Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has always dominated the unscientific online polls and done well in many focus groups that have asked debate viewers who won the Democratic primary debates. However, the mainstream political pundits and talking heads have overwhelmingly declared Hillary Sanders the winner. Following last night’s debate in South Carolina, Sanders again won the online polls and a prominent focus group of undecided voters. One major difference this time around–many prominent commentators declared Bernie Sanders the winner.
While I have been unabashedly a big fan of Senator Sanders, I have had to acknowledge that Hillary Clinton’s debate performances have been extremely strong. Regardless of how you feel about the former First Lady, it is obvious that she is extremely smart, is very knowledgeable on every political issue and is a formidable debate opponent. Hillary Clinton has gone toe-to-toe with Barack Obama and has a ton of experience on the pressure-filled national stage.
Many Sanders’ supporters have complained about the limited number of debates and the fact that the debates have been scheduled during inconvenient times on weekends and around some holidays and major sporting events. I have come to believe that Hillary Clinton’s performances in debates were so strong that the Democratic establishment had made a mistake in scheduling very few debates as the debates accentuate the frontrunner’s strengths. To the contrary, the DNC may have had the feeling that the anti-establishment Sanders would gain confidence as he got more national debates under his belt.
Last night’s debate was certainly Sen. Sanders best showing yet and if he continues to improve in debates, he will only become a bigger danger to the so-called “inevitable” Democratic establishment candidate. Bernie Sanders has already captured the hearts and minds of the progressive base of the Democratic Party and has been climbing in the polls, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire, while being dismissed by many mainstream political pundits. If the mainstream media continues to acknowledge the strength of the Sanders campaign, he may just pull off one of the biggest political upsets of all time.