After yesterday’s primaries in Oregon and Kentucky, Bernie Sanders is still going strong after a win in one state and a very close call in the other. Although he still has a fight on his hands, Bernie Sanders says he is ready.
With only 72 percent of precincts reporting at the time of this writing, Bernie Sanders is the apparent victor in Oregon with 54.3 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 45.7 percent. Based on the current numbers, Oregon awarded Bernie Sanders 28 delegates, while Hillary Clinton received 24.
Oregon, together we are taking on virtually all of the Democratic establishment. Thank you for the strong victory! pic.twitter.com/nH7fI6QXU7
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 18, 2016
In Kentucky, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, Bernie Sanders has received 210,626 votes, edged out by fewer than 2,000 votes for Clinton. Kentucky has awarded both candidates 27 delegates, and Kentucky’s final delegate will go to the state’s winner as soon as the last votes are counted.
With the addition of the pledged delegates from Kentucky and Oregon, the current counts have Bernie Sanders with 1,488 and Clinton with 1,767. With only 781 pledged delegates up for grabs in the one remaining caucus and eight remaining primaries, Bernie Sanders will have to gain the support of some of Clinton’s 524 superdelegates if he wants to secure the nomination — even if he manages sweeping wins in all of remaining contests. That said, Clinton will also have to basically sweep the remaining contents if she wants to secure the win without the help of superdelegates.
Fortunately for Bernie Sanders, the question of superdelegates is one plaguing the Democratic establishment. During Maine’s Democratic State Convention, held in early May, party members voted overwhelmingly to eliminate superdelegates going forward, according to the Portland Press Herald. While the change does not officially take effect until 2020, one can assume Maine’s superdelegates will be under extreme pressure to cast votes reflecting those made by Maine’s voters at this year’s convention.
— The Hill (@thehill) May 17, 2016
On May 15, Alaska’s Democrats followed Maine’s lead by requesting that superdelegates cast votes that reflect those of the state’s voters, urging the Democratic National Convention to eliminate superdelegates completely. According to a report on the resolution in The Inquisitr, although formal, the resolution is non-binding, meaning that only time will tell whether Alaska’s four superdelegates vote according to the will of the people.
The moves made in both Maine and Alaska, followed by the win in Oregon and the near-tie in Kentucky, have not handed Bernie Sanders the win, but they have ensured the Sanders’ campaign will maintain its momentum with less than a month of voting remaining. With states like California and New Jersey still to come, Bernie Sanders needs that momentum, because without strong showings in both states, his opportunity to convert Clinton’s superdelegates to his camp seems unlikely.
As a CNN report on last night’s wins pointed out, Bernie Sanders not only gained momentum after yesterday’s votes, but he also benefited from the fact that Clinton’s loss in Oregon and close call in Kentucky revealed that she has not overcome her vulnerabilities. Clinton continues to fail to win the trust of many of the country’s blue-collar workers, and her ongoing GOP-led battles over her personal email service and the tragedy in Benghazi, along with the massive amount of corporate support for her campaign, are doing her no favors.
Clinton says one of biggest challenges is winning over Sanders fans. pic.twitter.com/4Ghi6GXOW3
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 14, 2016
For Bernie Sanders to make the most of his momentum — and Clinton’s vulnerabilities — he must remain above the fray. Unfortunately, reports of threats of violence from the mouths of Sanders’ supporters at the Nevada State Convention risk dragging him into a typical political nightmare. Last night, Bernie Sanders spoke out against the claims made by the Democratic establishment, accusing them of failing to treat his supporters and a county chair fairly and respectfully, and his remarks were part of a press release posted on his campaign website.
“…there have been a number of criticisms made against my campaign organization. Party leaders in Nevada…claim that the Sanders campaign has a ‘penchant for violence.’ That is nonsense…I am happy to say that…at state conventions in Maine, Alaska, Colorado and Hawaii…good discussions were held and democratic decisions were reached. Unfortunately, that was not the case at the Nevada convention. At that convention the Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place. These are on top of failures at the precinct and county conventions including trying to depose and then threaten with arrest the Clark County convention credentials chair because she was operating too fairly.”
Will Bernie Sanders be able to calm his supporters and maintain his dignity? Will Bernie Sanders’ current momentum continue to hold until the campaign’s final Super Tuesday on June 7? Will more states join Alaska and Maine in attempts to bind superdelegates? Will Clinton’s vulnerabilities be too much for her to overcome?
The answers to the above questions are anything but clear at the moment; however, one thing is extremely clear — Bernie Sanders will continue to fight, as he said during a speech last night in California, ” till the last ballot is cast!”
[Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images]