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When the Fat Lady Sings

Sanders lost the popular vote in New York by nearly 250,000. However, CNN reported that as many as 125,000 voters in Brooklyn were removed from the voter rolls. How widespread voting irregularities were elsewhere in the state remains unclear. Buildings–and even entire blocks of voters in Brooklyn–were no longer registered when they came to cast their ballots. Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for an investigation. The Sanders campaign immediately sued the state’s election commission demanding that officials tally provisional votes before certifying the election results. Right now, it looks like Clinton beat Sanders by 16% and if that holds she won 175 delegates to Sanders’ 106.

However, if those cancelled voters eventually have their votes counted, Sanders will very likely close the gap. The actual vote could wind up much closer and Sanders, as he has done in other states, could get more delegates, but he is unlikely to add 250,000 votes to match Clinton’s tally.

The Sanders’ campaign did not get enough voters to the polls —or their votes weren’t counted or perhaps there weren’t as many Bernistas as Clinton supporters in the big population centers. Clinton concentrated her neighborhood style campaign efforts in New York City and other big cities and that strategy worked. She brought out a million voters to Sanders 753,000.

And that’s not going to be good enough if Sanders is going to win the nomination. Although Bernie carried most of the counties in New York, he lost in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, and New York City where most of the votes were cast. Significantly, Clinton got more of the Latino, Women, Black, and Union vote than Sanders did. In New York, at least, these established traditional demographics voted for the establishment Democrat although exit polls showed voters felt Sanders was more trustworthy and would have a better chance of beating Trump. On the morning after shows the pundits opined yet again on the beginning of the end for the Sanders campaign as well as on Hillary’s popularity with women and racial minorities.

Voter turnout was large but not as big as when Clinton beat Obama in New York in 2008. The MSM’s constant refrain about the support Clinton has with women and minorities presumes that her support runs as deep as has been reported from the exit polls. But Obama eventually captured those voters in the general election after beating Clinton in the primary race. Clinton’s growing unpopularity with all voters doesn’t augur well for the Democrats if she wins the nomination. The MSM is correct in reporting that Sanders enjoys considerable support among Independents, who did not vote in the New York Democratic Primary. Neither did the 50,000 or so members of New York’s Working Families Party. Party election rules prevented them.

Clinton’s inevitability stems from her wide lead in Super-Delegates. Endorsements are important for the votes that will be cast at the convention but also because they signal to Democrats the candidate they should vote for in the state primaries. The pundits have criticized Sanders for many things but the most offensive charge they level at him every time Clinton wins a state primary is that his campaign for a political revolution does not translate into the critical mass of votes needed to upset the Clinton juggernaut. And therefore, the Sanders campaign is a chimera and he himself, a phantom. Or put simply, Sanders is a ghost candidate.

In a way he is and it’s because he has so few endorsements from well-known women and famous minority celebrities. Sanders has Cornell West, a brilliant and polemical Professor of Philosophy. But West looks like a black Albert Einstein who rants a lot. Danny Glover and Spike Lee have endorsed Sanders and so has Elizabeth Warren. But where is Jesse Jackson when he needs him most? Sanders twice endorsed Jackson for President in 1984 and 1988. Jackson is sitting on the sidelines when he should be flogging for Sanders and using his “gospel accent” to bring black voters under the Sanders tent. Al Sharpton has likewise refused to endorse Sanders. And, of course, the entire Congressional Black Caucus with a couple of exceptions has endorsed Clinton, not Sanders. So, the question is not so much whether Sanders lacks appeal among African Americans but rather why so few among the African American elite don’t like him or at least haven’t endorsed him.

The same thing can be said about endorsements from well-known Latinos. Clinton has practically the entire roster of Latino pols in her camp, a panoply of current or former Latino government officials like Ken Salazar and Henry Cisneros, and veteran activists like Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers. Sanders has comedian George Lopez and Human Rights activist Isabel Garcia. Edward James Olmos? Nope. Jimmy Smits? Nope. Gloria Estefan? Nope. Pac-Man Manny Pacquiao? Nope. Clinton has literally thousands of endorsements from various notables. You can find them listed here. In contrast, Sanders has several hundred. You can find them here:

To borrow a good line from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, there is a special place in hell for the labor fakers who have either endorsed Clinton or refused to endorse Sanders in a contest that will have a huge impact on the wages and lives of working Americans in the coming years. Sanders has a 100% voting record supporting labor rights. And as Ralph Nader recently pointed out, the leaders of some of the nation’s largest unions like AFSCE (public employees), AFT (teachers). SEIU (service workers), and UFCW (Food and Commercial Workers) have endorsed Clinton. The CWA (Communications Workers) is one of the few unions that holds a referendum before they make an endorsement and CWA supports Sanders, as do some 80-odd locals who have defied their DC-based leadership and come out for Sanders. You can read Nader’s article here.

Like Jesse Jackson, the best AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka could do is keep the Federation neutral during the primary season when its endorsement could have put Sanders over the top in a number of primaries that he lost to Clinton, including New York. But too many of the big unions already endorsed Clinton in 2015.

On the question of uniting the Democratic Party behind the eventual nominee, the exit polls showed that 12% of Sanders supporters would not vote for Clinton if she became the democratic nominee and 17% of Clinton supporters would not vote for Sanders if he got the nod. While the majority of New York voters would cast their ballot in a general election for either Sanders or Clinton, it is clear there is some bad blood between the two camps with a bit more animosity towards Sanders on Clinton’s side. The animosity between the campaigns has increased lately but that only obscures one stark and incontestable difference between the two candidates: Hillary Clinton is supported by a lot of influential people who matter. Bernie Sanders is mostly supported by people who aren’t famous and generally speaking don’t matter.

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