Beleaguered supporters were no doubt asking themselves on Tuesday, “Can Bernie Sanders still beat Hillary Clinton?”
Of the five New England states up for grabs on Tuesday, Clinton beat Bernie in four of them, reported the New York Times.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 20, 2016
These wins weren’t small either. In Pennsylvania, Hillary surpassed Sanders by more than 10 percent, scoring 91 delegates — 30 more than Bernie did in the state. While the Maryland primary was smaller, it was even more beneficial to Clinton. With a nearly 30-percent lead on Sanders, she also went home with 30 more delegates than him.
While Bernie did manage to come out ahead of Hillary in Rhode Island, he only picked up two delegates more than her there. Furthermore, Clinton still beat Sanders in Connecticut and Delaware, which more than off-set his small win.
With more than a 300 pledged-delegate lead now, Hillary has essentially beaten Bernie. While Sanders is likely to soldier on to the end, it’s become illogical to believe that Bernie can somehow still pull ahead after the New England Super Tuesday races.
Clinton has been ahead of Sanders in nearly every recent state’s polling, and the final results have proved to reflect, and sometimes even exceed, those numbers. Nearly a month ago, political pollster Nate Silver classified it as “really hard” for Bernie to get the 988 more delegates he needed at the time to secure the nomination.
Even in the Sanders-optimistic outcome Silver concocted, Bernie still couldn’t get the required number. Looking over that table a month later, it’s clear that that divide has grown even deeper, especially taking into account that Nate conceded Sanders wins in New York and Pennsylvania and cut Clinton’s margins back substantially in places like Maryland.
Not even just political analysts are calling the campaign doomed. College Humor released a video earlier this week mocking Bernie supporters for their continued denial of his inevitable loss. Many Sanders voters, including his campaign manager, have continued to insist that extra delegates picked up from county caucus conventions and the few future states can turn the race. After all, how could Sanders lose his mojo after gaining momentum in places like Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Colorado?
The answer for at least two of those states is simple. As the most liberal candidate, Bernie will, of course, do well in the nation’s most liberal states. It’s why he’ll almost assuredly clean house in Oregon on May 17. Unfortunately, even with 74 delegates, it’s still unlikely to be a game-changer.
What Sanders really needs at this point is a massive win in California, but even that would have to be of miracle-sized proportions. California has 475 pledged delegates, meaning that even if Bernie managed to land 70 percent of the vote, he would only receive approximately 332 delegates to Clinton’s 142 — a 190 delegate gain that still wouldn’t pull him out of his current hole.
That’s also assuming Hillary doesn’t gain on him anywhere else, which is perhaps more realistic than Sanders snatching Hillary’s lead in California and pushing it 20 percentage points in his favor. Even looking at the bigger picture, Bernie would have to win around 65 percent of the remaining delegates (1,200-plus) to beat out Clinton.
Those numbers also completely rule out superdelegates, many of whom have pledged for Hillary. Sanders has argued in the past that such delegates who had previously pledged their support for Clinton would eventually migrate over to him as he emerged as the more viable candidate. Bernie has failed to prove this scenario’s validity, adding it to the pile of fan fiction that still has supporters hoping for the nomination.
Barring that, it’s over: Bernie Sanders can’t beat Hillary Clinton.
[Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Comedy Central]