in general, the American people is fed up with establishment politics, with bought politicians that do not represent the population. This is clear in the approval ratings of Congress and government, which is at historical lows. You can see this clearly on the Republican side were people vote for candidates without any political competence because they are at least not establishment politicians (Donald Trump, Ben Carson). That category includes Ted Cruz, who is actually a life-long politician and worked for Bush, but in this election benefits from being able to piss off every politician he ever worked with.
There are people who argue that the American people is not ready for a political revolution. I would argue they were already proven wrong eight years ago by the campaign of Barack Obama. He campaign for change and won. Obama did not deliver, but he won the election promising change. With the long track record of Sanders people can be sure the will try to get change. It won't be easy and you never get all you want, but at least he will try.
In such a climate, it is not helpful to have an establishment candidate on the Democratic side. Count on Trump and Cruz emphasizing this.
If you look at the demographics supporting the candidates, Sanders also looks more electable. Clinton does well because of the African Americans. I see no reason why they would not vote for Sanders as well; his policies and past record are fine, if not better. Sanders does well with independents, they may otherwise go to the Republicans. Sanders does well with people who are fed up with bribed politicians; they may well not vote if Clinton becomes the candidate. There are also conservatives for Bernie, who like that he will not start wars quickly and will fight the symbiosis of state and corporations. I have yet to see a group "conservatives for Hillary". Although noting is too crazy, to not exist in the USA.
In 2016 there are seven super-swingy states: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa and New Hampshire.
Sanders won Colorado and New Hampshire. Iowa was a tie. Clinton won Virginia and Nevada.
These battle ground states are important in a general election.
People will have to turn out and actually vote. I may be biased, but I see more enthusiasm of the supporters of Sanders. Partially you can give numbers for this. The rallies of Sanders are a lot bigger and Sanders has twice as many donors.
The longer the election runs the more people get to know Bernie Sanders. For the general election even more people will inform themselves about Sanders and a lot of evidence shows that people who know him, like him and his policies.
He started with no name recognition in 2015 and made up a difference of 60%. I have the impression that Sanders election results more often than not beat the expectations based on polling, but could not find numbers on that. Also informative is that Clinton won her home state Arkansas by 66.3% over 29.7%, but in his home state Vermont Sanders won much bigger by 86.1% over 13.6%. A more than 70% difference. If you see New York as Clinton's home state, in the polls she only has a lead of 21% there.
Imagine how the debates will go. Trump will surely point out that Clinton took money from him. If only to demonstrate power. Trump will use his position as an outsider that is beholden to no one. Sanders would be able to answer that he is his own man and wants to get money out of politics.
Both candidates have their liabilities. Sanders will be attacked for being a socialist. I do not think that scares many people any more. And Sanders can simply refer to successful social democratic market economies in Europe. Socialism or capitalism is not black and white, many popular policies in America are already socialist. In every election the Republicans accuse the Democrats of being socialists; the Democrats are clearly more social and it may look better own it than to be apologetic about it.
I am not sure if Clinton has less liabilities that would be attacked in the general election. Next to the Republican Clinton evergreens, we have a possible indictment over her private email server. The content of those emails may be more important. Also the money of foreign governments and shady corporations flowing into the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state can be made into a scandal. Clinton keeps on refusing to release the transcripts of the speeches she gave to Goldman-Sachs for 200,0000 dollar a piece. She seems to think there is something in these speeches that would hurt her. Cruz' wife works at Goldman-Sachs; you can be sure these transcripts will be leaked in the general election.
Does anyone have evidence that Hillary Clinton is more electable? More than just a gut feeling?
Related readingEnglish professor Seth Abramson explains the above so much better than I could and even comes to 12 reasons why Bernie Sanders is more electable than Hillary Clinton. And why the media is not telling you the truth about this. A Dozen Reasons Sanders Voters Are Justifiably Angry at the Media Right Now
Salon: Hillary Clinton just can’t win: Democrats need to accept that only Bernie Sanders can defeat the GOP.
Many polls can be found on Real Clear Politics.
FiveThirtyEight also gathers many polls and tries to predict primary outcomes.
The Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders clash over the auto bailout, explained. I am not sure whether Clinton's flexibility with the truth is appreciated by Democrats.
The difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on climate change? I don't care. The difference on climate change is small, especially compared to Republican positions. The real difference is about ending crony capitalism and preventing the next banking recession.
* Caricature at the top by DonkeyHotey, which has a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.