Maybe Hillary Clinton is the unelectable candidate

For some reason, when in talks with fellow Democrats about Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP ramps up attacks on SALT deduction provision Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Briahna Joy Gray says Chris Cuomo will return to CNN following scandal MORE (I) I often hear something along the lines of "well, I would love to vote for Bernie, I agree with him on so much, but he is simply unelectable in a general election." If you, too, are a strong Bernie supporter then it is quite possible you have heard much of the same rhetoric.  As Democrats we can all agree upon one unified goal—to get someone into the White House who shares our party’s core beliefs.  Thus, it would seem to make sense that many pundits have been rallying behind Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE as the so-called “inevitable bid,” an individual with a household name and well-established brand.  Still, we should consider very carefully the following: Is Clinton, the presumptive nominee, even electable in a general election?

The former Secretary of State definitely has a notable advantage in terms of fundraising. Through her intricate network of financial support Clinton has the power to spawn millions of dollars, far outpacing the fundraising of any Republican candidates. Surely, in our current political climate Clinton's fundraising alone should qualify her for the party's nomination. Clinton also has the impressive ability to reel in endorsements from labor unions and politicians alike, far outpacing her Democratic challengers.


However, there is much more to the election process than big-names and bank accounts.  A recent poll conducted by NBC asked supporters of both Clinton and Sanders in New Hampshire to rate their enthusiasm for their preferred candidate’s campaigns.  The Sanders campaign boasts a rate of 78 percent of supporters who label themselves “enthusiastic,” as compared with a just 39 percent on the Clinton side.  Supporters of Hillary Clinton are simply far less likely to be enthusiastic about their candidate’s campaign, a statistic that plays an important role in the vigor of grass-roots campaigning efforts (and eventual voter turnout).  The more alarming statistic, however, was the polling breakdown among young voters.  In the NBC poll, Sanders won the 18-29 category in both Iowa and New Hampshire by a more than three to one margin.

The success of the Democrats in a general election is built upon the party's ability to mobilize and organize grassroots volunteering efforts. With young people playing such an integral role in grassroots organizing and volunteering, how could Clinton run a successful presidential campaign without the support of the most enthusiastic block of voters?

Outside of the Democratic Party, Clinton still faces massive challenges appealing to general voters. The Huffpost pollster currently has Clinton with a massive unfavorability gap, with unfavorability exceeding favorability by more than 12 percent.  In other polling, a significant majority of voters said that they did not trust Mrs. Clinton.

Some may argue that Hillary's negative polling is only a result of harsh public scrutiny, particularly by the right-leaning media. After all, for eight years Clinton has been seen as the "inevitable" candidate.  It would be advantageous for the right-wing media, understandably so, to try and bring down the Democratic front-runner. Unfortunately for the Democrats, there is no denying that all the negative publicity, along with the email and state department scandals, has taken a toll on Clinton's prospective candidacy.  With so many resources targeted at crippling Clinton's reputation and her hopes at presidency, nominating another candidate in her stead would do something akin to "wiping the slate clean."

From what we have seen from recent polling, a candidate with a "clean slate" is what the Democratic Party surely needs. A recent NBC poll conducted in both Iowa and New Hampshire shows Clinton trailing considerably against possible Republican opponents. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, performs markedly better. The Vermont senator beats out several of the possible Republican match-ups.  Bernie lacks the baggage that Clinton has been dragging around with her.

Throughout Clinton's initial campaigning, many Democrats have decided to turn a blind eye to much of the negativity surrounding her campaign.  Instead, the rank-and-file have focused on questioning whether Sanders could run an "electable" campaign for the general election.  By doubting the electability of Senator Sanders the mainstream Democratic base has forgotten to ask itself a far more important question: Is Hillary Clinton, the prophesied Democratic candidate, capable of winning a general election in the first place?

Pales is a student at Michigan State University and a board member for the National College Students for Bernie Sanders Journalism Committee.