Why did Hillary win last night?
By Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
Of course, it’s not so simple to describe, but based on my years of experience working in elections both in India and USA, and also years of studied observations on how media and politics work, here is my two cents.
If you want to to add anything, please feel free to do so. Thank you so very much for reading and sharing.
1. Name Recognition. — Thanks to media’s blackout (which I now call “Journalism of Exclusion”), most people didn’t even know who Bernie Sanders was, until recently. Whether it’s U.S. media such as New York Times, CNN, NPR or NY Daily News, or foreign media such as Times of India or powerful, local media across the world, nobody heard about Sanders, or his lifelong work for the 99%. People have always associated the Clintons with liberal politics, and famous personalities praised them as saviors of the powerless and disenfranchised. There was no analysis as to what they have done all these years, both in the U.S. and overseas. Nobody knows — outside of a small, informed circle — Hillary’s Kissinger or Monsanto connection, or Bill’s role to overturn Glass-Stegall Act. Few people could actually connect the dots.
2. The Jewish Vote. — Bernie Sanders’ strong criticism of Israeli government especially the tyrannical Netanyahu regime and its Gaza bloodshed was, in all likelihood, not received well among the conservative Jewish community that is a big percentage of NYC voters. Again, pro-Israeli-1% media such as NYTimes, CNN and Washington Post played a role to spin the news in Clinton’s favor.
3. Big Union’s Hillary Endorsement. — Unfortunately, many big unions endorsed Clinton. Hillary’s long and close association with Wal-Mart (anti-union) should have been enough reason for them not to endorse her. And her Goldman Sachs and Verizon speeches, $225,000 a speech, and the transcripts never disclosed. But they did. It was still great to see that CWA (on Verizon strike), TWU (union that understands how public transportation is breaking down), and a major nurses’ union endorsed Bernie. But much bigger unions such as 1199 or Randi Weingarten’s teacher’s union supported Hillary. They have money and power, and have strong NYC base.
4. African-American Vote (and Latino Vote). — People who are the most disenfranchised, and have been victims of racism, police brutality, poverty, Bill Clinton’s disastrous crime bill, welfare reform, or harsh immigration law, serious health crisis, and incredible illiteracy voted for Hillary in a big way especially in big cities. If you look at the NY state map I hand-drew last night, following NYTimes’ results map, primarily, NYC delivered Hillary the victory. The rest of entire NY state, except for small Hillary wins in Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo, voted big for Bernie. Again, I would not blame black voters for their decision. They simply didn’t know Bernie Sanders well. And they put their faith on Hillary, just the same way they put their faith on Bill for many years.
5. Huge Voter Suppression. — Hundreds of thousands of voters could not vote in NY yesterday. It was so disastrous that even the pro-Hillary mayor asked the board of elections to investigate the large-scale exclusion. Now, would these excluded voters vote for Hillary or Bernie? Not sure. But the entire, archaic and primitive election system in America got exposed once again. Powers — the 1% — always validated democracy through no-show primaries where 5-7% people usually vote, and this time, when such a large number of people turned out, the voting machinery crashed.
6. The Trump Factor. — Contrary to many polls where they showed that Bernie has a better chance of defeating Trump in November, many New Yorkers believe Hillary can do it better. A friend called from Albany last week, and said he was going to vote for Hillary for that reason, so that Trump can be stopped. Yet, fact is, if Hillary becomes the Democratic nominee with help from superdelegates, Trump’s chances drastically increase, and we could see a racist-sexist-fascist man to be the next American president. A scary thought, but it is now more possible than ever before.
7. A First Woman President. — Again, some friends tell me this is the one single reason they want to vote for Hillary. They have now seen a black president, and they now want to see a woman president in America (and they lament that unlike the rest of the world, America has not been able to elect a woman head of state yet). They say it will be historic. To me, it is purely a sentimental reason, and just by being woman, one does not become pro-woman, or gender neutral. In fact, in India, we have seen Indira Gandhi who was a dictator, and her politics destroyed my youth. The real question should be, is this candidate pro-1%, or pro-99%? If she refuses to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, is that going to help the poor woman workers and their families and children? If she works with Wal-Mart, is that going to help the poor woman workers who work for Wal-Mart with slave wages and no union rights? Why at Clinton Foundation, women make much less than their male colleagues?
8. Media’s Scandalous Bias. — Journalism was a joke. New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, NBC, ABC, Wall Street Journal, etc. etc. got exposed. Naked. I have studied media at a famous journalism school here in New York. I know how it works.
Why did Hillary win last night?