Mostly venting, but yes a prediction involved. However, let me address a couple of your points. On the Hillary being unpopular: that is not up for debate. She is. Her net favorability rating is something like -25. Trumps is the only one worse at around -40.
Vent away. In my opinion politics is a rough, frustrating business.
In my defense, I feel like I've said absolutely nothing about Hillary's popularity. So, beat me up on the stupid crap I say (of which there is no doubt plenty). Not the stupid crap I don't say.
The only one with a positive is Sanders at something like +10. And people have been voting for the "socialist". Independents and progressive Democrats have been. In contests where anyone can vote, Bernie has been winning by a lot.
In the Democratic primary. Primaries are a narrow subset of the electorate. It is hard to overstate how big a deal this is. On top of that, the Democratic Primary involves lopping off the rightward-leaning side of the spectrum. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure all/most states with open primaries (i.e., you can vote regardless of party affiliation) still only allow you to vote once
. Right-leaning people mostly vote in the GOP election, it's (a) much closer and less decided, and (b) the one that matters to them.
So, when you say "Independents" you mean "Independents on the left side of the spectrum." Further, you mean "among primary voters." That's a really big difference.
We have one of the worst turnouts in the developed world. And Sanders has been getting first time voters out where he can (re: open state primaries). In states where turnout is large, he wins. I repeat for effect: in states where turnout is large, he wins. This is decidedly not just young people. It's also people who haven't voted because they've had no candidate. So yes. There is a rather significant portion of progressives out there that is untapped.
I feel like you can just do find/replace for Sanders for Obama here. I'm not saying these facts are untrue (although I feel like turnout has been pretty good in recent presidential elections?). But, I fail to have noticed a massive progressive groundswell in the past 8 years. Kind of the opposite, actually.
This posits that there are literally millions of people who think "y'know, that Obama guy just isn't doing it for me, and so rather than hold my nose and vote for him, or my local progressive candidate, I'm going to let [insert extremely conservative candidate here] run the country and/or stonewall everything." I've seen no evidence that there are millions of people this stubborn. It also neglects that there are thousands of people who tirelessly work to reach them.
Until you look at actual preferences of policies. Most progressive policies are well received by a majority of Americans, and most conservative ones aren't.
I think there's a lot of truth in this. Fiorina's "Culture War?", which presumably has been updated, makes this point. And, while I question some of his methods, Mo's a smart guy.
This kind of points to my own personal assessment of things. I don't think that there are tons of very left-leaning people out there who are just chomping at the bit to vote for a Sanders or someone similar. I do think that there is a lot of room for persuasion in the electorate, though, especially once you get out of the passionate, ideologically-driven primary voters. These are subtle distinctions, but it does really affect what you'd think is the right strategy and also the rhetoric used. I'll admit that I find the idea that there's a sleeping giant of progressives/conservatives (delete as needed) has always struck me as kind of echo-chambery.
As for the labels? Obama is left of center. Hillary is at best dead center. And that's for American spectrum of politics. She's way too hawkish to be considered a liberal. She's espoused support for a LOT of conservative view points over the years, so I am very skeptical of this new, more progressive Hillary**.
I feel like I addressed this in earlier posts, so I won't retread it. All I'll reiterate is that there is no dead center in US politics. It simply doesn't exist. Clinton could be the most conservative Democrat currently around, and she'd still be substantially more liberal than the median of the Republican party, which the current GOP candidates are far to the right of anyway. Except for Donald Trump b/c only god knows what his ideology is.
As to the labels of "true progressive" or not, I can't speak to that. I feel like once we start going there (a) I don't have really anything to add other than my own opinion, and (b) we're a short hop away from convening a holy synod.