by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
No, Michael Barone doesn’t read the election results any differently from those who declare Hillary Clinton the winner over Bernie Sanders in the Democrats’ presidential nomination fight. But Barone’s latest Washington Examiner column makes the case that Sanders has won a larger battle.
It’s possible to ridicule Sanders’ protests that he can still win the nomination of a party of which he’s never been a member. But give him credit. He won 42 percent of the popular vote in primaries against Hillary Clinton and a whopping 62 percent of the votes cast in caucuses.
He carried 22 states, from Maine to Hawaii, and came within 2 percent of carrying five others. He carried or came close to carrying white Democrats nationally.
More importantly, he moved Hillary Clinton — and the Democratic party — well to the left.
Clinton reversed previous positions and came out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and against the Keystone XL pipeline. She promised that she would effectively end fracking, which has sharply reduced oil and natural gas prices, and would discourage the mining of coal.
She came close to matching Sanders’ promise of free college. She repudiated her husband Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill and his support of financial deregulation. Yes, a second President Clinton could and probably would welch on some of these promises.
But she’s not going back to the first President Clinton’s policies.
Sanders can claim credit for moving the Democratic party closer to his own political creed, socialism, than any Democrat has cared or dared to do before. With the critical help of young voters, the millennial generation, who voted about 80 percent for him against Clinton — and for whom, multiple polls suggest, his self-proclaimed socialism is not a bug but a feature.