The Sanders Argument: He Doesn't Have To Win, To Win

When my doorbell rang early on Saturday afternoon, the first thought was that we had ordered Seamless for lunch. Then I heard: “Philip, Bernie Sanders’ people want to talk to you downstairs.” I was surprised, a bit confused, and very intrigued.

What ensued was a short conversation with two 28-year-olds who tried to convince me to vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the New York primaries, coming up on April 19.

“Are you going to vote in the New York primary?” My response was equivocating. I would definitely vote in the general election, but as far as the New York primary goes, my assumption was the Democratic state primary was pretty much sewed up for its former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The short encounter showed first-hand that the Sanders campaign is seriously fighting for every delegate even on Secretary Hillary Clinton’s home turf. It also illustrated the strong youth support the Vermont Senator attracts to his cause.



“Momentum” was used multiple times by the canvassers, and after Saturday’s results in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii, Senator Sanders has it in droves. The wins were by huge margins, but reflect the varied support for the two Democratic candidates across the country. Clinton wins by similar margins in Southern and Midwest states.

The delegate count remains heavily skewed in Clinton’s favor, mostly due to her huge lead among super delegates -- unpledged delegates who can pick a candidate even before their states have voted for a nominee. Sanders hopes to change some of those super delegates’ minds before the Philadelphia convention in July.

The Vermont Senator has the funds to keep his campaign active. Supporters do their best to instill the little nuggets of possibility that the canvassers did their best to implant in my political libido.

Politico explains that the unexpected success of Zephyr Teachout, the primary gubernatorial challenger to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, points to the mobilization of the progressive left. Whether Sanders can actually win the New York primary (FiveThirtyEight gives him a 24.3% chance of doing so) is doubtful, but he doesn’t actually need to win in order to “win.”

Someone close to the Clinton campaign told Politico: “They’re very worried about a Zephyr Teachout situation. The left is very mobilized. In New York [for Clinton], it’s not just about winning. They have to win 65 to 35.”

Clinton is far and away most likely to end up as the Democratic nominee. This doesn't mean, however, that the progressive left cannot make huge gains in 2016 and motivate young politicians to take up the mantle going forward.

2 comments about "The Sanders Argument: He Doesn't Have To Win, To Win".
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  1. Scott Gerschwer from Topstone Marketing, March 30, 2016 at 12:53 p.m.

    But Bernie can win. Counting SuperDelegates as a done deal is foolish, as although they don't have to switch, they can--and likely will--once the people have spoken. Bernie can win California and NY and prove that he is winning the Blue States while HRC won the Red States--states she will not win come November. The logic is clear: vote for who you think will do their best to change what needs to be changed for the middle class. That is all one can ask. Don't handicap, don't try to pick the person you think will win. Pick the best candidate. It is Bernie. Brooklyn tough, U of Chicago smart, Vermont cool and DC savvy. 

  2. Tom Baer from TBI, March 30, 2016 at 10:37 p.m.

    If you want people to invest time in reading your articles, please include something new, different, or isightful in the future.  Thank you.

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