New York has lately emerged as a crucial battleground for both the Democratic presidential candidates–Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, especially after Mr. Sanders won the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday, his sixth victory in the last seven contests.
The Vermont senator defeated the Democratic front-runner, 56.5 percent–43.1 percent, with the state’s 86 delegates divided proportionally: 45 for Mr. Sanders and 31 for Mrs. Clinton. Now, the former Secretary of State must win New York by a convincing margin to fend off the speculation that her campaign is floundering, observes Politico.
Earlier, both the campaigns have agreed to meet for a debate on April 14 in Brooklyn, five days before the New York primary. The agreement was followed by weeks of public squabbling over timing and location of the debate.
Although the former First Lady continues to have a comfortable lead of around 250 pledged delegates even after her Wisconsin loss, she cannot afford to be complacent, given her dwindling lead in the Big Apple as shown by the new poll.
However, the Hillary campaign is in no mood to believe that a Bernie Sanders victory in the April 19 Empire State’s primary would reset the race or lead to an open convention. Brian Fallon, the campaign press secretary, said in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday that a win for Sanders may “only prolong the contest,” but “it doesn’t put him on the trajectory to overtake us in our pledged delegate lead.”
“If you look at the reality this morning, even after his win last night, for which we congratulate him, he’s still down by over 200 delegates. And even if he repeats this trick in New York in terms of the margin — look at the delegate yield that he took away last night. It’s only a 10… He needs to win by 60 percent or so in not just New York but in Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey.”
Again, a confident Bernie told a Laramie, Wyoming, crowd Tuesday night, “I believe we’ve got an excellent chance to win New York and a lot of delegates in that state.” This optimism came one day after the news surfaced that his campaign has raised over $35 million more than Clinton’s so far in 2016.
“I believe we’ve got an excellent chance to win New York and a lot of delegates in that state… We have a path toward victory.”
The Democratic socialist’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, advises Mrs. Clinton not to “destroy the Democratic Party to satisfy the secretary’s ambitions to become president of the United States,” and urges Democrats to rally behind Mr. Sanders.
“Let’s have a tough debate, let’s talk about the issues,”
When CNN anchor Chris Cuomo asked Mrs. Clinton about Jeff’s suggestion, she burst out laughing and said, “Well it’s just ludicrous on the face of it.”
Despite Wisconsin setback, the Hillary campaign seems undeterred and is straining their every nerve to reap not just the home-field advantage, but also the math factor. Sanders’ latest win only awarded him a small chunk of the state’s 86 pledged delegates. She is still ahead of him by about 700 delegates in total, including a lead of more than 400 among superdelegates.
All eyes are now on April 19, when both the candidates will take on each other to win the New York primary. While the Sanders campaign is already brainstorming how to aggressively go after Clinton and her policies, Clinton aides said they were simply going on defense.
While Sanders has every reason to congratulate himself about his latest wins, Clinton’s final firewall is four of the most delegate-rich states yet to vote, starting with New York on April 19. Helmut Norpoth, a political science professor at New York’s Stony Brook University, told Bloomberg that while Sanders has been “on a roll” lately, Sanders would need to defy historical trends and “peel off a significant chunk of those superdelegates to have a shot at turning the contest around.”
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