As the 2016 race for the White House comes down to the final stages of the campaign, we have seen several trends develop over the past few months. First, those who are perceived to be outsiders — Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders — have created the most energy and enthusiasm among the electorate. But whereas Trump is the clear front-runner for the Republican nomination, Sanders has lagged behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the beginning.
Next week, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island will vote, but recent polls suggest none of those states will alter the current calculus in place on both sides. In other words, Clinton and Trump will gain more delegates and continue their march to their respective party nominations when the conventions are held in July.
Some pundits have wondered aloud why the Democratic race has developed the way it has when Sanders has clearly had the edge when it comes to the passion of his supporters and the crowds he is able to draw. Can it all be chalked up to the money Clinton has raised and her edge in superdelegates? Sanders himself had a theory when he appeared on “Meet the Press” earlier today, telling Chuck Todd:
‘Well, because poor people don’t vote. I mean, that’s just a fact.’
Sanders went on to support his thesis by saying the low turnout of low-income voters in the United States is:
‘A sad reality of American society, and that’s what we have to transform.’
The Vermont Senator noted that his campaign had been able to reach out to young voters and had also made inroads into the forgotten demographic sectors of the country, but still had not been able to change one fact:
‘I think we have done – had some success with lower-income people. But in America today – the last election in 2014, 80% of poor people did not vote.’
But Sanders sounded optimistic about the future of his movement and the country overall, commenting:
‘If we can significantly increase voter turnout so that low-income people and working people and young people participated in the political process, if we got a voter turnout of 75%, this country would be radically transformed.’
Exit polls show that Sanders has lost Democratic voters with household incomes below $50,000 by 55 percent to 44 percent to Clinton. He has lost by a 21 percentage-point margin among voters with incomes above $100,000, and by 9 points among middle-income voters.
Here’s Senator Sanders on “Meet the Press” earlier today:
Featured Image Via Flickr available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License