Bernie Sanders is picking up speed as he prepares for a massive upset in Hillary’s home state of New York. One of his first moves was to challenge Clinton to a debate. Clinton, however, won’t commit to a debate until Sanders “changes his tone,” according to advisor Joel Benenson.
Sanders closed in on a 300-delegate gap in a dramatic Saturday sweep of the western states. In what the Boston Globe called “one of the most successful days of his campaign,” Sanders easily mopped up in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington state.
The numbers were in Sanders’ favor with a total of 55 delegates — 13 in Alaska, 17 in Hawaii, and 25 in Washington. Clinton earned 20 — 3 in Alaska, 8 in Hawaii, and 9 in Washington.
— Raw Story (@RawStory) March 28, 2016
When the dust settled, an Associated Press analysis determined that Clinton held a delegate lead of 1,243 to 975 over Sanders. Her lead expands to 1,712 to 1,004, once the super delegates are included.
It takes 2,383 delegates to win.
On April 5, Sanders is pressing on to Wisconsin, where he expects to do well. He has crushed it in both neighboring states, Michigan and Minnesota, by garnering support from young voters and activists who appreciate his liberal ideals.
Following his triumphant wins in the west, the senator from Vermont is now turning his eyes to the east, hoping to once again conquer the odds.
Sanders’ team is investigating which angle is the best way to approach the New York voters. They plan on polls telling them where voters stand on issues like fracking and Wall Street. Tad Devine, Sanders’ chief strategist, admitted Bernie is the underdog.
“… Being the underdog in New York is not the worst situation in politics. We’re going to make a real run for it.”
As she demonstrated during Wednesday’s speech at Stanford University, Hillary has been shifting the tone of her campaign to the general election, as if she is going through the hoops before the real show begins. She has hopes of posing a united front with Bernie’s camp once the primaries end. Over the past several weeks, she has made a pointed effort not to launch any attacks on him, avoiding the usual campaign rhetoric.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 24, 2016
One might say she is following Bernie’s example, as he has conducted his campaign with a notable dearth of mud-slinging. This, however has changed, and it may be a point of resistance on Hillary’s part. Joel Benenson, Clinton’s chief strategist, told CNN, “Let’s see the tone of the campaign he wants to run before we get to any other questions.
“Senator Sanders doesn’t get to decide when we debate, particularly when he’s running a very negative campaign against us.”
As Clinton has already pointed out, the Democrats can be held in stark contrast to the wallowing Republican hopefuls. But the press is assuming that Hillary is being careful not to alienate Bernie, as she will need the support of his followers should she defeat him.
This may be only a part of the reason that Hillary seems reluctant to debate Sanders on New York turf. Her response, essentially asking Bernie to ‘play nice’, may be posturing on Hillary’s end. But it may also be a step in her plan to combine forces following the primaries.
The New York media has been notoriously dismissive, even vacant, when it comes to Bernie. Rolling Stone recently accused the New York Times of sandbagging him.
“The Times has taken a lot of heat from Sanders fans for not covering him enough and for its generally sarcastic approach to his run. And at times, the paper’s editors have seemed to tone things down in response to criticism.”
Despite pans by the local media, Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based strategist and former Clinton adviser, indicated that Sanders may have a shot at winning New York.
”Everybody thinks it’ll be big. If the turnout by African-Americans is large, Secretary Clinton will win well. If the turnout is not large, she will not win. Is the opportunity with her? Yes. But this is a test.”
Sanders was born and raised in Brooklyn, and plans to focus his campaign on his New York values.
The New York Primary is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19.
[Image via Trevcor Collens/Shutterstock]