Bernie Sanders is holding a huge rally in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Monday that will stream live less than 12 hours before voters in that state go to the polls for their Democratic presidential primary election. The Vermont Senator makes his fourth campaign visit to Arizona in the past week in an all-out attempt to overturn what polls say is a massive lead by Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
While Idaho and Utah hold caucuses on Tuesday, March 22, as well, Arizona is overwhelmingly important to Sanders for several key reasons, most important among them being the state’s 85 delegates. Trailing Clinton by well over 300, a Clinton victory in Arizona would send the majority of delegates there her way would be devastating to Bernie Sanders, making his already formidable “delegate math” disadvantage nearly impossible to overcome going forward.
Bernie Sanders wins Democrats Abroad primary: Socialist senator receives 69 percent of the… https://t.co/YBWWmsRewo
— (@huyanxing) March 21, 2016
Sanders has also campaigned in Idaho and Utah, but though polling there has been scarce, what polls there have been showing is that Sanders leads Clinton in both states, albeit by much smaller margins than the nearly 30 point lead Clinton holds in Arizona. Also, both of those states have demographics that favor Sanders, whose strongest support has come from white voters, and both Utah and Idaho are more than 90 percent white.
Clinton has dominated with Latino voters and 30 percent of the Arizona population is Latino.
Bernie Sanders began his final day of campaigning before the “Western Tuesday” voting with a rally in Idaho, where he was joined by actress Susan Sarandon, who has publicly backed Sanders. Watch a full replay of the Boise, Idaho, rally held on Monday morning, in the video below.
Bernie Sanders is scheduled to take the stage at the 2,700-seat Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill Park in Flagstaff, Arizona, at about 8 p.m. local time, which is the same as Pacific Time because Arizona does not recognize Daylight Savings Time. For Sanders’ supporters on the East Coast, the rally will start to stream live at around 11 p.m
Watch a live stream of the Bernie Sanders pre-election Flagstaff rally in the video below.
Sanders got one piece of good news to start his week when results from the Democrats Abroad primary came in — and Bernie Sanders won. The voting for Democrats living abroad in more than 170 countries took place between March 1 and March 8, but the final vote tally was just announced on Monday.
The Democrats abroad, who saw a record turnout of more than 34,000, voted for Bernie Sanders in a landslide, 69 percent to 31 for Hillary Clinton. The victory allowed Sanders to cut Clinton’s lead by five delegates.
Unfortunately for Sanders and his supporters, winning a majority of the 85 Arizona delegates may prove considerably more difficult, especially because Arizona is an early voting state and most voters cast ballots by mail. Approximately 300,000 of those have been returned, and about half have come from voters aged 50 and over, another voting block that has been dominated by Hillary Clinton so far.
But by holding one more rally in Arizona, Sanders apparently hopes to rally his own base, which consists largely of young voters, to show up at the polls on Tuesday and overwhelm whatever advantage Clinton may have already gained via early balloting.
On Monday, however, the online political magazine Politico published a report saying that Democrats “of all stripes” in the United Senate — while extremely impressed with the remarkable advances the previously obscure Sanders has achieved with his campaign — will now urge him to shift his focus toward creating party unity, rather than continuing to attack Hillary Clinton.
“What’s important is not whether or not he gets out, but how he campaigns,” Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill told Politico. “If the contrast is now about what separates us from Donald Trump, then I think it’s fine. I just hope that we can begin to focus on unifying because obviously a lot of us are perplexed that we could be facing a country led by someone who seems to be a buffoon.”
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Bernie Sanders will hold an election night rally on Tuesday not in Arizona, but in San Diego, California — in a state that does not vote until June 7, but with 546 delegates represents a last-ditch hope for Sanders to head into the Democratic convention in a competitive position with Hillary Clinton.
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