Guardian: Sanders 7th win in a row now New York
Bernie Sanders galloped to a decisive win in cowboy land, the Wyoming caucus. His momentum is impressive and, at this point, it feels like he’s unstoppable. He has come out of nowhere since January with a hard-hitting, liberal message that resonates dramatically with Democrats and Independents.
Wyoming marks his seventh victory in a row (and eighth out of nine), giving him 1,068 delegates to Hillary Clinton’s total of 1,755. The nomination will go to whoever wins 2,383 delegates. He won 56% to 44%, and picked up seven delegates.
With her trajectory downward and his on the rise, anything can happen – especially now that their race to the nomination veers back to the east.
New York will be the first of six populous eastern seaboard states with primaries that have a total of 753 delegates to split. But he needs to win these decisively to gain in delegate count vis-a-vis Clinton.
But if Sanders wins New York, all bets are off in terms of the final outcome, because this would humiliate and rock the Clinton campaign. She served as senator there and has made the state her home.
Sanders, on the other hand, was born and raised in New York City, but established his career in Vermont, where he has had a lengthy and successful political career as mayor, congressman and senator.
Perhaps given the high stakes, a new tone has been set in the two-way race in New York. Sanders claimed Clinton was “unqualified” for the job, due to her war chest from Wall Street and her support for the Iraq war, among other policies. Since then, his campaign spokesman backed off somewhat.
What has Clinton supporters worried about New York is that, despite a scuffing between the two over their suitability as president, Sanders is closing the gap in polls to within 10 percentage points.
Sanders’ pattern during this election cycle has been to come from behind and win. And the New York polling gap has narrowed in recent days to roughly 10%, which is why this race will be a big test for Clinton.
Sanders has done this in the past seven primaries, eventually crossing the finish line ahead of her. However, her early lead in the primary season – and her election wins throughout the Deep South – represent a daunting challenge that may be impossible to overcome. This is because there are no winner-take-all contests in the Democratic states, so percentages count.
Sanders cannot succeed unless his momentum continues. This will be the only way he can make the case that the 400-odd special delegates pledged to Clinton switch votes or that a brokered, free voting convention should be held.
National polls show that Sanders would beat Trump or Cruz more handily than would Hillary Clinton in the fall. The contest also represents an interesting barometer – as does the Republic primaries – of the American population.
They have been battered by trade deals that have hollowed out the middle class, costly wars, Wall Street malfeasance, campaign finance corruption and a Congress with trade and social policies that are misaligned with public opinion.
Sanders, like Trump for disaffected Republicans, has presented himself as an outsider who can restore fairness to prosperity on behalf of America’s faltering middle class.
Whether middle America deputizes him to drive the bad guys out of town or not is unclear, but so far he’s delivering one impressive victory after another – and that is no small feat.
First Published in Theguardian.com