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BERNIE SANDERS'S ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE 2016

The General Election
Republican President Donald Trump was elected in the 2012 presidential election, shocking the world and the nation when he won the presidency on Election Night. Trump defeated President Barack Obama in the electoral college and the popular vote. However, President Trump started 2016 as a weak incumbent with approval ratings hovering at low 40s and facing an economic recession that started in October 2015.

In response, President Trump signed into law the "American Greatness Act" (AGA) in November 2015, a $2.5 trillion stimulus package which consists of an infusion of $1.49 trillion to big financial institutions to prevent another collapse, nearly $800 billion in across-the-board tax cuts, $150 billion increase in unemployment insurance, $35 million in subsidies to health insurance companies and $25 million infrastructure spending. The AGA did virtually nothing to stimulate the economy and only increased unemployment nationwide while the wealthiest and big banks enjoyed a trillion-dollar windfall.

On December 18th 2015, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives also approved articles of impeachment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against President Trump after a formal House inquiry alleged that he had solicited foreign interference in the 2012 presidential election to help his campaign, and then obstructed the inquiry itself by telling his administration officials to ignore subpoenas for documents and testimony.

The inquiry reported that President Trump withheld military aid and an invitation to the White House to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in order to influence Ukraine to announce an investigation into one of President Trump's Democratic opponents, Former Vice President Joe Biden and to promote a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind interference in the 2012 presidential election. President Trump was later acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate on these two counts of impeachment on February 5th 2016.

2012 Democratic presidential runner-up and independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, in his second bid for the presidency, officially clinched the Democratic presidential nomination after the last primary was held in June 2016. Even though the Democratic race was bitterly fought between Senator Sanders and his fellow progressive, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Vermont senator has accumulated a delegate lead that is mathematically impossible to overcome.

Senator Sanders has built a multiracial & multi-generational working class coalition motivated by his ambitious social democratic agenda (with his signature national single-payer healthcare program at the heart of it) from his 2012 presidential run and has maintained that coalition in order to run again in 2016. Senator Sanders also voted against the AGA in November 2015, calling it a "huge bailout of the billionaire class".

The day after the final primaries, Senator Warren officially withdrew from the race and endorsed Senator Sanders for president. On July 29th, 2016, Senator Sanders officially announced Senator Warren as his vice presidential running mate. The press has decided to call the Sanders-Warren ticket as the "Burlington-Boston Pact" because Senator Warren was said to have only accepted Senator Sanders's offer after they signed a mutual compact.

The compact indicated that the Massachusetts senator will be an influential vice president with an office in the West Wing and who will be his key governing partner in the White House. Senator Warren wants to be a vice president who is "first in, last out" on critical governing decisions.

At the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania held from August 29th to September 1st, 2016; Senator Sanders and Senator Warren officially accepted the Democratic Party's nominations for president and vice president. The Vermont senator also made history as the nation's first Jewish and oldest presidential nominee on a major party ticket. The Sanders-Warren ticket hammered the Trump economic record after the Democratic convention and traveled across America.

In September 2016, a second financial crisis happened and Wall Street crashed overnight. America is suddenly plunged into the Second Great Depression with 20 million people due to be jobless by December 2016. President Trump failed to stem the bleeding from the recession in 2015 and contributed to the crash. Throwing an additional $1 trillion to rescue Wall Street after the crash did not help matters. Senator Sanders thus hammered President Trump in the October televised presidential debates and touted his own economic plan to save America from the Second Great Depression.

On Election Night 2016, Senator Sanders defeated President Trump to become the 46th President of the United States. The Vermont senator won an unprecedented 454 electoral votes to the president's 84 electoral votes. Senator Sanders also won the popular vote, capturing over 80 million votes (61%) to President Trump's 50 million popular votes (38%) out of 131,652,897 total votes cast. Senator Sanders's number of popular vote received (80 million) is the highest number in American history, surpassing previous record-holder, then-Senator Barack Obama's 2008 share of votes (69 million).

Senator Sanders's 454 electoral votes received was also the highest electoral vote received since President Ronald Reagan's 525 electoral votes received in 1984. The huge Sanders landslide also helped the Democrats to win control of both the House and the Senate from the Republicans since the GOP first gained both chambers in the 2010 midterms and held on since.


The 2016 Republican Presidential Campaign
President Donald Trump is seeking re-election for a second term and there are no challengers running against him in the party. Trump retained Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate.

The 2016 Democratic Presidential Campaign
(Bernie Sanders)

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders challenged sitting Democratic president Barack Obama in the 2012 Democratic race and was a clear underdog polling at 1% in January 2011. Senator Sanders, however, brought his income inequality message and his ambitious social democratic agenda all across the country. His insurgent primary challenge was also fueled by the brewing Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement and that movement essentially morphed into the Sanders campaign. His 2012 campaign was also fueled by his grassroots army of small-dollar progressive donors, averaging $27 apiece.

