Bernie Sanders still stands a chance

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has pulled even with Hillary Clinton, the presumed Democratic nominee for President, in several primary states, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Many supporters of Sanders who were not convinced that a self-proclaimed socialist could receive the Democratic nomination are surprised at Sanders’s recent surge. His rise in recent polls, while shocking, is a result of careful media relations by the presidential candidate. However, Sanders may fail to receive the nomination. This is not due to Sanders’s beliefs, but rather the belief that his role in the elections is to provoke debate, rather than to receive the Democratic nomination for President.

The Vermont Senator openly admits that his economic policies are socialist. Sanders’ openness protects him from the kinds of attacks that have been leveled against President Barack Obama, many of which claim that Obama’s domestic policies are economically socialist. Furthermore, many younger Democrats are far more liberal than their older counterparts, giving Sanders a well of support during the primaries.

Younger, liberal Democrats favor Sanders because of his boldness when decrying financial institutions. In this sense, Sanders’s popularity is the political product of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which turned income equality into a mainstream political topic. His use of grassroots campaign donations, rather than PACs and corporate donors, resonates with the younger sect of liberals, who oppose campaign finance laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

However, Sanders faces one main roadblock in his primary campaign. He cannot win the Democratic nomination while political pundits still claim that his policies, such as single-payer healthcare, are too liberal for the country. The most damaging prospect to Sanders is the pessimism surrounding his nomination. If Democrats held his nomination as a true possibility rather than a pipe dream, Sanders’s nomination is not only possible, but likely.