Why Bernie Sanders win in Michigan changes everything

Bernie Sanders, kettle mag, kettlemag, fiona carty
Written by danarel

Michigan was in the bag for Hillary Clinton, at least, it was supposed to be. Major news outlets had Clinton taking the state’s primary election by up to 25 points. Nate Silver of the site FiveThirtyEight, a political statistics wizard, gave Clinton a 99 percent chance of winning.

Bernie Sanders beat Hilary Clinton

Yet, despite the odds, Bernie Sanders took the state by 2.1 points. He may have won by a tiny margin, but it was a massive game-changing victory that upsets the current media narrative that has all but handed Clinton the party nomination.

“I am grateful to the people of Michigan for defying the pundits and pollsters and giving us their support. This is a critically important night. We came from 30 points down in Michigan and we’re seeing the same kind of come-from-behind momentum all across America,” said Sanders. “Not only is Michigan the gateway to the rest of the industrial Midwest, the results there show that we are a national campaign. We already have won in the Midwest, New England, and the Great Plains and as more people get to know more about who we are and what our views are we’re going to do very well.”

Trade unions

Sanders mention of the industrial Midwest is no accident. One of the reasons Sanders took Michigan is because his stance on trade and his defense of unions. Clinton had tried to attack Sanders for not supporting the 2009 bailout of the auto industry, a decision that greatly affected those in Michigan, one of Americas last auto manufacturing states.

Her attempts to turn the auto industry workers against Sanders failed. As John Nichols, writing for The Nation points out, “ Voters just did not buy the claim that the senator, who has a long history of battling on behalf of industrial workers and American manufacturing, had been on the wrong side of that issue.”

Trans-Pacific Partnership

However, Clinton’s biggest downfall came from her support of the now failed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A massive trade deal that most unions and the loudest progressives despised.

In 2012, Clinton announced that  “this TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements,” and then after rallying behind President Obama, she flip-flopped on the issue when she realized the voters she needed, Sanders’ supporters, but it seems her switch was too little too late.

Voters know Sanders has long opposed the deal and campaigned on the side of the workers, and called the deal part of the “rigged economy” he is running against.

“Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a ‘free trade’ agreement,” argues Sanders. “It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system.”

While the fight for Sanders position as the Democratic nominee is still a massive uphill battle, by winning one of the biggest primaries in the nation, when he was predicted to lose by such a large margin signifies that the campaign is not dead in the water and that Sanders will continue to bring the fight to Clinton.