Tuesday’s Primaries Give Sanders’ Campaign Momentum It Needs

In Tuesday’s primaries, the residents of both Mississippi and Michigan turned out in huge numbers to cast their votes for both Democratic and Republican candidates. While the outcomes of the Republican primaries in the two states were no surprise to most Americans, the outcomes of the Democratic primaries have resulted in shock for the Clinton campaign and elation for those in the Sanders camp. In fact, the results of Tuesday’s primaries could be the momentum the Sanders’ campaign needs as it heads toward primaries in even more progressive states.

Next Tuesday, votes will be cast in five states, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio. Those votes will result in the distribution of 691 pledged delegates. In Florida, a political poll conducted by News 13 and Bay News 9 found that 61 percent of Democrats plan to cast their votes for Clinton, leaving only 39 percent to show their support for Sanders. Projections for next Tuesday’s primaries from FiveThirtyEight support that poll by showing a Florida win as likely for Clinton. FiveThirtyEight’s other projections for the Tuesday, March 15 primaries, based on information from multiple polls, also indicate Clinton wins are likely in the four other states.

In spite of statistics for next Tuesday’s primaries showing that losses are likely for the Sanders campaign, Bernie’s supporters have found momentum in his unexpected Michigan victory. Social media has been abuzz since word of his Tuesday win in the northern state hit the news around 11 p.m., by which time even Sanders himself had gone to bed. This buzz shows that the Sanders campaign has not lost any faith in either its candidate’s ability or his popularity. In fact, his supporters seem more positive than ever.

According to an article about Tuesday’s primaries in the Atlantic, political statisticians considered the surprise of Sanders’ Michigan victory the result of a massive, even historical, polling error. This admittance has brought hope to the Sanders campaign as it looks to next Tuesday’s primaries. Even with polls favoring Clinton in all five states that are up for grabs on Tuesday, March 15, Sanders supporters can look back at the Michigan win and, quite happily, ignore polls and projections.

What is even stranger, perhaps, is that the Sanders’ campaign is not only putting its faith in polling errors but also in support from a totally unexpected political group — Republicans. Over the past few days, “Republicans for Bernie” has been trending on both Twitter and Facebook, giving rise to images of the GOP’s elephant mascot shown in both blue and red.

Looking more closely at the current political landscape, it is perhaps these Republican supporters who have caused the polling errors. Earlier polls, prior to Trump’s meteoric rise, would have included Republicans who planned to vote for the party’s other candidates, many of whom have either already left the race or are now preparing to do so.

Faced with the inevitability of Trump’s victory in the primaries, many moderate and progressive Republicans have pulled their support from not only the Republican front-runner but also the party itself. Their opinion of the GOP leader is quite clear in another phrase that began trending prior to Tuesday’s primaries and shows no signs of slowing — “Never Trump.” Rubio has used the phrase for marketing, but non-GOP supporters, many of whom are former Republicans, have now claimed it as their own.

With the help of these Republican supporters during next Tuesday’s primaries, the Sanders’ campaign may just be able to overcome Clinton’s current lead, which, in all reality, is not that great when one removes the superdelegates from her column. In fact, with so many pledged delegates still up for grabs and the superdelegates retaining the right to change their votes, the Democratic nomination is far from decided, regardless of what the Clinton campaign and the national media want Americans to believe.

If Bernie Sanders can keep the momentum from this Tuesday’s primaries going into next week, he may very well have a surprise in store for America during next Tuesday’s primaries.

[Photo by Alan Diaz/AP Images]