The Democrats seem to be narrowing their presidential nominating contest, after the overwhelming victory of Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucus. This victory is apparently due in large part to the support of the Latino vote, especially young people, in this racially diverse state. Of course, the South Carolina primary takes place on Saturday and Super Tuesday the 3rd of March, so we can hold any predictions.
However, if something became clear on Saturday it’s that the Democratic Party is in the process of transformation and not entirely in the “establishment” favor, which for decades has prevailed in the party. That is what the reactions on Saturday demonstrated, with commentators and TV pundits hyperventilating their analysis live.
But before that, one would have to analyze why all of this is happening. We can’t just assume that the extreme right, personified in President Donald J. Trump, automatically generates an extreme left personified by Sanders. Though is worth clarifying that Sanders, unlike Trump, does not outline racist ideas nor demonstrate dictatorial tendencies.
Here, on one hand, Trump’s racism and his public policies have generated fear, anger, and a thirst for change among diverse sectors of voters, particularly Hispanics, who have been the eye of the hurricane that Trump has been on their lives.
It’s perhaps premature to conclude that the status quo with Trump will generate an unprecedented mobilization to the polls, but at least in this initial step of caucuses and primaries, Nevada demonstrates that when a campaign invests and speaks directly to impacted communities, they respond and participate. This seems to have happened in the case of Sanders and Latinos in Nevada.
And it also seems to be coming clear that the Latino vote, particularly the youth, could play a crucial role in the Democratic primary process and after that in the general election.
And it is precisely these Hispanic voters who are perhaps tired of the Democratic establishment, which has not necessarily responded to their needs. Perhaps there is also a generational factor and the youngest people want to look beyond the same Democratic figures and the same Democratic ideas that seem to be stuck in the 1990s.
Sanders may be 78 years old, but his proposals are considered radical by diverse groups.
In 2016 the Republican establishment discarded Trump, and even some of the figures who now praise him used to categorize him as crazy and a demagogue, among many other things. Trump won the nomination and the presidency and he has the Republican Party in his hands, dancing to his tune.
Also in 2016 the Democratic establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, could not overcome Trump in the Electoral College, and this is where we are today.
Maybe the Democratic electors are ready for their own “revolution” in the nomination process.
The question is whether Sanders, upon being nominated, will attract other Democratic sectors that are more moderate and centrist, in a general election against Trump. Perhaps the motivation to remove Trump from office will work miracles in November.
But it’s best not to get ahead of ourselves, because there is a long way to go. And since 2016, the business of making predictions has been rather discredited.
Right now we are witnesses to the history that we are also living, experiencing the transformations of the two main political parties in this country: the Republican Party, converted into a Trump cult to the detriment of our democratic institutions and worldwide leadership; and the Democrats, engaged in an internal battle for their identity and in the process, looking for the person who can put an end to Trump in November. There is not “a lot” in play: just our democracy and our reputation.