The past election cycle has been a cankerous mess of bipartisan schisms and ad hominem attacks. This culminated into the election of the current president, Donald Trump. Now that the United States is entering the next election cycle, all eyes are on the Democratic party, and the multiple candidates that are being offered at this time. Like many political science enthusiasts, I have been watching the primary caucuses and debates with great interest. With Nevada going the way of Senator Bernie Sanders, I believe that the Democrats are in grave danger of losing the general elections to President Trump, should Sanders become the nominee.
One of the trends that I have noticed in this election cycle is the rise of progressive liberals. These are liberals that are big into social reform, with hot button issues such as gun rights and abortion. Sanders has pandered well to this demographic, especially in younger generations. According to the New York Times, Sanders won a staggering 65% of voters ranging from 17 to 29. This correlated with Sanders also winning 49% of the very liberal vote. It has become obvious that progressives have become frustrated with the recent neutral stance of the left, and there is a swell of far left individuals showing up to vote in this election. On the one hand, this is a great action to see. It is showing that young people are becoming involved in politics and making it known that they will fight for their beliefs. However, this spells disaster for the Democrats in the general election. Sanders only won 22% of the moderate votes, with Biden making the largest stand. Sanders has been struggling to gain the moderate vote, as many view his socialist ideals to be too far left for the centrist comfort zone. And the Republicans are well solidified in their candidate, President Trump. Sanders has no chance of winning the moderate Republican votes, as many Republicans will have a hard enough time voting for any candidate on the Democratic ticket.
The other problem that the Democrats are facing is that there is no central candidate that the party has endorsed. During President Obama’s first run for office, there were two fairly central candidates that the party endorsed: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Ultimately, the party went with President Obama. However, there are still eight candidates left in the field. And what makes the race more diluted is that there is a wide spread of ideology, from the far left thoughts of Sanders and Warren to the more centrist approach of Buttigeg and Klobuchar. The party has yet to decide upon what values they wish to present in the upcoming election. And if the party cannot gather around one candidate at the convention, then the vote will go to the super delegates, which are already controversial since the 2016 election cycle. And a contested convention shows weakness in the eyes of the public.
Sanders entering the election has added a massive variable to what has already been a turbulent season. While he has massive support from his base, there are several issues with him becoming the nominee. His presence splits the Democrats, and to defeat President Trump, there must be unity. The Democrats are in dire need of a moderate to win the next election. They need to pull voters from the Republicans to win, but this can only be achieved with a moderate candidate.