aka Hillary’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day
Despite repeated attacks from Democrats and even assurances from Obama that his campaign was all but over, Bernie Sanders is more than holding his own against Democrat presidential rival Hillary Clinton. Having announced last fall that his campaign is “not just electing a president, it is transforming America,” Bernie is content to push forward with his “political revolution.”
While Democrats mutter that self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” Bernie isn’t even really a Democrat, Bernie swept all three of Western Saturday’s Democrat caucuses: Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington.
Saturday was a big day for Bernie Sanders’ quest for the Democratic presidential nomination as he swept to resounding victories in the caucus states of Hawaii, Washington and Alaska. But the delegate math is still in Hillary Clinton’s favor.
“We knew things were going to improve as we headed West,” Sanders said at a jubilant rally before 8,000 people in Madison, Wisconsin — a state that will hold the next major contest in 10 days. “We have a path toward victory.”
That path may be an uphill climb, however, because as CNN notes, the delegate math is not in his favor.
But even with his big victories on Saturday, Sanders faces steep hurdles in catching Clinton in the delegate count. While Washington had 101 delegates up for grabs, and both candidates spent a significant amount of time there, Hawaii and Alaska were relatively small prizes — with just 25 and 16 delegates at stake respectively.
Even though Wisconsin could be fertile territory for Sanders on April 5, Clinton is poised to do well in her home state of New York on April 19 with its 247 pledged delegates. She also faces favorable territory in the upcoming Super Tuesday contest on April 26 when Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Maryland voters head to the polls and nearly 400 pledged delegates are at stake.
While Sanders shaved Clinton’s lead in the delegate count, the former secretary of state had amassed 1,711 of the 2,383 delegates she would need to clinch the nomination before Saturday’s contests, according to CNN estimates. Before the voting Saturday, Sanders had notched 952 delegates to date. That means he would need to win 75% of the remaining pledged delegates to defeat her.
Bernie is understandably upbeat about his western Saturday wins on ABC’s This Week.
“We won three landslides last night. We won six out of seven contests in the last 11 days. We’ve cut Secretary Clinton’s lead by a third during that period of time,” said Sanders. “A national poll just came out that had us one point ahead of Secretary Clinton when we started 60 points behind, and every national and state poll that I have seen, virtually every one, has us defeating Donald Trump.”
Sanders said superdelegates could be the key to helping him clinch a come-from-behind victory.
“I think the superdelegates are going to have make a very difficult decision, and that is if a candidate wins in a state by 40 or 50 points, who are you going to give your vote to?” Sanders told ABC’s Jonathan Karl. “Second of all, which candidate is better positioned to defeat Trump or any of the other Republican candidates? I think a lot of the superdelegates are going to conclude that it’s Bernie Sanders.”
Watch the full interview:
On CNN’s State of the Union, Sanders also discussed his campaign’s plan to increase pressure on superdelegates.
Sanders said his campaign plans to push superdelegates to back off their endorsements of Clinton.
“I think when they begin to look at the reality, and that is that we in poll after poll are beating Donald Trump by much larger margins than is Secretary Clinton … A lot of these superdelegates may rethink their position for Secretary Clinton. A lot of them have not yet declared,” he said.
He also predicted those superdelegates will fall under pressure to support the winners of their states and congressional districts.
“I think their people are going to say to them, look, why don’t you support the people of our state, vote Bernie Sanders,” Sanders said.
Sanders’ focus on superdelegates in the wake of his resounding victories on Saturday is probably causing a sense of dread—and of déjà vu—over at Hillary HQ given her 2008 experience with superdelegates. This time around, however, she has worked to lock up the superdelegates early, but they can, as she knows all too well, change their minds.
Bernie is now shifting his focus to New York’s April 19th primary. Hillary is currently expected to win New York, her “home” state, but if she doesn’t, her hold on superdelegates will, to put it mildly, weaken substantially.