Sanders is Crushing The Pollsters and Pundits with His “Unlikely Voter” Army

This morning, as headline writers reached for the thesaurus of electoral upset: from “shocking,” to “stunning” to “unbelievable,” Bernie Sanders’ supporters were far less vexed than the punditocracy.

We stopped listening to the chattering classes some time ago, because we know something that pollsters can’t seem to wrap their minds around: Sanders’ campaign’s strength is in its ability to marshal unlikely voters: idealistic first-time voters, younger voters and those middle-aged voters who have long been disconnected for the political process for wont of a candidate that moves them.

Those “20-points-down” polls of “likely voters” undercounted Sanders’ core supporters in one way by relying on those who have participated in the past two cycles and in another by making the assumption that African American voters from the urban north would vote in lockstep with those in the rural south. Pollsters had also pegged the 18–29 set, one of Sanders’ strongest demographic groups, at likely 15 percent of the electorate, a mark they beat by 6 percent despite many university students being away on spring break.

Much of the polling also discounted independent voters, 71 percent of whom in this open primary went for Sanders. As Hillary Clinton is eager to remind everyone, Sanders spent 36+ years as a registered independent. Since a record 43 percent of the U.S. population now self-identifies as independent, Sanders’ overwhelming strength with those voters ought to be getting more play wherever electability in the general gets discussed.

Beyond the polling numbers, there seems to be a good bit of willful blindness on the part of the media cognoscenti, who saw their smug predictions wiped from their faces last night. The fact they just now seem to be coming to grips with is that Bernie Sanders is a real contender for this nomination — and that’s while holding himself back from throwing the kind of knockout punches at Hillary Clinton’s glass jaw that Donald Trump will unleash with abandon.

Under investigation, underwhelming on the stump and mistrusted to a Nixonian degree, Hillary Clinton is also the consummate, corporate-money-grubbing insider in an outsider’s year. The longer she stands on the stage with Bernie Sanders, the smaller she looks by comparison. His record, small-donor fundraising ensures Sanders will have all the resources he needs to make sure voters in all 50 states get their chance to vote, as the primary calendar turns decisively in his favor. Even as many continue to deny that head-to-head matchup polls mean anything, Sanders wins them decisively.

All those dumbstruck pundits out there looking for their next “narrative” would do well to think about how the Democrats’ best chance to beat Trump may not be the greasy inside track after all, but in uniting Hillary voters with Sanders’ “unlikely voter” Army, who will only turn out in the fall if they are marching behind a leader they respect and who speaks with authenticity to their concerns. Now that’s a revolutionary thought.