Clin­ton se­cure de­spite San­ders vic­to­ries

Un­der­dog claims Wash­ing­ton, Alaska

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - U.S. POLITICS - By Lisa Lerer

WASH­ING­TON — Bernie San­ders scored a duo of wins in west­ern state cau­cus con­tests Satur­day, giv­ing a pow­er­ful psy­cho­log­i­cal boost to his sup­port­ers but do­ing lit­tle to move him closer to se­cur­ing the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

While re­sults in Wash­ing­ton state and Alaska barely dented Hil­lary Clin­ton’s sev­eral-hun­dred­del­e­gate lead, San­ders’ wins un­der­scored her per­sis­tent vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties within her own party, par­tic­u­larly with young vot­ers and lib­eral ac­tivists who have been in­spired by her ri­val’s un­apolo­get­i­cally left- of-cen­tre mes­sage. The two Democrats were also com­pet­ing in Hawaii’s cau­cuses.

In an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press, San­ders cast his per­for­mance as part of a west­ern come­back, say­ing he ex­pects to close the del­e­gate gap with Clin­ton as the con­test moves to the more lib­eral north­east­ern states, in­clud­ing her home state of New York. He also said his cam­paign is in­creas­ing its out­reach to su­perdel­e­gates, the party in­sid­ers who can pick ei­ther can­di­date, and are over­whelm­ingly with Clin­ton.

“The Deep South is a very con­ser­va­tive part of the coun­try,” he said.

“Now that we’re head­ing into a pro­gres­sive part of the coun­try, we ex­pect to do much bet­ter.” He added: “There is a path to vic­tory.” With Clin­ton far in front, how­ever, it is a dif­fi­cult path.

Clin­ton an­tic­i­pated the losses: she barely cam­paigned in the three west­ern states, mak­ing just one day of stops in Wash­ing­ton state, and was spend­ing the Easter week­end with her fam­ily.

She is turn­ing her fo­cus to the April 19 con­test in New York, seek­ing to win a large share of the del­e­gates at stake and to avoid the blow of los­ing to San­ders in a state she rep­re­sented in the Se­nate. Clin­ton is try­ing to lock up an even larger share of del­e­gates in five north­east­ern state con­tests a week later, hop­ing to de­liver a big enough haul to unify the Demo­cratic party and rel­e­gate San­ders to lit­tle more than a protest can­di­date.

San­ders, who has found some suc­cess in the in­dus­trial Mid­west, wants to lever­age his fiery ar­gu­ments against free trade and his work­ing­class sup­port into an April 5 vic­tory in del­e­ga­terich Wis­con­sin. He also plans to com­pete fiercely in New York and is push­ing for the party to sched­ule a de­bate in the state, say­ing in the in­ter­view it would be “re­ally ab­surd” if one did not take place.

On Satur­day, he told more than 8,000 cheer­ing sup­port­ers at a rally in Madi­son, Wis., that his cam­paign now has mo­men­tum, cit­ing Satur­day’s wins that fol­lowed re­cent vic­to­ries in Utah and Idaho.

“Don’t let any­body tell you we can’t win the nom­i­na­tion or we can’t win the general elec­tion. We’re go­ing to do both of those things.”

Af­ter San­ders’ two wins Satur­day, Clin­ton held a del­e­gate lead of 1,234 to 956 over San­ders, ac­cord­ing to an As­so­ci­ated Press anal­y­sis, an ad­van­tage that ex­pands to 1,703-985 once the su­perdel­e­gates are in­cluded. It takes 2,383 del­e­gates to win the nom­i­na­tion at the party’s na­tional con­ven­tion in July in Philadel­phia.

Based on the AP count, San­ders still needs to win more than 57 per cent of the re­main­ing del­e­gates from pri­maries and cau­cuses to have a ma­jor­ity of those del­e­gates by June’s end.

His bar is even higher when the party of­fi­cials are con­sid­ered. He needs to win more than 67 per cent of the re­main­ing del­e­gates over­all — from pri­maries, cau­cuses and the ranks of un­com­mit­ted su­perdel­e­gates — to pre­vail.

He was un­likely to emerge from his Satur­day sweep with sig­nif­i­cantly more del­e­gates, win­ning at least 36 del­e­gates to Clin­ton’s 11 for the day af­ter his vic­to­ries in Alaska and Wash­ing­ton. More are likely to be al­lo­cated to San­ders in sev­eral weeks, when Wash­ing­ton state Demo­cratic party releases vote shares by dis­trict. Sixty-seven del­e­gates are awarded based on re­sults in the state’s con­gres­sional dis­tricts.

But there’s lit­tle ques­tion San­ders has tapped into a pow­er­ful frus­tra­tion within the party. He con­tin­ues to at­tract tens of thou­sands to his ral­lies and has col­lected more than US$140 mil­lion in 4.7 mil­lion in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions.

Most of his 14 pri­mary-sea­son wins have been in states with largely white pop­u­la­tions and in cau­cus con­tests, which tend to at­tract the most ac­tive lib­eral Democrats. He’s heav­ily favoured by younger vot­ers, who were a key part of the coali­tion that boosted U. S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to vic­tory twice. Clin­ton’s abil­ity to win the White House, should she cap­ture the nom­i­na­tion, will hinge on how well she can motivate San­ders’ pas­sion­ate — and po­lit­i­cally ac­tive — sup­port­ers.


Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sen. Bernie San­ders speaks at a cam­paign stop Satur­day in Madi­son, Wis.

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