Editorial: Can Sanders overcome the challenges facing him?


Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders pauses during a speech at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. Sanders is currently trailing Hillary Clinton in the polls by about 10 points. (The Daily Iowan/Sergio Flores)

The primaries on both the Republican and Democratic sides have been, to say the least, interesting. The antiestablishment rhetoric, preached on both ends, have brought would-be apolitical non-voters crawling out of the woodwork to pitch their support to whoever has the right message. This has culminated in near historic voter turnout for a presidential primary.

Tuesday’s primaries left Vermont Sen. and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders with Utah and Idaho under his belt and former Secretary of State and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton snagging Arizona. Business mogul Donald Trump nabbed Arizona, and Sen. Ted Cruz, perhaps Trump’s only viable contender still running, won Utah.

Though the Arizona primary was significant, Sanders’ supporters should not fret. The Daily Iowan Editorial Board believes that the Sanders campaign came out significantly ahead of Clinton’s, both on an ideological level and in sheer number of delegates collected.

After Arizona, Clinton put another 44 notches on her delegate stick. Sanders, however, snagged 73 delegates. There is still a long haul before he can close in on the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the election, and with the steady pace at which Sanders seems to be closing in on Clinton, that possibility is still very much tangible. However, the challenges Sanders faces are significant. Not only does he have to close the “pledged” delegate gap with Clinton, but he also must persuade the party’s unbound superdelegates that he is a viable option.

Ideologically, though a win (as it stands) for Clinton, the Arizona primary works to further her image of, as seen by some and perhaps a bit bluntly stated, as benefiting from shady politics. Cries of voter fraud in Arizona are plaguing social media, culminating in an online petition that has collected an astonishing 75,000 signatures in under 24 hours.

Maricopa County, Arizona, is the epicenter of what has been described as a voting disaster. The county of 4 million people had a 70 percent reduction in polling places from the last primary, leaving a mere 60 stations available to voters, amounting to an embarrassing ratio of one voting place for every 21,000 voters. According to Arizona news station NBC 12, this left people waiting in line up to four or five hours, the last vote being cast as late as 12:19 a.m. Given the turnout seen in the plethora of primaries held across the nation thus far, officials in Arizona are either entirely inept or downright oblivious.

The numbers, as of today, show Clinton as securing 467 superdelegates to Sanders’ 26. Superdelegates are elected Democratic Party officials or otherwise distinguished party leaders. This means that the established party has a very steep incline toward the Clinton campaign. To lay claim that the Clinton campaign is guilty of orchestrating voter fraud is far-fetched, but the situation does not look good in her already blemished record (campaign financed by big money, the email scandal, and a general history of simply saying what must be said to remain favorable.)

Though his campaign should probably still be considered a long shot, the fact remains: Sanders appears to be gaining momentum while Clinton continues to attract controversy like dirt on boots.

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