Hillary Clinton still has a strong lead against Bernie Sanders in the race for Democratic presidential nominee.
But Bernie still has a chance at catching up to Hillary within the remaining primary states.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had a good night Saturday if you look at the number of states he won. He beat Hillary Clinton in the Kansas and Nebraska caucuses, while Clinton pulled out a win in the Louisiana primary.
But Clinton actually came out ahead in the delegate count, with 55 delegates to Sanders’ 47. And while Sanders has a good shot at winning the Maine caucuses on Sunday, he needs to start winning bigger — and in bigger states — to close the gap with her.
Both Clinton and Sanders are already looking ahead not only to Michigan’s primary on Tuesday, but the delegate-rich date of March 15, when Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio will be holding their primaries.
These states have diverse Democratic electorates, which bodes well for Clinton. She has done significantly better with communities of color, despite the fact that Sanders has been trying to make inroads.
In contrast, the caucus states where Sanders won Saturday are places where the Democratic base has grown smaller in recent years, with older, more conservative Democrats becoming Republicans or independents. That has left a more liberal electorate open to Sanders’ message of radical change. They’re also states that are predominantly white and rural, and Sanders tends to do best with those voters.
Michigan is a state where both Clinton and Sanders’ teams believe they have a shot. Clinton made the water crisis in Flint a focus of her campaign early on, and she has the endorsement of the city’s mayor.
But Sanders sees an opening in this state. People in Michigan, and Detroit specifically, know better than perhaps anyone else the effects of the recession and the changing economy. Those voters may be more receptive to Sanders’ core message of economic inequality. And it gives Sanders a chance to test his campaign with black voters outside of the South.
“I think in Michigan, she’s still ahead. She’s had a lead for awhile,” Sanders’ Senior Strategist Tad Devine acknowledged Saturday night on MSNBC. “But like many other states, we are closing very very fast. And I hope by the time we get to Tuesday, we can close in Michigan as well.”
Essentially, Sanders has to start winning states outright in order to rack up enough delegates to catch up.