Bernie Sanders registered sweeping victories in all three Democratic presidential contests on Saturday, providing his underdog campaign with a momentum which could prove vital as the Democratic race for nomination heats up in the coming weeks.
The margins of the victory in all three caucuses will come as a major boost to the Vermont senator, with New York Times reporting that Sanders managed to get 73 percent of the votes in Washington, 82 percent in Alaska, and was leading with 70 percent of the votes in Hawaii with a few precincts still to be counted.
Although the three massive wins for Bernie Sanders would not quite help him close down Hillary Clinton’s lead completely, it could still provide his campaign with the much needed momentum he seeks to cut into Clinton’s commanding delegate lead and bolster his bid to topple Clinton in their party’s presidential nomination.
Washington, the most prized state on Saturday with 101 delegates on offer, would probably give Sanders’ the most amount of satisfaction after his dismal showing against Hillary Clinton across the southern states and some other delegate-rich states like Ohio, Florida and North Carolina earlier this month.
After Saturday’s results, Bernie Sanders is 280 pledged delegates short of Hillary Clinton’s total, while the former Secretary of State has roughly 440 more superdelegates — elected officials and party leaders — than the Vermont senator.
One of the reasons for Sanders’ powerful showing in the Western states could be the lack of minority voters in these states, with most Black and Hispanic voters preferring Hillary Clinton as their Democratic candidate. Moreover, Sanders has performed better in states holding caucuses and the pattern seems to have continued for him on Saturday.
For Clinton, however, the results highlight her inability in wooing young and liberal voters, who have expressed their concerns about her fund-raising and speechmaking practices. Her email scandal, greatly discussed before the caucuses, seems to be yet another reason that young voters do not trust her the same way they trust Bernie Sanders.
Speaking at a rally in Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon, Sanders had reiterated that three wins on Saturday would open a viable path to nomination.
“We knew from day one that politically we were going to have a hard time in the Deep South. But we knew things were going to get better as we headed west.
We are making significant inroads in Secretary Clinton’s lead, and we have a path toward victory. It is hard for anyone to deny that our campaign has the momentum.”
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 26, 2016
Other than helping close down Hillary Clinton’s lead, the victories on Saturday could help Sanders in yet another way. The wins are likely to bestow on his campaign a surge of online donations which could be channelized into buying advertising in the expensive media markets of New York and Pennsylvania, with both states due to hold primaries in April. The significance of advertising can hardly be overestimated in the Democratic race for nomination, with Sanders having won Hawaii on the back of a successful ad campaign, according to Wall Street Journal.
Sanders aired TV ads aimed at introducing himself to Hawaii voters, while also showcasing the endorsement of a native daughter, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
But while Hawaii only had 25 delegates at stake, a similar performance by Bernie Sanders in the remaining states could certainly propel his campaign into making deep inroads into Hillary Clinton’s lead. If that happens, as Sanders has liked to point out repeatedly during his campaign, the Democratic nomination might not be a foregone conclusion.
[Photo by Natalie Behring/Getty Images]