Analysis: Can Sanders Regain Momentum Post-Super Tuesday?
Despite his unprecedented fundraising machine, the Vermont senator has a long way to go to catch up to Clinton
By Lucas Pringle
Published at 5:15 p.m. EST
Despite the massive grassroots campaign surrounding Bernie Sanders, one that has taken him from unknown candidate to a serious threat to Hillary’s campaign, he will require a few big wins tonight to keep him in contention in the race for the Democrat Nominee. Bernie’s appeal, similar in vein to Donald Trump’s, has been of anti-establishment populism. This platform has won him a substantial slice of the Democrat base, with 84% of the youth vote in Iowa going to him, yet it has failed to translate into substantial wins against Hillary Clinton.
As the underdog, anti-establishment candidate, Bernie has always needed a series of major victories against Clinton to stop her campaign in its tracks. The first caucus in Iowa showed a worrying sign to both the Clinton and Sanders Campaign, with Hillary inching ahead by a few percentage points. While many considered it to be a massive win for the underdog Bernie, it was simply not enough to halt the power of the Clinton Campaign. The Nevada Caucus proved this, with Hillary beating Bernie yet again, this time by 5%.
New Hampshire was the first, and so far only, win for Bernie, in which he gained 60% of the vote. Many however have pointed to the proximity of New Hampshire to Vermont, and its distinct lack of racial diversity, as the justification for the surprise win. This seemed to be proved in diverse South Carolina, in which Hillary won nearly 75% of the vote, beating Bernie by almost 50 full points. Such a disheartening result has led many Sanders supported worries in the lead up to Super Tuesday. The loss in South Carolina showed Bernie’s key problem in his appeal to minority voters. Bernie won just 16% of the black vote, a group that will become more prominent as the race moves south for Super Tuesday.
The 865 total delegates on offer today will not decide the race, but without a substantial win to regain momentum lost in South Carolina, Bernie Sanders may not stand a chance of beating the Clinton Campaign. While the race has constantly defied predictions and pundits alike, the polls do seem to show a victory for Hillary in a majority of states. In Colorado, Minnesota and Vermont Bernie can expect victories, but the remaining 9 states will represent a challenge for the Sanders campaign, with polls indicating a Hillary win.
If Bernie manages to defy the polls in a substantial number of states he may be able to claw back the momentum that has been lost to Hillary earlier in the race. This prospect seems to be unlikely however, and most likely tonight will see Hillary pulling further ahead of the Vermont senator, and possibly cementing her lead in the race.