|Collectors Item in the Making|
And now the networks are starting to buzz with a steadily evolving view of his chances of winning the nomination. He's drawing big crowds, he's raising a lot of money from individual donors, he's getting media attention - and people are evolving from "it'd be nice..." to "hey, maybe?" to "FEEL THE BERNMENTUM! WE CAN WIN THIS THING". Of course, it's months before the first Primary and a year before the convention. A lot can - and will - happen in that time, not the least of which is the basic structure of the American electoral system will assert itself.
There are two reasons why Bernie Sanders won't be the Democratic nominee. One is a pragmatic political reason, and one is more of a question of electoral math. To look at the second reason first, the Democratic nominee will go into the General Election with a structural advantage of somewhere between 3 and 8%. Now, it should be noted that this is for the popular vote. The electoral college and the way it depends on the geographic distribution of voters will negate some, perhaps even most of that. But the Democrat has won the popular vote in five out of the last six Presidential cycles, and there's no reason to think that would change in 2016.
But here's the thing - Bernie is benefiting from a lot of excitement and energy from the left wing of his party. If Ms. Clinton were the nominee, these same people will vote for her, albeit with many of them holding their noses. What, are they going to vote for Scott Walker? So Sanders doesn't gain much in the way of voters on the left, and he will certainly lose some center right Democrats who would vote for a Clinton but would NEVER vote for a communist like Bernie Sanders. Now, how many Democratic votes he loses as the nominee is unclear - we'll see better polling in six months or so - but between the electoral college and the right wing of the Democratic Party, it's perfectly legitimate to question his electability vs. the Clinton campaign.
While that loss of electability numbers will be - and should be - of concern to the national Democratic elite, there is a larger set of issues that basically make 2016 Hillary Clinton's year. The national party is deeply invested in a perceived inclusive 'centrism'. Bipartisan politics is their dream, even in these highly polarized times. Bill Clinton famously pulled the Democratic party to the right, gaining the advantage over the republicans on issues such as welfare reform, crime and punishment and NAFTA. Obama won the nomination over Clinton in 2008 by promising to work WITH the Republicans in the legislature, in a way that didn't seem possible with the history of 'Clinton Derangement Syndrome' and the vast right-wing conspiracy. Sure, we're a lot wiser now, understanding that ANY Democratic President will be obstructed and de-legitimized from the right, but if you listen to the national party elites and donor class, this is what they continue to demand.
Additionally, as odd as it sounds, after 2008 and 2012, it is considered Hillary's turn. She's the default leader of the Democratic party going into 2016, the standard bearer and it's her nomination to lose. She'll lead in fundraising, and she'll get all the advantages the national party can provide. That's what the party is seeing - the electable, reliable centrist vs. the bomb throwing socialist that frightens flyover state Democrats. And remember the key point: The people don't decide on the nominee, the Party does, so even if Bernie wins the popularity contest he still won't get the nomination.