opinion, Polling

Enthusiasm by 20 Pts.

OK, Biden isn’t running.

The Benghazi committee probably isn’t going to end Hillary Clinton’s political career tomorrow.

Even prior to today Hillary’s mainstream poll numbers moved up, perhaps in anticipation of the above.

So what?

Here’s a little thing that seems to be missing in most of the conversations I have seen about the “polls” and who is winning and who is losing the Democratic nomination race:  Until you actually mark your ballot or raise your hand at a caucus, what you believe about who might or might not win is just that – what you think.  And it shouldn’t depend on anyone else.

I constantly hear people claim that they really like what Bernie Sanders has to say, but they don’t think he can win the nomination so they support Hillary Clinton.  That is some of the most screwed up logic I have ever heard.  This is a political process, not salmon spawning season.  You don’t have to get in line with the rest of the fish to all head up river at the same time so you can spread your swoop over some roe and perpetuate the species.

If you do agree with what Sanders has to say then you owe it to yourself and the rest of the country to educate yourself as best you can and to work as much as you can to see that others come to feel the same way.  When the votes are finally cast and the hands raised, you will have done all you could to elect the man who you think offers the best ideas, the best hope for the future.  Between now and then there isn’t a poll out there that should make the slightest bit of difference.  Or is your conviction so easily controlled by what others think?

For most of the people reading The Bern Report, this is preaching to the choir, I realize, but the articles here get shared far and wide at times.  If you’ve never given much thought to the idea that polls have nothing to do with your own personal belief and conviction before, take a few minutes.

When the ballots are counted and the hands are raised next July we will know if we convinced enough of our countrymen to join us in our convictions.

The other argument I hear is that people claim they really like what Bernie Sanders has to say, but they don’t think he can win the general election so they support Hillary Clinton.

This is a much more complicated situation.

There is a great deal at stake in this election.  The next president will almost certainly nominate two, possibly three, Supreme Court Justices.  That’s enough to overturn Citizen’s United without any other action.  That’s enough to insure Roe v Wade remains the law of the land.  With the permafrost in Alaska and northern Canada beginning to melt at an increasingly rapid rate, and the amount of methane potentially released thereafter greater than all the carbon dioxide released since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the next president could well participate in decisions that will determine the fate of the planet.

It is absolutely crucial that the Donald Trumps, the Ben Carsons, the Ted Cruzes, the Rubios and all the other movement conservative Republicans be kept as far away from the presidency as possible.  There is no higher priority.

And that presents problems for those who would support Sanders, but don’t think he can win against the Republicans.

But it’s not an immediate problem.  You could work your butt off for Sanders right up until the moment you cast your vote and if, at that point, you don’t think he can beat the Republican candidate, you can vote for the person you think can.  You don’t have to face that decision today, and you can influence the eventual outcome in the meantime.

The problem is, which Republican candidate?  And how will you know if that Republican stands a chance of beating Sanders?

That puts polls in a slightly different light, doesn’t it?

The question isn’t whether Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is winning when set against each other in a poll.  The important question is can the candidate you intend to cast your vote for be counted on to secure the White House in the general election?  And since that Republican opponent won’t actually be chosen until long after your state Democratic primary, you’ll HAVE to turn to the polls for guidance.

Polls, it has been said many times, have their issues.  But some polls perform better than others.  Some are very, very accurate later in an election.  None is very accurate early on.  It’s worth doing a little research.

If your issue, though, is that you are not convinced that Bernie Sanders can win the general election, forget polls that tell you Bernie or Hillary is ahead at any particular point.  It doesn’t matter.  If you believe that Bernie Sanders is the candidate you think will make the best president, and if he can beat the most likely Republican opponents handily, you have no reason not to vote for Bernie Sanders in your primary.  In fact, to be true to your own principles, you have an obligation to do exactly that.

Forget who won what Democratic debate.

Robert Reich recently said about the first democratic debate that Clinton apparently won the mainstream media polls but Sanders won the enthusiasm.

Polls won’t win you an election.  Polls are the result.   Enthusiasm does win elections, however.

Bernie Crowd shot Boulder

Right now Bernie Sanders seems well able to win the national election against any of the Republican candidates if the election were held today.  He also has the crowds; he also has the enthusiasm; and, most importantly, he has the policies we need to see our next president implement.  How that changes between now and any particular state primary depends on how we as supporters move forward.

About Roger A. Shipley - The Willowbrook Curmudgeon

Roger Shipley, AKA The Willowbrook Curmudgeon, spent forty years teaching in the American educational system and emerged a grumpy old man. Ensconced in the Pacific Northwest, he writes, carves, and chides people for bad grammar. You can also find his grumblings at The Curmudgeon's Lair or follow his nonsense on Twitter or Face Book

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