Bernies Sanders scored two big wins on Tuesday night, but will it do more than simply give him a morale boost? It’s tough to say. As CNN reported, Bernie was able to clinch substantial wins in the Utah and Idaho Democratic primaries, coming in well ahead of his rival and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. However, despite winning two of the three primaries of the night, Bernie Sanders couldn’t stop Clinton from coming in first in Arizona, which was the biggest prize of Western Tuesday.
Even though he couldn’t clinch a win in Arizona, the Bernie Sanders wins in Utah and Idaho were substantial, with Bernie winning 78 percent of the Idaho vote (and 17 of the 23 delegates at stake) and 79 percent of the Utah vote and 24 of the state’s 33 delegates (with 82 percent of the votes counted). These big wins in the West play into the Bernie Sanders campaign’s path to the Democratic nomination, which is becoming increasingly improbable as he continues to lag behind Hillary Clinton in the overall delegate count.
At the time of this article’s publication, Bernie Sanders had 939 delegates, 912 of which are pledged delegates and 27 of which are superdelegates. By contrast, Hillary Clinton is sitting on 1,711 delegates, including 1,229 pledged and 482 superdelegates. In order to win the Democratic nomination, a candidate must reach 2,383 delegates.
In addition to winning big in Idaho and Utah, Bernie Sanders is expected to do very well in upcoming Saturday caucuses in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington State. If he does, it will go a long way toward supporting the Bernie Sanders campaign’s stance that he’s doing the right thing by staying in the presidential race despite his long-shot odds at winning.
During a campaign stump speech in San Diego on Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders touted his past and potential future successes. He even predicted his wins in Idaho and Utah.
“When we began this campaign we were considered a fringe candidacy. Well, 10 months later we have now won 10 primaries and caucuses. Unless I am very much mistaken, we are going to win a couple more tonight.”
Bernie Sanders’ two big wins in the West were handed to him by voters in states with predominantly white populations, a demographic that Sanders has done well with throughout the primary season. However, in Arizona, a state with a much more ethnically diverse populous, Hillary Clinton won heartily, with 57 percent of the vote and 41 of the 75 delegates.
Despite winning less than 35 delegates on Western Tuesday, Vice News reports that the wins in Idaho and Utah are just the thing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders needs in order to stay in the race. Indeed, despite trailing Hillary Clinton by around 300 pledged delegates, Bernie has sworn to see the battle for the Democratic nomination all the way through to the Democratic National Convention.
The primaries in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona on Tuesday also boasted record-breaking voter turnout, and Bernie has promised to capitalize on that momentum, swearing to “fight this to the last vote,” even following five straight losses to front-runner Hillary Clinton last week.
“We’re going to give every American the chance to decide which candidate they want to be the Democratic nominee in November.”
Bernie Sanders’ big win in Utah, a state with a large Mormon population, could be a game-changer for that state, particularly if Donald Trump secures the Republican nomination. A recent Deseret News/KSL poll indicates that if GOP front-runner Trump wins the nomination, the majority of Utahans would vote for a Democratic nominee as opposed to former reality TV star Donald Trump. A Trump nomination could be a very good thing for Bernie Sanders if he wins the Democratic nomination, as it could mean that Utah becomes a “blue state” for the first time in 50 years.
It’s unclear precisely what Utah voters find so distasteful about Trump. It could be his immigration stance, which is harsher and less compassionate than most in the predominant Mormon religion espouse, or it could be his public questioning of Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. Either way, if the Utah dislike of Donald Trump (Ted Cruz won the state heartily on Tuesday, taking more than 50 percent of the vote and all of the state’s delegates) is a potential windfall for Bernie Sanders in a hypothetical general election, provided that Sanders has a few more big wins up his sleeve.
[Photo by George Frey/Getty Images]