Senator Sanders shocked the political establishment when he defeated President Obama in the Iowa Caucuses (52-48%) and the New Hampshire primary (55-45%). The Vermont senator then faced an onslaught of negative ads from the Obama campaign, after having underestimated his insurgent campaign throughout 2011 and refusing to debate him in televised primary debates the year before. After the Sanders victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, Senator Sanders and President Obama finally met in a series of televised primary debates before the Nevada Caucuses and South Carolina primary. President Obama, known for his oratorical skills, managed to fend off Senator Sanders in the primary debates though the Vermont senator made solid points about the Obama administration's poor record on helping the working class.

President Obama defeated Senator Sanders in Nevada (65-35%) and South Carolina (72-28%); and President Obama also later carried 7 out of 11 states on Super Tuesday. Senator Sanders carried 4 states - his homestate of Vermont, Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma. The Vermont senator refused to drop out after the Super Tuesday results and pressed on to win Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, Alaska, Democrats Abroad, Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Rhode Island, Indiana, West Virginia, Oregon, Montana, and North Dakota.

Having won 24 primary contests, 43% of the total popular vote, and 39% of the total pledged delegates, Senator Sanders officially ended his insurgent primary campaign on June 15th 2016, the day after the final primary was held in D.C. Senator Sanders did not endorse President Obama straight away and was intending to use the number of pledged delegates he have won to influence the Democratic Party platform at the Democratic National Convention. After the Obama campaign agreed to let Senator Sanders keep his pledged delegates to shape the Democratic platform rather than to transferring all of them to President Obama, he officially endorsed President Obama on June 30th 2016 at a joint campaign event with the president in Burlington, Vermont.

Senator Sanders was also running for a second term back to the senate in 2012 while also concurrently running for president. So after officially endorsing the president, Senator Sanders went full-steam ahead with his senate re-election campaign in Vermont.

The Sanders campaign later managed to include a public option healthcare plan (though not the single-payer "Medicare For All" program the Vermont senator has ran on), $12/hr minimum wage (instead of the $15/hr plan Senator Sanders ran on), an aggressive plan to fight the climate crisis (but short of Senator Sanders's "Green New Deal" plan) and a commitment for aggressive campaign finance reform (but short of Senator Sanders's plan to overturn Citizens United) onto the party platform at the 2012 Democratic convention. Senator Sanders was also given a primetime slot on the first day of the convention for him to speak of his ambitious social democratic agenda and officially transfer his pledged delegates to President Obama to win the party's nomination by acclamation.

Senator Sanders campaigned hard for President Obama in the general election campaign but the president was ultimately defeated by businessman Donald Trump on Election Night 2012. Senator Sanders also won a second term back to the senate on Election Night, beating his Republican opponent handily (72-25% margin).

After the election, the Obama campaign refrained from blaming Senator Sanders's insurgent primary challenge for the general election defeat. But after President Trump's presidential inauguration in January 2013, former President Obama publicly remarked that Senator Sanders and the OWS movement cost him the presidency. In response, Senator Sanders said that "Everyone should have the right to run for public office in America. The 2012 election is over. It is time to focus on the future and ensure that the interests of working-class Americans are taken care of."

Over the next 2 years, Senator Sanders continued his travels across America to attack the Trump administration's poor economic record and once again teasing a second presidential run in 2016. The Vermont senator transformed his 2012 campaign into the "Progressive Democrats of America PAC" (PDA), helping to elect progressive Democrats all across America to state, local and federal offices. PDA helped to elect hundreds of progressive Democrats into elected offices in the 2014 midterms while Senator Sanders continued to lay the groundwork for a 2016 presidential run.

After Republicans retained control of congress in the 2014 midterms, Senator Sanders officially declared his candidacy for president in January 2015. No longer running as an underdog this time, Senator Sanders is running as a key challenger to Former Vice President Joe Biden, who served as vice president to President Obama. Despite the Obama machine rallying around Vice President Biden, Senator Sanders managed to hold onto his multiracial & multi-generational working class coalition motivated by his ambitious social democratic agenda (with his signature single-payer "Medicare For All" at the heart of it) from his 2012 presidential run.

The Vermont senator's surprising momentum in scoring victories in the first 6 out of 7 primary contests (Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina) once again shocked the political establishment and those in the Obama machine who thought that his 2012 insurgent run was an one-off.

Then, came Senator Sanders's surprising upset win in South Carolina, strong second place finish in Florida and his dominating 14-state victories on Super Tuesday officially make him the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination and the only candidate that will likely emerge with a plurality of delegates going into the Democratic National Convention in August 2016.

