|Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT)|
While that theory that the GOP nominating process is producing candidates who are too extreme is questionable given the last two nominees have been moderates Mitt Romney and John McCain, there is no denying that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton now finds her pushed to the left by her lead challenger Bernie Sanders. An avowed socialist, Sanders' rallies are regularly attended by thousands of Democratic activists who see in the Vermont Senator a spokesman for far left extremism, including redistribution of income and expansion of entitlement programs.
What the Democratic establishment doesn't understand is that Sanders' appeal goes beyond socialism that appeals to the base of the party. He is tapping into a populism that is rampant in American politics today, a movement that crosses party lines. On the left, populism translates into a need for bigger government to curb the abuses of big business. On the right, populism translates into a demand that government stop rigging the game to benefit big business.
Clinton is just ill-suited to match Sanders' populist appeal. Worse yet, on the campaign trail she continues the "run out the clock" strategy of running the ball three times and punting figuring Sanders' doesn't have the resources and time to catch her. She might be right. But Sanders raised 1/3 of the money Clinton raised during the last reporting period and cut Clinton's lead in half in Iowa, down to 19 points. A CNN poll shows Sanders only trailing Clinton by 8 points in New Hampshire. All are very significant accomplishments.
But there is a significant obstacle to Sanders' drive to the Democratic nomination. A recent national poll showed that, among non-white Democratic voters, Sanders trails Hillary Clinton 61% to 9%. It appears that while white Democrats are willing to consider Sanders, minority Democrats are sticking with Clinton. At least for now.