HILLARY CLINTON has defeated Bernie Sanders in the New York contest to decide who will be the Democratic Party candidate for US president.
Clinton, the establishment candidate, won by 58 percent to 42 percent for Sanders. This is a smaller margin than polls had suggested a few weeks ago, but it is a clear victory.
The Democrat machine decided that the momentum that Sanders has built up after a string of recent victories had to be halted. Clinton ramped up her attacks on Sanders, the self-declared socialist, and the party hierachy mobilised to get out the Clinton vote.
Even then Sanders still took over two thirds of the votes of people under 30. And he received more votes than the two most popular Republican nominees combined, beating Donald Trump by some 235,000 votes.
Some Sanders supporters have pointed to irregularities in the organisation of the voting such as polling stations opening late and voting machines not working. They also question the elimination of quite large numbers of voters from the electoral register.
It’s also true that the rules made it harder for people recently enthused by Sanders to take part. Unlike some states, registered independents could not vote in the New York Democratic primary, and the deadline for registered independents to re-register as Democrats was in October last year.
But Clinton won by over 250,000 votes, more than discrepancies can explain.
Sanders supporter Mike Wilson from New York told Socialist Worker, “I’m down about the result, but it’s about the same margin that Clinton beat Obama in 2008, and look how that finished. I’m not giving up. Senator Sanders has created a movement around him. That’s the real issue.
“We were up against a Clinton campaign that has gotten nasty. I suppose we should have expected that. I’m just happy that Sanders has kept on putting a radical message, and that he went to support the Verizon strikers, for example.”
Josh Hollands, a socialist from Britain who has been visiting New York says, “This is a campaign that is inspiring many beyond the confines of the Democratic Party. Most of the people I met campaigning for Sanders were women and people of colour.
“His rallies highlight exactly why he has been so successful. The majority of attendees have never voted before. They are most concerned with access to health care, education and jobs, while also acutely aware of gender disparity in pay.”
Next Tuesday there are contests in five states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. If Clinton wins these states she will be unstoppable.
Sander has repeatedly said that if he loses then he will call for support for Clinton. That will be an appalling diversion of an insurgent movement into the dead-end of the pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist Democratic establishment.
An increasing number of people, angered by the Clinton camp’s attacks on Sanders, are saying that for them it is “Bernie or bust”— that they will not support Clinton. This is a positive development.
Recent weeks have underlined the potential for change in the US—the Verizon strike, the Democracy Spring movement, the big rallies for Sanders. Those enthused by such development have to break from the Democrats.