Sen. Bernie Sanders suggested on Sunday that his campaign’s path to the Democratic nomination involves winning by a large margin in California and flipping delegates.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, I know you hope to win here in New York. Polls show you behind right now.
The question I has this, is do you really have a viable path forward going if you do not win here in New York?
You’d have to win all the remaining states by huge, huge —
SANDERS: But this is — this is — the answer’s we do have a viable role. And, no, that’s not quite our — we have to win by huge — you know, the California, which is a very large state and we could pick up a lot of delegates there. And I hope, by the way, we’re going to do better than the polls indicate here.
I think a lot of the delegates, both pledge delegates and super delegates, are looking at one very important fact: turns out that Hillary Clinton is not all that strong a candidate running against Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich. In poll after poll, nationally and in statewide polls, we do a lot better than Clinton does against Trump, against Kasich and against Cruz.
I think a lot of people are saying, well, I may not like Bernie as much as I like Hillary. But at the end of the day, we must defeat Trump. We must not allow a Republican to get into the White House. Some of those people who will come over to us as the stronger candidate.
Notice that Sanders didn’t mention New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey or any of the other upcoming states while discussing his path forward. It is becoming clear that the Sanders campaign is hoping for a big win in California that will deny Hillary Clinton the number of delegates that she needs to clinch the Democratic nomination. If Sanders can keep Clinton under the magic number, then he can go to the superdelegates and try to convince them to flip.
Sanders is hoping that the argument that he does better than Trump in hypothetical general election polls will be enough to get delegates to change their minds. If Hillary Clinton wins by double-digits in New York, a narrow California only strategy may be the last hope of Sen. Sanders. The problem for Sen. Sanders is that winning isn’t enough. He needs to win by huge margins, and he has yet to show the ability to win by a huge margin in a closed Democratic primary.
Sen. Sanders has millions of supporters, and he shouldn’t give up the fight, but his answer on his campaign’s path forward suggests that his options are increasingly limited. Without some big wins in upcoming closed primaries, it will be California or bust for Bernie Sanders.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association