In The (New, New) New Republic, Eric Sasson asks the logical question: “Who Is the Hillary Voter?” Who are these people who irrationally continue to vote for the woman who just can’t excite women, or millennials, or white men? Sasson suggests that the “voters are angry” narrative that’s probably warranted among the Republicans has taken over political coverage in the Democratic primary race unfairly:
The voter we almost never hear about, however, is the Clinton voter. Which is surprising, since Hillary Clinton has won more votes in the primaries than any other candidate so far. She has amassed over 2.5 million more votes than Sanders; over 1.1 million more votes than Trump. Clearly Clinton voters exist, yet there has been very little analysis as to who they are or why they are showing up to vote for her.
. . . . .
We never hear that Hillary Clinton has “momentum”—what she has is a “sizable delegate lead.” No one this cycle has described Clinton supporters as “fired up”—it’s simply not possible that people are fired up for Hillary. No, what we gather about Clinton from the press is that she can’t connect. She has very high unfavorable ratings. People think she is dishonest and untrustworthy. She is not a gifted politician. She is a phony. Hated by so many. The list goes on.
Considering that narrative, one would expect Clinton to be faring far worse in the primaries. Instead, she currently holds a popular vote and delegate lead over Sanders that far surpasses Obama’s lead over her at this point in the race in 2008.
Surely not! But, maybe the news media are a little bit wrong about the prevailing mood of the electorate. Sure, some people are pissed off–maybe even the majority of Republicans–but clearly, the majority of Democrats aren’t:
If Democrats are so angry, Clinton would not be in the position she is today. Is it really so farfetched to claim that quite a few Democrats aren’t voting for Sanders precisely because he seems angry? Which isn’t to suggest that people aren’t angry—certainly many Republican primary voters seem to be. Rather, it is to suggest that voters who aren’t angry are still showing up at the polls, despite being ignored in news stories.
But what about those yuuuuuuuuuge rallies that Donald Drumpf and Bernie Sanders are staging? What about that enthusiasm, huh?
So perhaps Clinton voters don’t show up at rallies so much. Perhaps they are a bit less passionate on Facebook, share fewer articles, give less money to their candidate (she does have a super PAC, after all). But what they are doing is perhaps the only thing that actually matters in an election. They are showing up to vote. In numbers that no other candidate can boast.
Remember the end of the 2012 presidential election campaign? Mitt Romney was convinced that the huge rallies that greeted him every time he hit the ground in Ohio and Pennsylvania meant that he was going to win, in spite of the actual poll numbers and likely voter forecasts. But although they may be useful to one another, stagecraft ain’t statecraft, my friends.
I’ve said all along that a portion of the American people might get riled up by an angry pol who sows fear and division, but in the end people vote for the candidate with the positive vision. With Hillary Clinton as the first nominee of a major party for president, this will already be a historic election year, but let’s work to make it unexceptional in every other way. #LoveTrumpsHate!