Chat Corner: What are Bernie Sanders chances? Angie and Sebastian discuss the effect of early primaries on candidate momentum.


Photo credit: Bernie 2016

Sebastian and Angie discuss presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his chances in the 2016 Democratic primary. The conversation is edited and compiled.


ANGIE: So let’s talk about Bernie Sanders actual chances to win the Democratic nomination. It is fun reading hot takes on his surge in the New Hampshire polls and huge rally turnouts, but what are his actual chances within the primary system. There was a really interesting FiveThirtyEight article that discussed current polls and Democratic bases in primary states. It seems like the big issues concerning potential voters in state primaries are Liberal elites in northern and western states and Black Democrats in the South.

ANGIE: Breaking down the primaries is incredibly important. It is important to look at likely voters and Democratic bases. The South has a Black Democratic base that usually leans more moderate. The West has a liberal Democratic base that leans way more liberal. These are both areas that will probably go Republican in the general, but can make a huge difference in the primaries. We often talk about the split in the Republican party, but there is a significant split in the Democratic party as well. Not saying it is going to make a difference, but is definitely a topic for discussion.

SEBASTIAN: Also gotta consider the sequence of primaries. Bernie will probably do better in western caucuses, but they come later in the cycle. And if Hillary can stomp him in southern primaries she can kill the momentum.

ANGIE: Exactly. There is a reason why New Hampshire and Iowa are so important. However I would argue South Carolina is key. Bernie could win New Hampshire and Iowa, but a domino effect from South Carolina will solidify Clinton. There needs to be puppy killings in the Clinton emails for them to make a huge difference in the Democratic base.

SEBASTIAN: Yeah I think the shock is gonna have to be something related to her health. *knock on wood* Because nobody cares about these emails. No one is even paying attention right now to be honest.

ANGIE: Well “no one”. The Republican base is paying attention. But they weren’t going to vote for her anyway.

ANGIE: My prediction: Sanders takes New Hampshire, loses Iowa. Loses South Carolina. His momentum dissolves. His Reddit base moves on. He needs to win Iowa to even have a chance in the South. Clinton is just doing much better among the Democratic base there. However, we have to take into account likely voters. Democrats don’t like to vote in non-presidential general elections. Will this hurt Clinton? Will this hurt Sanders?

SEBASTIAN: I feel like Sanders has a better shot at Iowa than NH. Home state proximity could make him dangerous in NH, but NH and Vermont are really different. Plus, caucuses favored insurgent candidates and highly motivated voters.

ANGIE: New Hampshire is Bizzaro Vermont.

SEBASTIAN: Yeah. I always think of NH dems as being more libertarian, less socialist and contrarian.

ANGIE: Evil alter ego. The Hyde to Vermont’s Jekyll.

SEBASTIAN: NH = Vermont with guns.

ANGIE: However, they have the same Democratic base.

SEBASTIAN: The crunchy granola base, that’s fair.

ANGIE: It is their Republican base that is Libertarian.

SEBASTIAN: Well, if Hillary wins Iowa and Sanders wins NH, then Hillary wins SC and it’s kind of a wrap. I agree with you that Sanders has to go two-for-two...But I sometimes feel like New Hampshire votes the opposite of Iowa (contrarian). Happened in 2008.

ANGIE: Happened in 2000 with McCain beating Bush. Losing New Hampshire and/or Iowa is like a sign of passage for inevitable nominees.

SEBASTIAN: Kerry was the last guy who won Iowa and NH. ‘92 was a clusterfuck.

ANGIE: Dole lost NH in 96. Bush lost Iowa in 88.

SEBASTIAN: To who? Oh yeah, Pat Buchanan.

ANGIE: And don’t forget it happened in 2012 when Santorum won Iowa.