Bernie Sanders won two caucuses tonight, both resoundingly. In Washington State, he leads Hillary Clinton 72-28. In Alaska, it’s even more one-sided. Sanders is getting 81 percent of the vote up there.
Hawaii is also holding its caucuses tonight. Sanders is expected to win that contest, as well.
Washington will send 101 delegates to the Democratic convention. Hawaii and Alaska will send 25 and 16, respectively.
As I understand it, each state will award delegates proportionally, so the Vermont socialist won’t get all 142. However, he will get most of them, thereby cutting into Clinton’s lead of around 300 pledged delegates.
Notwithstanding tonight’s setback, Clinton is virtually guaranteed the nomination. That’s because her lead among all delegates — pledged and unpledged — is thought to exceed 700.
There is much speculation as to whether Sanders voters, who are being hosed by the delegate selection process, will turn out to vote for Clinton in November. To say that many of them are unenthusiastic about the former First Lady seems like an understatement.
It’s doubtful that, left to her own devices, Clinton could fully overcome the enthusiasm gap. Unfortunately, if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, he will bridge it for her. Fear and loathing of the fat-cat will unite Democrats behind Clinton and drive Sanders’ supporters to the polls.
This isn’t just a matter of intuition. Clinton is crushing Trump in the polls. She leads him by double-digits in five of the six most recent head-to-head surveys.
Some argue that Trump and Sanders are drawing from the same well of discontent over our “broken” and “rigged” system. There may be a grain of truth to this, but when I watch the two men’s rallies I don’t see much commonality.
Instead, the obvious commonality is between white Obama supporters, circa 2008, and Sanders supporters. Trump’s appeal to the leftist “hope and change” crowd is, from all that appears, virtually non-existent. Indeed, this cohort almost certainly is universally appalled by the vulgar tycoon.
In November, that sentiment will drive them to the polls where, albeit unenthusiastically, they will vote en masse for Hillary.