Bernie Sanders Wins Alaska and Washington Caucuses

Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democratic presidential candidate from Vermont, won the caucuses in Alaska and Washington on Saturday. He is also hoping to win the caucus in Hawaii.

During a rally in Madison Wisconsin, Sanders said, “We knew from day one that we were going to have a politically hard time in the deep South, which is the conservative part of our party.”

“We also knew things were going to improve as we headed west. Well, we are making major inroads into Secretary Clinton’s lead, and we have, with your support — coming to Wisconsin – we have a path toward victory. It is hard for anybody to deny that our campaign has the momentum.”

Clinton still ahead by around 300 delegates

There are 101 delegates at stake in Washington, 25 delegates in Alaska and 16 delegates in Hawaii. Delegates are awarded proportionately in these states.According to political analysts, Sanders still faces a great challenge to catch Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton in the delegate count.

Clinton is still ahead by around 300 pledged delegates in the race towards achieving the 2,382 delegates required to win the nomination at the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia in July. Clinton has 1,711 delegates including the support of superdelegates compared to 952 delegates for Sanders to date.

Sanders needs to win as much as two-thirds of the remaining delegates to catch Clinton, who continues to collect delegates even if she loses some of the caucuses and primaries. The Democratic Party’s system distributes delegates proportionately in all states.

Sanders ‘victory not enough to derail Clinton from clinching the nomination

Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and a Clinton supporter, commented, “These wins will help him raise more funds for the next few weeks, but I don’t think it changes the overall equation. Hillary Clinton has too big a lead.”

Dan Schnur, director of the Hesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, shared a similar view that Sanders’ victories in small and medium-sized states won’t be enough to derail Clinton from clinching the nomination.

Schnur said, “For all practical purposes, winning states like these are talking points for Sanders. But for what he’s after at this point, talking points might be good enough. In other words, winning Alaska and Hawaii isn’t going to keep Clinton from getting the nomination, but it keeps his supporters enthused; it keeps the money coming in; and allows him to continue having a platform.”

The next Democratic primary will be in Wisconsin on April 5 followed by New York on April 19. A Super Tuesday with Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Maryland will be holding their primaries on April 26.

Sanders believes he could defeat Clinton in Wisconsin. Clinton is expected to win in New York, her home state. Political analysts suggest that she will also do well in the upcoming Super Tuesday.