On Super Tuesday 2016, Hillary Clinton dominated 6 Southern states and won one New England state, Massachusetts, with a 1% margin. Bernie Sanders won 4 states soundly: Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont.
Despite the scoreboard–and immediate establishment media talk of his doom–Sanders still has an opportunity to win the Democratic nomination, should his popularity continue to grow and his supporters charge the polls in the next primaries and caucuses.
Consider that on Super Tuesday,
Even in the states where Clinton won handily, like Texas, Virginia, and Georgia, Sanders still won handily with his core constituencies–voters aged 18 to 29, first-time primary voters, and independents. According to NBC News’ exit polls, Sanders won young voters by a 30-point margin in Texas, 39 points in Virginia, 13 points in Georgia, and even captured the youth vote in Clinton’s home state of Arkansas, where Bill Clinton served as governor, by 24 points.
Among first-time primary voters, Sanders won by, again, 30 points in Texas and 8 points in Virginia. And Sanders captured independent voters by 16 points in both Texas and Virginia, 3 points in Georgia, 13 points in Tennessee, and 17 points in Arkansas.
Only 15 of the 50 states have voted. As Melissa Cruz writes, “Taking into account both delegates and superdelegates, about 75 percent of delegates are still up for grabs. If superdelegates are not accounted for, roughly 64 percent of delegates are left within the Democratic primary election.”
Though it will be a battle, Bernie Sanders can still win.
Importantly, Clinton’s national lead over Sanders has disappeared, and in some polls he’s beating her by a slim margin. That balance of support–made obvious in the first three Democratic contests–will likely become evident again as the race moves forward, out of the South and into states with the largest offerings of delegates.
Even before the crucial Super Tuesday victories, Sanders proved he could do well in blue collar, Midwestern states like Iowa (where he lost by less than 1%), New England states like New Hampshire (where he crushed Clinton), and in the Southwest (he lost Nevada by just a few percentage points).
Cruz writes, “Sanders still has a strong chance in many of the blue collar states coming up, such as Michigan, Illinois, and Pennsylvania,” which offer 147, 182, and 210 delegates respectively. Ohio has 159 delegates, Indiana 92, and the highly progressive Wisconsin 96.
Even a Mother Jones writer who thinks “Bernie Sanders is in a whole lot of trouble” admits:
If he can roll with the punches, he just might make it to the sweet spot of the schedule, a four-week, 15-state stretch that represents his last best shot to turn things around, starting with Idaho, Utah, and Arizona on March 22.
This four-week stretch not only includes Southwestern states Sanders showed he can compete in but also the very liberal Washington, with its 118 delegates. Tom Cahill agrees that
…he faces a much more favorable electorate in states voting after March 15. If Sanders stays within 150 delegates by that benchmark, he can potentially narrow Clinton’s lead in the spring and overtake her in the summer as Sanders-favorable coastal states take to the polls.
Coastal states (Washington included) like the very liberal California, with its whopping 546 delegates awarded in June, could swing Sanders’ way and send him toward the White House. He has a good chance to win New England states like Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware.
Like his passionate fan base, Sanders’ war chest is only continuing to grow. He’s raised $137 million in the campaign so far, and as the Mother Jones writer notes,
Sanders raised an absurd $42 million in February—$6 million of it on the Monday after the South Carolina blowout. Because he relies so heavily on small-dollar donors who haven’t hit the $2,700 limit, he can in theory keep circling back for more money to buy ads and build organizations in every state that comes up.