Bernie Sanders' Senior Advisor Tad Devine (@taddevine) joined Jim to discuss the Des Moines Register editorial calling the Iowa Democratic caucuses "a debacle," the latest poll numbers and his candidate's popularity with young voters.
Braude: De Moines Register puts out this incredibly tough editorial today. They endorsed Hillary Clinton, saying this thing was a debacle. The count, an embarrassment. For Iowa we need an audit, all these kinds of things. Your guy doesn’t seem to be making that big a deal out of it. Why isn’t he?
Devine: Well, first of all, when I read that editorial this morning, from a very respected newspaper that endorsed Hillary Clinton, I too was surprised that they would be so strong in what they said. The reason we’re not making any big issue out of it. I guess, number one, we don’t want to be like Trump and you know, what he did was YUGE. But he’s alleging fraud and all this other stuff. We’re making no such allegations. Here’s what we’re doing. That decision came about very quickly. There’s a difference of four state delegate equivalencies with 14,06 delegates at stake. Our campaign on that night found, got information that there were as many as 50 caucus sites where there were some issues. And so we said we’d like to do something about it. The state party said no, this is it final decision. And what we decided to do and what we’re doing right now is going to everyone of our precinct captains, over 1,600 of them, asking them what happened, recounting things. We believe mistakes were made that night. We really do.
Braude: Is it possible you won the popular vote? I know it’s about delegates. It’s possible Sanders won the popular vote.
Devine: It is possible, and we’d like the state party to release the popular vote numbers. They’ve done it in the past by the way.
Braude: Speaking of count, they actually count ballots in the real way here in New Hampshire. Tuesday night your guy wins, he’s still got a pretty significant lead, even in this UMass tracking poll, still 20 something points. The Clinton campaign, the pundits say, he’s the hometown guy. He’s from the neighboring state. What’s the big deal? It’s almost like essentially winning in Vermont.
Devine: Well, you know, there’s a lot of spin here, there’s no doubt about it. I mean listen, here’s out side of the spin story if you want to hear it. This is the fourth Clinton for President campaign in New Hampshire. They go back to 1992. She won the New Hampshire primary the last time she was here. She defeated Barack Obama. So I think to say, well, you know, Bernie has an incredible advantage. You know, I’ve worked for candidates who were neighboring state candidates, Mike Dukakis, John Kerry, and you do get a big advantage, particularly from Massachusetts, where 25% of the voters live in the Boston media market. Now when you, the Vermont candidate like Howard Dean or the main candidate like Ed Musky, you don’t necessarily get as big an advantage here in New Hampshire.
Braude: We had a lot of phone calls on the radio, from Boston Public Radio, I love Bernie Sanders they say. Totally high in the sky stuff. We’re never going to have single payer, we’re going to undo Obama care, we’re never going to be able tax those big boys, we’re never going to be able to break up the banks, so it’s a great story but it’s completely unrealistic.
Devine: It’s completely unrealistic as long as we have the current political alignment and that’s why Bernie’s campaign is about changing it. The whole purpose of this campaign is to bring people to the process who are left out and left behind. Young people who don’t vote in enough numbers and that’s why Republicans dominate in Congressional elections. Independents, bringing them into the democratic process, and I think beginning here in New Hampshire, we can demonstrate to the Democratic establishment, who by the way, one day we would like to join us in this campaign, that he can be a stronger general election candidate. And particularly, and we’re already beginning to see this and this is a big thing for me, that voters in incomes under 50,000 a year whose participation rate is much lower than higher income votes, bringing them in large numbers into the process. If we can do that we can change the calculus of politics. And then things like that are possible.
Braude: Last thing I want to talk about is we just talked about, the young voter. Everybody has memorized the age gap out of Iowa. 70 points, 17 to 29. By the way Barack Obama only won that age group by 43 points in 2008. Pretty significant gap among older voters for Hillary Clinton although not quite as large. Here’s my thesis, old voters are used to disappointment, the ups and downs of Clinton, they’ll be there. Young voters, when they have their first serious disappointment, your guy loses South Carolina or he loses Nevada. Are they gonna be there? Or are they gonna go home as quickly as they came to the campaign? The disaffected, idealistic young voter, do you know what I mean?
Devine: I do know what you mean and I don’t think they’re going to go home. I think what Bernie is inspiring in these young people is real. I think he’s going to be able to pull them up the way Barack Obama did in 2008, you know. When Obama won Indiana and North Carolina in the general election in 2008, those are two states that hadn’t been targeted by the Democrats in a generation. I worked on a lot of campaigns, I worked on a campaign with John Kerry where we had a running mate from North Carolina and we couldn’t target North Carolina because when we polled it it wasn’t there. And you know, what Obama did in those two states, he won one age group, 18-29 year olds in Indiana and North Carolina, and he won those states. So I think that’s what Bernie is capable of, changing the calculus of American politics by bringing people in, particularly young people.