Sen. Bernie Sanders made a bold claim today.
The Democratic presidential hopeful, who's in the midst of a yuge California push in the weeks before our June 7 primary, essentially said he's the reason folks are registering to vote here in record numbers.
“U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has shown he is the candidate who can build the energy and excitement to attract new voters to register and participate in the Democratic process,” his campaign said in a statement today.
There are some problems with that contention, however:
Sanders is drawing younger voters, and they don't always show up on Election Day.
Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, put it this way in an interview with us a few weeks back: “The base of his support votes in smaller numbers.”
That would generally extend to registering to vote, too.
And every expert this side of the Mississippi is blaming the expansion of registered voters on a guy named Donald Trump. For the most part, Latinos, smarting from Trump's remarks that Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists, can't stand him.
In a state where Latinos are the largest ethnic group, they're energized and registering.
Sanders' camp, citing numbers from Political Data Inc. says there have been more than 1.5 million newly registered or re-registered voters in California since Jan. 1. It says 1.5 million was “expected” to become 2 million by Monday's registration deadline.
The figures, Sanders' people say, reflect a whopping 218 percent increase in registered Democrats.
“The increase is largely due to drastic increases among voters under the age of 30 and Latinos, both core demographics of Sanders' supporter base,” the campaign states.
But, as you can see, many Latinos are clearly inspired by another old white guy with bad hair.
“Sen. Sanders' message of income inequality and corrupt campaign finance are resonating so strongly with the people of California they are registering to vote in record numbers,” argued Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver. “If this is any indication of voter excitement and turnout, Bernie has a strong chance of winning in California.”
We'll give him this: Sanders truly is a rock star among his young faithful. He inspires devotion we haven't seen associated with an old guy in an ill-fitting suit in a long time.
But if Sanders' kids actually turn out to vote in numbers that help him defeat Hillary Clinton in the California race to choose the Democratic presidential nominee, they will have surprised a lot of people.
So go ahead, Bernie bros — prove us all wrong.