Sanders keeps on winning — and losing
Sen. Bernie Sanders is on a roll.
Sanders was projected the winner in Wisconsin’s Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday night. It was his sixth victory in the last seven states. Sanders also won the primary for Democrats living abroad, which was announced on March 21. However, he still faces an uphill battle against his rival, Hillary Clinton.
While Sanders has performed well in the Midwest and Western states, Clinton’s earlier dominance, particularly in the South, has given her a delegate lead that her campaign has dubbed “nearly insurmountable.”
In spite of the long odds, Sanders and his campaign believe his current momentum can propel him across the finish line. In a fundraising email to supporters shortly after media outlets first projected his victory, Sanders noted the pessimistic forecasts many political observers have made for his campaign.
“The corporate media and political establishment keep counting us out, but we keep winning states and doing so by large margins. If we can keep this up, we’re going to shock them all and win this nomination,” Sanders said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won the Democratic presidential primary in Wisconsin on Tuesday, gestures to supporters during a campaign rally in Laramie, Wyo. (Photo: Brennan Linsley/AP)
Wisconsin, with its large college population and tradition of progressive politics, has long been seen as fertile ground for Sanders. Most polls in the state showed him with a single-digit lead over Clinton heading into Tuesday’s election. However, Clinton’s existing lead and the fact that the state awards delegates by congressional district means Sanders will have to win by a much larger margin to make a dent in Clinton’s pledged delegate lead.
Whatever his margin of victory, his recent streak culminating with the win in Wisconsin certainly gives Sanders strong momentum heading into Wyoming’s caucuses on Saturday and the delegate-rich primary in New York on April 19. But the battle for the Democratic nomination won’t just be about the voters and the pledged delegates who are awarded based on ballots cast.
Indeed, momentum was the main theme of the victory speech Sanders delivered from an event in Laramie, Wyo., on Tuesday night. Sanders said the fact he had emerged as a serious challenger to Clinton after being behind in the polls and dismissed by many pundits demonstrates the true strength of his campaign. He also pointed to the fact that he has managed to build a substantial war chest without the help of super-PACs, which allow wealthy megadonors to back campaigns.
Supporters cheer while waiting for Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Laramie, Wyo., on Tuesday. (Photo: Brennan Linsley/AP)
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“What momentum is about is my belief that if we wake up the American people, that if working people, and middle-class people, and senior citizens, and young people begin to stand up, fight back and come out and vote in large numbers, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish,” Sanders said.
Clinton attended a private fundraiser in New York City on Tuesday night and is not likely to make a public address.
Clinton has amassed a massive lead among Democratic superdelegates, who are not bound to vote at the party’s convention based on the results of their states’ primaries. Sanders and his campaign are hoping his recent wins can help convince some of these superdelegates to change sides. His team and supporters are lobbying superdelegates, particularly in states where he won decisive victories over Clinton, and arguing it would be undemocratic for them to go against the will of the electorate.
Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with a supporter after speaking at a “Women for Hillary” town hall event in the New York City borough of Brooklyn on Tuesday. (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
Former President Bill Clinton, who is a superdelegate in New York, has been hitting the campaign trail in support of his wife. At an event in Elmont, N.Y., on Tuesday morning, Yahoo News asked President Clinton about the superdelegate system and the frequently voiced criticism that it is unfair. Though he answered questions from reporters after a similar event in New York City last Thursday, Clinton was somewhat less forthcoming when Yahoo News asked about his role as a superdelegate.
“I don’t answer questions on a rope line, but I got a good answer for you,” President Clinton said. And then he moved on.