Hillary Clinton is still the candidate to beat for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Bernie Sanders has emerged through his use of social media and role as an outsider.
With the MSNBC Democratic Forum occurring tomorrow night at Winthrop University, the race for who will become the next Democratic candidate for president is certainly heating up. Whereas most people still expect Hillary Clinton to receive the nomination, Bernie Sanders has gained a strong following and there are still a few longshots who haven’t called it quits yet. Let’s take a look at where each candidate stands.
Hillary Clinton is far and away the candidate to beat in this race. Real Clear Politics has her leading with 54.8% in the polls, leading the second candidate Bernie Sanders by over twenty percentage points. With less than 90 days until the first primaries, this is a substantial advantage.
There has obviously been a lot of controversy surrounding the former First Lady and Secretary of State, specifically surrounding her use of a personal email account to conduct official business, including the controversial 2012 Benghazi attacks that occurred during her time as Secretary of State.
On October 22nd, Clinton was held before the Benghazi Committee to testify and answer questions for over eight hours. Her ability to stand her ground during this trial has certainly helped her reputation in the eyes of the voters. Her poll numbers, which had dipped with the emergence of Bernie Sanders, are on the rise again following her performance in the debate and in this trial.
Right now, don’t expect anyone other than Clinton to come out of the Democratic Primary as the candidate for president. She has the woman vote in hand, is a recognizable name, and is easily the party’s best chance to retain the White House for four more years.
The Senator from Vermont sits at second in the polls at 32.5%, the highest he’s been in them yet. The self-described “democratic socialist” has taken the country by storm ever since he began his campaign in May.
Sanders has played the role of an outsider in his campaign, having refused to take money from Super PACs, instead relying on smaller individual donations. He has also been able to appeal to those frustrated with the current establishment because he’s so different.
The most interesting thing about Sanders’ campaign is the way that he has used social media to attract a wide array of people. He often posts to both Twitter and Facebook, and even held an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit in May. It has become impossible to scroll through Facebook without seeing a post about Bernie Sanders (with #feelthebern at the end).
The key right now for Sanders’ campaign is the New Hampshire primary. The polls have been swinging back and forth between Clinton and him, and if he is able to defeat her there, he could gain the support he needs in the other states to stage an upset.
The last remaining candidate outside of the top two (Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee dropped out), O’Malley is at about 1.8% in the polls, not commanding too much attention at this point. He’ll need a strong performance to remain relevant in this race.