I'm not quite sure why Bernie Sanders predicted he would win the New York primary. He ended up losing to Hillary Clinton by 16 points. (Sorry, make that by "a massive 16 points.") Perhaps his internal polls showed him winning. If so, he should look for a new pollster, since every other poll had him down by between 8-12 points. And this topped even that. Or maybe he knew he was down by that much, and he felt he needed to do something to convince people who like to vote for the winning side to vote for him. It that was the case, it was ill-thought strategy. Because it turned a very big loss into a bigger one.
After all, Mr. Sanders not only didn't win like he said he would, but he lost by more than everyone was predicting. So, the margin looks even worse. It makes it appear that Ms. Clinton beat expectations, a tough thing to do when you're in the the state where you were twice-elected U.S. Senator. If instead he had said something along the lines of, "We ran a really good campaign, and got massive crowds, and have been making great headway. New York has always been an uphill battle because this is the state where Hillary Clinton was senator, so she's the one the pressure is on, We feel great what we did here, We came from nowhere and were massively behind when we started...and we have closed the margin drastically and made it a competitive race" -- if he had said that, rather than predicting victory, then losing by 16 points wouldn't be seen as big, but in close range to what was expected in her resident state.
It also didn't come across well that he sort of disappeared last night, had no concession speech among wildly enthusiastic supporters, and instead ducked out to fly home to Vermont -- and for some reason said he was supposedly going to hold a press conference when he arrived at the airport, something all the reporters I saw on TV were bewildered by, since he had left all those covering him back in Pennsylvania where he'd been campaigning, and therefore weren't even in Vermont for him to talk to.
Just an odd night for him.
By the way, Lawrence O'Donnell made an interesting observation on MSNBC, amid all the roundtable analysis of the evening. He said that Hillary Clinton by herself alone got more votes than all three Republican candidates combined, "which means New York state is not in play in the election."
It added a perspective to the discussion that hadn't even come close to being referenced all night. Of course, that brought Nicole Wallace, one of the network's Republican analysts thought she had to jump in and defend her own. (Ms. Wallace has too much difficultly forgetting that she's there as an insightful analyst and not be a political operative debating the host, even if being a GOP political adviser is her profession) She tried to explain that Independents weren't allowed to vote, "which is the point Donald Trump was talking about," and therefore we don't know what will happen in the general election. After she went on for a bit, trying to make this sound sensible, a losing battle, she did eventually get around to saying the obvious -- "Of course, New York is never in play for Republicans, so it probably won't be this year..."
To his credit, Lawrence O'Donnell, not usually known for graceful subtlety, decided to stay polite and quiet as she went on her political operative spin. I'm sure in his mind, he was bubbling with wanting to spurt out, "I repeat, Hillary Clinton had more votes than all three Republican candidates combined. There aren't enough Independents in the entire state to overcome this deficit, which doesn't even include the added reality that Bernie Sanders by himself had more votes that Donald Trump and second-place finisher John Kasich combined. If every Independent voted for Donald Trump he wouldn't beat the Democrat running in New York. And that presumes all 100% of Independents in the state of New York -- New York! -- -are not only going to vote Republican, but for Donald Trump, who has a 70% unfavorable rating."
Instead, he just smiled as Ms. Wallace eventually got to, "Of course, New York is never in play for Republicans, so it probably wont be this year..."
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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