Bernie’s Sort-of Big Win

Date: April 07, 2016

The democratic socialist gained a huge victory over Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin’s primary. But does his campaign have enough steam to overtake her going forward?

The Wisconsin Democratic primary was all about “momentum.” But that might just be an illusion.

Bernie Sanders said the word again and again during his victory speech on April 5, and just about every news outlet did the same in its election coverage

Indeed, Sanders did continue his hot streak: He finished with nearly 57 percent of the vote, marking his sixth win in the last seven contests. The margin was also near the 16 percent he needed if he were to gain ground on Hillary Clinton, FiveThirtyEight reported

Yet, it all might be too little too late for the Vermont senator.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SMALL BUSINESS? Follow NFIB’s analysis to see how the latest campaign outcomes affect owners. 

“In politics, as in sports, narrative momentum is often confused with something more substantial,” The New Republic wrote. “Because the Democratic Party awards all of its delegates proportionately, Sanders can win a lot more small states by big margins, as he has throughout this campaign, and still not really cut into Clinton’s lead.”

Trouble Ahead

Clinton’s established lead—250 pledged delegates going into the night—will require Sanders to win big in larger upcoming contests (New York, Pennsylvania, California) with demographics that haven’t been his bread and butter so far—conditions unlike the favorable ones that helped propel him to victory in Wisconsin. 

Here are Wisconsin’s voter demographics, as New York magazine points out, drawing from CNN exit polls: 

  • Only 9 percent of primary voters were African-American, which Clinton won 74–26. 
  • 18 percent of voters were under 30, which Sanders won 81–17.
  • Clinton narrowly won self-identified Democrats; Sanders won self-identified Independents by a large margin.

The potential problem for Sanders is that a majority of the primaries going forward will be closed off to Independent voters and feature more minority voters—as much as 30 percent in New York, The New Yorker reported. As they wrote, it’s not that he can’t win, it’s that Sanders “will have to win over more registered Democrats and non-whites than he has previously.”

In the immediate future, though, “what Wisconsin gives Sanders is the ability to keep raising big dollars and keep his supporters energized in states where organizational work will be especially important. He has outraised Clinton, $109 million to $75 million, in the last three months,” CNN reported

While the New York April 19 primary looms large on both sides, campaigns will first head to Wyoming for an April 9 primary.

Here’s more of what Sanders said about small business issues in his victory speech. (Clinton didn’t speak Tuesday night.)

Healthcare: an “International Embarrassment”

“Yes, the Affordable Care Act has done a lot of very good things. Thank you, Pres. Obama for your leadership. But in terms of healthcare, there is much, much more that has to be done. 

“The American people are asking why does it happen that every other major country on Earth—United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, Canada—every major country on Earth guarantees healthcare to all of their people as a right, except the United States. And together, we are going to change that international embarrassment.”

Minimum Wage: “We Can Change the Status Quo”

“If we were here in this beautiful auditorium five years ago, not a long time from a historical perspective, and somebody would have jumped up and said, ‘You know, I think a $7.25 federal minimum wage is starvation, and it has got be raised to $15 an hour’ … the person next to them would have said, ‘You’re nuts. $15 an hour? You want to more than double the minimum wage? You’re crazy. Maybe we can get it up to $8, $9 an hour. But $15 an hour? You’re dreaming too big.’ 

“What is my point? My point is that, yes, we can change the status quo when think big and when we have a vision.”

*Note: This news coverage does not equate to an endorsement of any candidate by NFIB.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

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