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Will Democrats Vote for a Socialist -- Or a Dynasty?

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 4/03/2016 Dieter Holger

2016-02-26-1456453576-5189058-Clintons.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-26-1456453576-5189058-Clintons.jpg

Hillary Clinton/Flickr
A version of this article originally appeared on Kicker.
The Democratic Party will make history this year and nominate either a socialist or the wife of a former president. During March's 30 Democratic primaries and caucuses, will Americans feel more comfortable picking an avowed socialist or a woman who's already lived in the White House for eight years?
Well, there arepolls asking how likely people would vote for an atheist, Catholic, Muslim, or socialist.
Socialist, the signature identity of Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, ranks at the bottom of a list that includes atheist and gay. Only 47 percent of Americans surveyed said they'd vote for a socialist president, according to a June Gallup poll. That's a scary number in a general election.
Often-cited surveys like Gallup's scrutinize socialism but avoid asking about dynastic politics, even though we just recently had the son of a president, George W. Bush, in power for eight years. Not to mention, his brother, Jeb Bush, recently quit the Republican presidential race after doing poorly in the first few primaries, including South Carolina.
It's unquestionable Jeb was damaged by his family association. Could a similar toxic association hold true for Hillary?
We don't have an answer from a poll, but we can compare the 47 percent willing to vote for a socialist president to the people who like the Clintons.
Former President Bill Clinton is six points higher, with a 53 percent favorability rating among Americans, according to the most recent January ABC News/Washington Post poll. But, according to HuffPost Pollster's average, his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, is viewed with a mere 41 percent favorability -- six points behind the 47 percent of Americans who'd vote for a socialist.

The Washington Post's Philip Bump said that Bill's higher popularity can only help his wife among white voters, but by how much is hard to say:
"Bill is viewed more favorably, but that will probably sink the more closely he's tied to his wife's candidacy.
Democrats love Bill Clinton, and Hillary would love to better lock down white men with whom Bill is particularly popular. Bringing Bill to New Hampshire, where Clinton has her worst numbers in the country (thanks to Sanders's home-turf strength) certainly won't hurt her campaign -- assuming Bill avoids a Jesse-Jackson-style comment."

Bill didn't help enough. Hillary ended up losing by over 20 points to Sanders in the caucasian-dominated New Hampshire primary. Is it because people are still throwing shade at Hillary for staying with her cheating husband?
Columnist Michael Wolff did say Hillary's marriage is frowned upon by millennials in his USA Today article "That Clinton problem, once more":
The new generation of Democrats -- whom Hillary Clinton is not only a long way from winning over, but whose self-righteous identity, and startling embrace of Sanders, seem in part a response to her ethical quislingness -- might appear to be a lot more like the family-values right wing than the polymorphous liberals who gave her husband a pass two decades ago.
These new Democrats are virtuous, correct, ever-more doctrinaire, and inclined to lump unreconstructed white men of a certain age into a catchall of reactionary villains whom true believers must reflexively oppose."

Sanders' socialist record can look racy, too. Hoover Institute Media Fellow Paul Sperry went so far as to call Sanders a "communist" in his New York Post piece "Don't be fooled by Bernie Sanders -- he's a diehard communist":
"If Sanders were vying for a Cabinet post, he'd never pass an FBI background check. There'd be too many subversive red flags popping up in his file. He was a communist collaborator during the height of the Cold War.
Rewind to 1964.
While attending the University of Chicago, Sanders joined the Young People's Socialist League, the youth wing of the Socialist Party USA. He also organized for a communist front, the United Packinghouse Workers Union, which at the time was under investigation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities."

Regardless of these red flags (pun intended), Sanders virtually tied Hillary in Iowa, and has jumped from 40 to roughly seven points behind her nationally, demonstrating that many in the Democratic party -- especially the 84 percent of Iowa's young caucusers who supported him -- aren't turned off by his socialist label.
Right now, Sanders and Hillary have 371 and 1,0001 delegates, respectively, according to the AP's estimates. They need 2,383 to win the Democratic Party's nomination.

CLINTON © shutterstock CLINTON

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