Bernie Sanders might claim to have the momentum in the Democratic race for nomination after sweeping victories in the Western states of Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii, but Hillary Clinton’s lead is still sufficient to make winning the nomination appear like an insurmountable task for the Vermont senator.
There are probably two reasons why Hillary Clinton could claim to have the upper-hand in the race, barring the obvious one of her having a hefty lead in the number of pledged delegates in her favor. As it stands, Clinton has 268 more pledged delegates than Sanders, but with 22 states still left to vote, there is every chance that Sanders could overturn that lead, as he again pointed out to his supporters during a rally in Madison, Wisconsin recently.
But what makes the Democratic race particularly tricky is the presence of superdelegates — elected officials and party leaders — that could tilt the nomination in either candidate’s favor. One of the things that Bernie Sanders said after he scored big victories in the Western states was that he believes that a lot of superdelegates will switch to his side if he wins more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton.
“I think the momentum is with us,” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper after the win. “A lot of these superdelegates may rethink their positions with Secretary Clinton.
“I think when they begin to look at reality, and that is that we are beating Donald Trump by much larger margins than Secretary Clinton,” Sanders added. “And then you’ve got superdelegates in states where we win by 40 or 50 points. I think their own constituents are going to say to them, ‘Hey, why don’t you support the people of our state and vote for Sanders?'”
What gives particular weight to that argument is Sanders’ belief that winning a majority of pledged delegates will demonstrate that he’s a more viable candidate than Clinton, at the same time also putting pressure on the superdelegates not to overturn the wishes of the majority of Democratic voters.
But even for that situation to arise, Bernie Sanders will have to win more than 60 percent of the votes in the remaining states, notes NPR. With primaries in New York and Pennsylvania looming in April — both states with high number of pledged delegates on offer — Sanders will have to engineer victories in a format that has not particularly favored him during this electoral campaign.
Moreover, Bernie Sanders would also need to score better with minorities, who have appeared to side with Hillary Clinton during the campaign, a second bit of leverage that the former Secretary of State has benefited from in the current race.
Polls suggest that Clinton is still heavily favored in states like New York, Pennsylvania, and California — all states with significant black populations — but those polls have, for the most part, not taken into account Sanders’ recent victories, while also paying little attention to his entirely legitimate argument that he is slowly chipping away at Clinton’s voter-base.
Not all of this is in the least bit impossible, of course, and that is why Sanders’ belief that he could overturn Hillary Clinton’s lead with the momentum he now has is reasoning which is backed up by facts.
Having said that, even the staunchest of Sanders’ supporters will not disagree with the fact that, despite all these factors, Clinton still has a better chance — at least mathematically — at clinching the Democratic nomination come July.
Which is where FBI could come to Bernie Sanders’ aid.
In a recent article published in Vice, it was argued that Hillary Clinton’s best argument has been her electability, but if FBI was to indict her for mishandling classified information stored in her infamous private email server, that argument would go out the window. Not only would such a scenario push Clinton’s voters towards Sanders, but it would also spook party leaders and elected officials alike — meaning Sanders would not even have to try to win over the superdelegates, who would themselves flock to him for lack of another candidate.
But while some might think the FBI indicting Clinton could be a far-fetched call, just hold your horses. Clinton being indicted by the FBI is not an altogether implausible situation. In fact, a recent article published by LA Times points out precisely this phase of political quicksand that Clinton’s campaign could be in danger of entering. According to the article, some of Clinton’s closest aides have already been summoned by federal prosecutors, and it might not be long before Clinton is asked to appear to answer some questions herself.
“Federal prosecutors investigating the possible mishandling of classified materials on Hillary Clinton’s private email server have begun the process of setting up formal interviews with some of her longtime and closest aides, according to two people familiar with the probe, an indication that the inquiry is moving into its final phases.
Prosecutors also are expected to seek an interview with Clinton herself, though the timing remains unclear.”
If that was to happen, which seems increasingly likely, the Democratic establishment might fear the turning of this election campaign into a horrible fiasco which, by all accounts, would not be the ideal situation for the party, notes The Huffington Post.
Moreover, former U.S. attorney general Michael Mukasey conceded that a criminal charge is in order for Clinton or her aides, while former Obama intelligence official Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn even went on to say that the only reason Clinton is not in jail is because of her party position.
“If it were me, I would have been out the door and probably in jail,” Flynn said.
All of which points to a terribly difficult situation for Hillary Clinton and her aides, and by extension, for the Democratic Party. In such a scenario, it would not be difficult to imagine why, in the coming weeks, Clinton’s supporter base might want to turn to Bernie Sanders, who has not had a blemish of such epic proportions on his name throughout his career. As mentioned earlier in the article, with 22 states to go, there is still a lot waiting to happen.
Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic nomination is not a foregone conclusion, not the least now with Bernie Sanders racking up victories like never before. But if the FBI was to come to Sanders’ aid, then it would certainly be a foregone conclusion, albeit not the one Clinton might have been expecting all this while.
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