Bernie Sanders is in trouble. He won just four out of the five contests he actively fought to win and is clearly behind what he needs for a winning delegate count. Moreover, the party’s superdelegates, party insiders who vote independent of primary voters, are overwhelmingly in favor of Hillary Clinton.
Does Bernie still have a chance of winning the Democratic party’s nomination?
According to the Boston Globe, Jeff Weaver, Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, says yes.
“I know some people are ready to write this campaign off as a message campaign, but this is a campaign to win. The people of this country are standing behind us.”
Together with senior strategist Tad Devin, Weaver explained that the races on Tuesday demographically favored Clinton, spinning the results by saying they hoped to win five of the contests, and came out with “4.9.”
One thing the Bernie Sanders campaign claims to have is momentum.
According to Real Clear Politics, they started their bid for the presidency polling in the single digits after an unenthusiastic campaign announcement. Hillary Clinton was regularly over 50 points ahead at the time. That gap has vanished, and Sanders currently has another 9 percent to go before tying his rival in national polls.
Still, there’s a strong sense that it’s too little too late. Clinton’s top political aide Robby Mook released a memo that said, essentially, Sanders has no hope, according to Politico.
“With a pledged delegate lead of more than 180 and momentum on our side, we anticipate building on this lead even further making it increasingly difficult and eventually mathematically impossible for Sen. Sanders to catch up.”
The Hillary Clinton campaign has already changed gears, concentrating on Donald Trump, the increasingly inevitable Republican nominee.
Math is clearly against Bernie Sanders.
The statisticians at FiveThirtyEight, for example, have worked out a map of what contests each candidate needs to win and the minimum amount of delegates they need to take to the convention in July. Hillary Clinton currently has 601 pledged delegates, and she only needs 529 at this point in the race.
Bernie Sanders currently trails by 197 pledged delegates (412), and should have 492 if he were “on track.”
Another factor is the superdelegate count. Clinton currently has the endorsement of 457 of those party insiders; Sanders has 22. Although those officials can change their votes at any time, it seems unlikely that they would, unless the Vermont senator had the support of a clear majority of primary voters.
As one analyst put it, something “truly crazy” would have to happen for Sanders to win.
Truly crazy things have happened before. FiveThirtyEight also predicted that Trump had a 5 percent chance of winning the Republican ticket.
Clinton’s victories on Super Tuesday have been partially attributed to “favorable demographics.” The former secretary of state has a massive lead among black and Hispanic voters. In Alabama, the most extreme example, she took 91 percent of the African American vote. Hispanics are also favorable to Clinton, which will likely have a big effect in states like Arizona and New Mexico.
Those voters are now the gatekeepers Bernie Sanders needs to win.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Sanders has been landing more influential African American endorsements, including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Cornel West, and Eric Garner’s daughter, and is gaining momentum with minority voters overall. His campaign has been rolling out video footage of his time in the civil rights movement, including a clip of him being apprehended by police.
There’s also an enthusiasm slump among African Americans this year compared to 2008. The Daily Beast reports that the turnout was “dismal” in South Carolina, where over half the voting population is black.
If the Vermont senator can energize and court more of those minority voters, and the outrage continues over reportedly underhanded tactics from the Clinton campaign (see this article on Bill Clinton’s obstructive behavior), there’s still hope.
March 5 is the next major date to watch in the race. Kansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska will have their votes, and Sanders is hoping to win two out of those three states. It will also be the campaign’s chance to shift the national discussion and remind people it’s still a two-person contest.
For Bernie Sanders supporters still sitting in the bleachers, it’s time to get registered, just be sure to watch out for Bill Clinton.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]