Despite former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s victory in the New York primary on Tuesday, Tompkins county local volunteers said they believe Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vt.) race for the Democratic nomination and ability to invoke change in American politics will find success in the future.
William Bristow ’16, President of Cornell Democrats, said he believes Clinton’s New York primary win increases her chances of obtaining the Democratic nomination.
“Tonight, Hillary Clinton won a significant victory in her campaign for the Democratic nomination,” Bristow said. “These results — combined with the states left in play — make it even more difficult for Senator Sanders to catch up to Clinton in terms of pledged delegates.”
Rebecca Saber ’18, co-head of Hillary for America at Cornell called today an “incredible and crucial victory for Hillary Clinton,” in part because of Clinton’s grassroots approach in New York state.
“Rather than holding large rallies like Sanders, Clinton utilized intimate and individual encounters to solidify her victory in New York,” Saber said. “New Yorkers know that Clinton has a great track record in the state, and that she has worked hard for many years to improve the lives of New Yorkers.”
Saber called the New York primary a pivotal win for Clinton, saying she has “lost traction in the few weeks.”
“Winning a state like New York is critical — it shows the remaining states that Clinton is still very much in the race and that many voters believe in her,” Saber said.
Theresa Alt, a member of the Ithaca Branch of the Democratic Socialists of America for Bernie Sanders, said that while Clinton appears to be the winner of the New York race, Sanders still has a chance at earning the nomination.
“Statewide, Clinton is winning by a significant margin — similar to the one she had over Obama in 2008,” Alt said. “Obama, of course, won nationwide. We’ll see what happens in the coming months.”
Alt said results show that “Bernie Sanders is trouncing Hillary Clinton two to one in Tompkins County,” which she said she believes is due in part to the volunteering efforts of the Ithaca DSA.
“It shows what feet on the ground can do,” she said. “Some of those feet were the Democratic Socialists of America’s independent campaign, which was out early distributing literature before the official campaign even came to town.”
Donald Bazley, a volunteer for the Ithaca and Tompkins County for Bernie Sanders Campaign, said he is also very proud of the dedication of local volunteers.
“I am very proud of the hard work done by so many dedicated citizens in support of Bernie here around Ithaca and throughout New York,” he said. “I haven’t seen the numbers yet, but for now I will assume we won Tompkins County.”
While less optimistic about Sanders’ chances of winning the nomination than Alt, Bazley said he hopes Sanders remains in the race until the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia in late July, so that he can continue to spread his message.
“Regardless of the outcome here in New York I hope and expect that Sanders will take this campaign all the way to Philly,” Bazley said.
Bazley said Sanders’ campaign is “more than impressive” because it is mainly financed by average citizens but has managed to take on the powerful corporate and political establishment.
“The fight continues, and that will be true regardless of who eventually becomes president,” Bazley said. “Bernie Sanders is still just starting the conversation our nation desperately needs to have.”
Prof. Elizabeth Sanders, government, said Sanders lost the primary because of the democratic establishment’s attempt to prevent the victory of the rebellious insurgency of Sanders voters.
“By the time Bernie Sanders supporters were mobilized and determined to challenge the Democratic Party establishment, all the doors were closed,” Sanders said. “[It was] too late to register to vote in the Democratic Primary, and independents were locked out. This is the party establishment at its strongest.”
Yet she said she believes Bernie Sanders’ campaign will have lasting effects on the Democratic party because “the Bernie Sanders campaign can claim victory in compelling [Clinton] to change almost every major economic position she had ever taken.”
“As the fight with Bernie Sanders became more intense, his rallies larger and larger, [Clinton] threw under the bus her support for the Keystone pipeline and the TPP trade agreement she had once praised as the ‘gold standard’ of trade agreements,” Sanders said. “She began to attack Wall Street in uncharacteristic language.”
While tonight “obviously was a big night for Donald Trump” making it likely that Trump will receive almost all of New York’s 95 republican delegates, Prof. William Jacobson, law, said he does not believe this sweeping victory will prevent a contested election.
“But, and this is a big but, Trump still is on a track to fall short of the delegates needed to win on a first ballot at the convention,” Jacobson said. “The prevailing wisdom is that if Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot, he will lose. So the Republican race is far from over.”
Sanders, however, said she believes that after tonight, “Trump has a realistic shot at winning the nomination,” which reveals that New York has succumbed to the rebellion within the Republican Party.
“New York has never been thought of as a rebellious state, but tonight it is giving full throat to the rebellion within the Republican Party, and Trump’s surprising strength is the shot heard ‘round the world,” Sanders said. “The downwardly mobile white working class cannot get by on the religion and nationalism that has been about all their party offered them in return for their votes on tax cuts and deregulation. Seldom has a major party elite been so rejected by its base.”
Bristow, however, said he considers Trump’s large margin of victory to be a loss for the American people.
“While Donald Trump has won an overwhelming victory, Americans have suffered a defeat,” he said. “A Trump victory is an embarrassment for New York State. Division is not a governing strategy. Rather, the American people should reject, hate and vote for candidates who embody the best our country has to offer — not the worst.”
Bristow said he believes the Democratic Party has a good chance at winning the general election as a race between Trump and Clinton for the presidency becomes increasingly likely.
“I am optimistic that our party — the Democratic Party — will win the hearts of voters and therefore the White House this November,” he said.