It also helped that Senator Sanders also voted against the AGA in November 2015, calling it a "huge bailout of the billionaire class". Senator Sanders's strength with young voters under 30, young African-American voters, Latino voters, the LGBTQ community, and non-college-educated whites are his main bases of support that propelled him towards capturing the Democratic nomination.

On the final June primaries in D.C. and Virgin Islands, Senator Sanders defeated Senator Elizabeth Warren and won the primaries with the most delegates. The day after the final primaries, Senator Warren officially endorsed Senator Sanders and transferred her delegates to him thus helped the Vermont senator to cross the 1,999 delegates required to win the nomination.

(Elizabeth Warren)
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was running on her detailed progressive economic agenda to appeal to Democrats who are not comfortable with Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner. Even though Senator Warren surged to strong second place finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and Nevada behind only Senator Sanders, her momentum was stalled in South Carolina after finishing fourth place. However, Warren's candidacy was revived after winning Florida and she used that momentum to propel her towards Super Tuesday.

With Vice President Biden's exit from the race and Senator Sanders emerged as the surprise Democratic frontrunner, Senator Warren was angling to be the anti-Sanders alternative. Her performance on Super Tuesday, in which she won 4 states and received the second-most number of delegates, may have impacted her chances as the sole anti-Sanders alternative due to Texas Senator Beto O'Rourke's strength in winning southern states.

Senator Warren's strength with college-educated whites and woman voters are her main bases of support. Before the final series of primaries, "The Washington Post" revealed that Senator Warren lied about having a super PAC and therefore breaking her own promise of not accepting super PAC money, she suffered a mass staff exodus & significant loss of support to Senator Sanders. Especially after a string of losses and her final loss in the D.C. and Virgins Island, Senator Warren dropped out the next day. Senator Warren also announced her endorsement of Senator Sanders, thereby transferring her delegates to him thus helping the Vermont senator to cross the 1,999 delegates required to win the nomination.

(Beto O'Rourke)
Texas Senator Beto O'Rourke, whose surprisingly victorious 2012 U.S. senate campaign, was running as the "candidate of the future" and as a center-left alternative to Former Vice President Joe Biden. Registering only in single digits all year in 2015, Senator O'Rourke's sudden surge and surprising strong third place finishes in Nevada and South Carolina was undercutting Vice President Biden's strength in the south. With the former vice president's exit from the race, Senator O'Rourke pitched to Biden voters to join his campaign to take on both Senator Sanders and Senator Warren. Senator O'Rourke surpassed expectations on Super Tuesday and won 4 states but fell short of surpassing Senator Warren on the amount of delegates won. Senator O'Rourke has also proven that he is the only Democrat that can win southern states in the nominating process and received a boost from Vice President Biden's endorsement 2 days after Super Tuesday.

On March 31st, 2016, after losing Mini Tuesday, Senator O'Rourke officially suspended his campaign after his major donors abandoned him. He also refused to endorse and transfer his delegates to Senator Sanders. Senator O'Rourke's strength with college-educated whites, voters above age 45 and older & more moderate African-American voters are his main bases of support.

(Joe Biden)
Former Vice President Joe Biden started off the Democratic race as the frontrunner and was counting on his electability to prove he is the only Democrat that can beat President Trump in November 2016. But his disappointing third place showings in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan; and his disastrous fourth place showing in Nevada effectively lost him the frontrunner status. Losing must-win South Carolina narrowly to Senator Sanders and finishing last place in Florida effectively ended any hopes for his campaign.

Vice President Biden ended his campaign on Election Night after losing the Florida primary but has refused to make any endorsement. The former vice president initially planned to bring his 94 delegates into the Democratic convention and hoping it will help him on the second ballot to become the consensus nominee in the event no candidate could secure the 1,999 delegates required for a majority on the first ballot. However, 2 days after Super Tuesday where Senator Sanders won the most states and most delegates, Vice President Biden decided to endorse O'Rourke for president in an effort to "blunt Sanders's momentum".

(Hillary Clinton)
2008 Democratic presidential runner-up and Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched an "11th hour" presidential bid on March 15th, 2016 on NBC's Meet the Press news program. Secretary Clinton said that she is running because she believed she is the only person that can unite the Democratic Party and said that both Senators Sanders & Warren are too far-left while Senator O'Rourke is too inexperienced to be president. Secretary Clinton aimed to be on the ballot in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania in April and all the remaining primaries and caucuses after that. However, the Clinton campaign failed to get the former secretary of state on the ballot in Ohio and Texas (two of the most delegate-rich states in later contests) due to fake signatures and Secretary Clinton ended her presidential campaign 10 days later on March 25th. Secretary Clinton most likely would have siphon votes from Warren due to her strengths with woman voters and college-educated whites.
 
This belongs in Chat. Anything that starts with the 2016 election deals with a presidential term that still has eight months to run.
 
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