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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Bernie still a long shot

Most college students are rightfully enthralled with Bernie Sanders. He’s a young person’s candidate, promising massive economic reforms aimed squarely at reducing or even outright eliminating student debt.

As a student myself, I’d love to see the Bern in office. Not only would he work to repair our broken loan system, but he’d also end the war on drugs. He’d fight the privatization of prisons, schools and healthcare. If Bernie won, the birds would sing from the trees and the animals would come out of the forests to herald the dawn of a new age.

But unfortunately, that is extremely unlikely to happen. On June 25, just as Bernie was beginning to gain popularity online, Huffington Post Politics ran a column headlined, “It’s Official — Bernie Sanders Has Overtaken Hillary Clinton In the Hearts and Minds of Democrats.” While the Internet has never been known for its clear and honest headlines, this one in particular championed the misleading click bait game.

Many read this headline as: “Oh great, Bernie is beating Hillary now!”, but others actually read the article itself and realized that the piece offered up nothing more than some observations on Bernie’s rise to popularity in New Hampshire and, well, almost nowhere else.

That’s because Bernie isn’t particularly popular beyond the educated, wealthy utopia we call New England. HuffPost Pollster, being grounded in statistics and, you know, facts, is less susceptible to misleading headlines and tells a very different story. As of Friday, Hillary Clinton is leading national democrat election polls with 49.6 percent of the vote, leaving Bernie with a mere 21 percent.

CNN notes in a poll of their own that Bernie is gaining some ground, though not at the rate he needs to. Since the Clinton email scandals, Bernie’s numbers have risen, though only slightly.

According to CNN, “Democrats and leaners think Clinton would best handle issues related to the economy, … race, … foreign policy … and the income gap.”

In a conversation amongst FiveThirtyEight editors, Harry Enten, the senior political writer and analyst for the site, noted that, most of all, Sanders needs to find a way to appeal to black voters in the way that Hillary does.

“If Clinton continues to win 70 percent of the black vote, Sanders will likely get stopped in South Carolina,” he said. The editors conclude their conversation by giving Sanders a mere 2-percent chance of actually winning the nomination.

Clearly, there are many more battles across many more fronts that Sanders needs to win before the race can even begin to be called close. And yet, the fact still remains that Bernie seems imminently popular on social media and college campuses. So why isn’t that being reflected in the polls?

Well, polls take into account not only demographics, as in what kinds of people vote, but also voter turnout, as in what percentage of what kinds of people will actually take the time to physically vote. 

Typically, we 18-to-24-year-olds don’t do so well in that regard. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2008 only 49 percent of young people voted compared to 70 percent of those

Guys, that’s disgusting. Us young people have more to win or lose in this election than any other demographic. The policies implemented by the next president will still be affecting us in 20 years, while those 45-and-ups will either be in the nursing home or in the grave, not really in a position to care either way.

This isn’t a call to work hard to beat the republicans. We have nothing to fear (on the national stage) from a party whose most popular candidate is Donald Trump. Though that should serve as a reminder to be sure to vote in your local and state elections as well. Republicans are doing more damage there than they ever could on a federal level.

The point, then, is to actually pay attention to the issues, not just to vote for the candidate who sends you a bumper sticker. Students could make history and elect the most liberal president of the last century, or keep reading HuffPost Politics and let Hillary, the establishment candidate, ease on down victory lane.

Follow Greg Castro on Twitter.

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