In Thursday’s MSNBC debate Rachel Maddow, having raised the specters of George McGovern and Barry Goldwater, briefly acknowledged Sanders’ general election lead (“I know you have good head to head polling numbers… right now”) before asking, “but do you have a general election strategy?” Sanders might have referred all Goldwater questions to Hillary, who after all worked on Barry’s famed `64 race, or asked Maddow why the guy leading every general election poll would need a new general election strategy, but he did neither.
There is no Clinton firewall.At most, ten states are out of Sanders’ reach and public opinion is never static. Nor does she have a better “ground game.” Real grass-roots organizations like The Working Families Party, MoveOn.org and Democracy for America let members guide endorsements. (Sanders’ support in each of those groups was at or above 85%) Such groups are building the movement Sanders speaks of in every speech. Building a movement is like wiring a house for electricity. You can buy the most expensive lamps in the store but with no electricity, when you hit the switch the lights don’t go on. It takes real conviction to fuel grass-roots politics. In Iowa, Sanders ran five points ahead of late polls. It won’t be the last time it happens.