by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
May 28, 2016
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Hillary Clinton told CNN last week that as far as she is concerned "I will be the nominee for my party. That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won't be."
There are still nine more states yet to vote, however. And although the math may be solidly in Clinton's favor against Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, that's about the only thing that is in her favor.
The Democratic National Committee did its best to stack the deck for Clinton. It lined up the support of super-delegates more than a year in advance. It discouraged challengers from running against Clinton. It made certain that she would get all the financial and political support she needed.
But as much as she was positioned as the inevitable nominee, the DNC failed to see that there is a substantial number of progressives that reject the tepid center-right agenda of today's Democratic party. They've been called the "Warren wing" of the party, after Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. She wisely chose not to run for President, and Sanders was wise enough to step in and give go.
What has happened since Sanders entered the race last summer is amazing. He has drawn millions of people back into electoral politics, and has inspired millions of young people to get involved in the political process. In the course of that, Sanders went from single-digits neck-and-neck with Clinton within a few months.
The pollsters certainly aren't seeing Clinton as the odds-on favorite to become , as some of the most recent data samples indicate.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll had Clinton with a 46-43 lead, or within the pollís 3 percent margin of error. Back in March, Clinton's lead was 50-39.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll has Trump leading 46-44 among registered voters, or an 11 point swing against Clinton since March.
Rasmussen had Trump in front, 42-37. Only three weeks earlier, Trump had a 41-39 lead.
And Fox News also has Trump in front, 45-42.
However, while it's still a statistical dead heat, with all the those polls within the margin of error, it's still only May and there's still more months of campaigning left.
Nonetheless, the DNC expects Sanders' supporters to meekly fall into line nd support Clinton. They know that without the support of the Bernie fans, Hillary will not win.
But the DNC has no clue about how much the game has changed.
For starters, there is no such thing as party loyalty anymore. Forty-four percent of Americans call themselves independents, compared to only 20 percent in 1960.
Most of those in the independent camp came from the Democratic Party. Why?
A lot of that has to do with the rightward shift of the Democratic Party, which started under President Jimmy Carter and accelerated under President Bill Clinton. When the Democrats abandoned the principles of the New Deal and the Great Society to sup at the same trough of corporate bucks as the Republicans, many left the party.
A Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans believe there should be a third political because the Democrats and Republicans are doing a poor job representing them, as demonstrated by a political process that gives us a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for President.
Bernie Sandersí race for the presidency isn't merely a campaign. It is a fight to create a political movement that represents millions of Americans that are sick of voting against what they don't want because it represents the lesser of two evils, and still ending up with what they don't want.
A majority of the rank-and-file of the Democratic Party support ' maintaining his candidacy right through the convention in Philadelphia in July. And why shouldn't he? By staying in the race, he and his supporters can keep the pressure on the party leaders to not go wobbly and support a progressive and genuinely liberal party platform that reflects the values and ideals that a majority of Americans say they want.
So, as much as Hillary Clinton wants the race be over, it is not. If she wants to be President, she will need the support of the Sanders voters. To get it, she will need to be more than someone "less worse" than Donald Trump. She will need to run as a Democrat - a real Femocrat - to earn their support.
AR's Chief of Correspondents, Randolph T. Holhut, holds an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. and has been an award-winning journalist in New England for more than 35 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at email@example.com.