Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders blew off any notion Sunday night during the Democrat debate that his lack of support among minority voters will crush his candidacy.
“Let me talk about polling. Secretary Clinton well knows, when this campaign began, she was 50 points ahead of me. We were all of 3 percentage points. Guess what? In Iowa, New Hampshire, the race is very, very close. Maybe we’re ahead in New Hampshire. In terms of polling, guess what, we are running ahead of secretary Clinton in terms of taking on my good friend, Donald Trump,” Sanders told NBC debate moderator Lester Holt.
He explained, “Beating him by 19 points in New Hampshire, 13 points in the last national poll that I saw. To answer your question, when the African American community becomes familiar with my Congressional record and with our agenda and with our views on the economy and criminal justice, just as the general population has become more supportive, so will the African American community, so will the Latino community, we have the momentum, we’re on a path to a victory.”
Sanders later reiterated his campaign to date received more individual contributions than any candidate in history. The Sanders campaign announced in December they accepted 2 million individual contributions, which is more individual donations than President Obama received at the same point in 2008.
Sanders managed to pull up his numbers to make him a competitive threat to Clinton, but Democratic consultants do not see Sanders as a threat come convention time this summer in Philadelphia.
“Even if HRC loses Iowa and NH, she will still sweep the South and Midwest and win the nomination comfortably,” Democratic consultant and former Clinton campaign strategist Doug Schoen told the Daily Caller.
Former Obama White House Press Secretary Bill Burton agrees, telling The Daily Caller, “Even if Secretary Clinton loses Iowa and New Hampshire – and that is a big if – she will still completely overwhelm him in the states that follow.”
Many believe Sanders will lose steam after New Hampshire because the states that follow tend to have more minority residents than that of Iowa and the Granite State, a demographic Clinton is polling better with.
“It’s about six months of communication versus 20 years,” Marcus Ferrell, Sanders’ African-American Outreach Director, comparing Sanders to Clinton. “For us to be where we are is good. It’s not like our numbers have gone down, they have crept up,” he told CNN.
Veteran political strategist Hank Sheinkopf, however, wonders if party bosses will lock down the nomination for Clinton if Sanders stays in the race too long.
“Maybe the real question is will state party chairs and super delegates do their best to block Bernie Sanders if he appears to be the nominee? They might if they want to destroy their party,” said Sheinkopf.
In an effort to overcome his deficit with minority voters, Sanders is expected to be featured in next month’s Ebony magazine and will appear at a Martin Luther King Day Rally on Birmingham, Alabama with Cornel West and Nina Turner, a former Ohio state lawmaker who defected from the Clinton camp to Sanders’ in the fall.