An Even Tougher Road Ahead for Sanders

Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote that Sanders chances of becoming the Democratic nominee were slim at best:

With Clinton’s victory in Nevada, lead in South Carolina, and odds to win at least 6 or 7 of the 11 contests on Super Tuesday, and the big states, Sanders’ path to the nomination is now an obstacle course.

The results of Super Tuesday’s primaries are further evidence that a majority of voters just aren’t feeling the Bern. Not only did Clinton beat Sanders in 7 out of 11 contests, she in fact shellacked him. Once the final results were in last night, Clinton had won 62% of the ballots cast by Democrats so far this primary season, and Sanders only 37%.

Across the South,  Hillary Clinton won by huge margins: 43% in Georgia, 59% in Alabama, 32% in Texas, and 29% in Virginia. Nine out of ten African American voters in Alabama and Arkansas voted for Clinton, according to exit polls. African American voters weren’t her only strong supporters. She dominated with Latinos in Texas. The Sanders’ campaign had raised some questions about how Latinos voted in Nevada, but there was little doubt in Texas. The exit polls showed Clinton with a 42 percentage point win among Hispanics. Those results bode well for Clinton in states such as Arizona and New Mexico, and in the big ticket states like California and Florida.

The limits of Sanders’s coalition have become clear. Bernie Sanders won four states (Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Vermont), but his victories tended to come by smaller margins, in smaller states, and states that are predominately white. He’s a hit among young white men and women of college age, but he hasn’t made many inroads beyond this demographic.

Sanders will likely win the caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska this Saturday, and will probably win next Tuesday’s Maine caucus, but beyond that his prospects are not very promising. He’ll likely lose the Louisiana primary on Saturday; then he’ll hit a brutal two-week stretch in which 950 or so delegates will be awarded in Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio. Clinton is the clear favorite in almost all of those states.

Sanders clearly has the money to stay in the race, but his claims about a political revolution that will bring out 1000s of new voters grow less valid with each vote. I’m not disparaging Sanders or his campaign. He’s succeed beyond all expectations and has accomplished a great deal, but the path ahead is looking pretty grim.

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2 Responses to An Even Tougher Road Ahead for Sanders

  1. Doc says:

    I didn’t realize that he might win in Kansas and Nebraska. What is his appeal there? There are only two largish university towns in Kansas (Lawrence and Manhattan) and one in Nebraska (Lincoln) and there are substantial African-American populations in Omaha and Kansas City. And both states are SO conservative . . . (why I moved away when I was 21)!

  2. Katherine H says:

    I’m thinking he’ll win because they’re both caucuses and he does well in caucuses. I wasn’t thinking about the demographics of the states as much as I should have. I should have also considered that Spring Break might mean lower turnout, so his caucus advantage might not hold up.

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