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Bernie Sanders Makes History As First Jewish Candidate To Win A Primary

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wins the New Hampshire primary. The Vermont senator says voter turnout was record-breaking.

In his victory Tuesday night in New Hampshire, Sanders made history: The Vermont senator became the first Jewish candidate to win a presidential nominating contest.

In part, that’s because Sanders, a self-identified democratic socialist, has repeatedly described himself as a secular Jew without strong ties to organized religion. But Jewish political activists, students of history and pollsters say the candidate’s minority faith has also been overlooked because attitudes toward Jews in America have evolved to the point where there’s no stigma attached to his background.

“In some ways, it’s a non-story,” said Sandy Maisel, a Colby College professor who tracks the status of Jews in America. “And that it’s a non-story is a pretty interesting story.”

At the town hall, Cooper pointed to Sanders’ faith when an audience member asked about how the candidate would reach out to religious voters.

“You’re Jewish, but you’ve said that you’re not actively involved with organized religion,” Cooper said. “What do you say to a voter out there who … sees faith as a guiding principle in their lives, and wants it to be a guiding principle for this country?”

“It’s a guiding principle in my life, absolutely, it is,” Sanders responded, before offering some rare insight into how he perceives the relationship between faith and governance. “I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings.”

He described that spirituality as a feeling “that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me.”

New Hampshire also delivered a painful personal blow to Hillary Clinton, who squeezed out the narrowest of victories in Iowa last week, after starting out 41 point ahead of Sanders. The scale of her defeat — by more than 20 points — is likely to fuel signs of growing internal rancor in her campaign and complaints by Democrats that her message as a progressive who gets results is no match for Sanders’ heady demands for a political revolution, which has inspired younger Democratic voters, CNN reported.

While its much too early for Sanders to celebrate the win too much, the loss in New Hampshire is especially rough for Hillary because the state has often been kind to the Clintons. You may remember it was the state that made Bill Clinton the “comeback kid” in 1992. Let us not forget, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama there in 2008, salvaging her campaign after a third-place showing in Iowa.

If I told you at the beginning of the 2016 Presidential race that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were going to win the New Hampshire primary, most people would have thought I lost my mind. It appears people are drawing battle lines to the far left or the far right all but obliterating the middle ground.

At 11:15 pm ET, with 75% of Republican votes counted, Trump had 34%. Kasich had 16% and Cruz, Bush and Rubio were tied at 11%. Chris Christie may have hurt Rubio but he didn’t do much to help himself and was trailing at 8%. The somber New Jersey governor said he would return home to consider his position, but there was every indication his White House aspirations may be over for now.

On the Democratic side, Sanders led Clinton 60% to 39%. His massive margin of victory dwarfed the few tenths of one percent by which the former secretary of state prevailed in the Iowa caucuses last week.

You can view Sanders victory speech, Tuesday in New Hampshire in full below.

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About AJ Woodson (2269 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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