How Bernie Sanders can still win the nomination

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks the Fort Museum Opera House in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – The results from South Carolina are already coming in, and it is no surprise Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton won. An official delegate count is still unknown. In total, the state offers 53 delegates.

Clinton’s win, no matter how big, will raise questions about the future for Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign. The truth is that Sanders can still win enough delegates from future states to clinch the nomination, but would have to defy poll numbers that show growing support nationwide for Clinton.

Battle for Delegates

The two were tied in delegates before South Carolina: Clinton 51 – Sanders 51.

The difference between the two is the massive support Clinton’s received from superdelegates, which are leaders in the Democratic Party who get an automatic vote in the convention. Four-hundred-and-fifty-three say they will vote for Clinton to a mere 20 who pledge to vote for Sanders. The grand total: 504 to 71. Two-hundred-and-thirty-nine superdelegates remain uncommitted.

These pledges are not binding, and Clinton held a similar advantage over then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008.

Must Wins

South Carolina has 53 delegates that will get divided up among the two candidates. If Clinton were to win every single last one of them, this can still turn into a tight horse race.

On Tuesday March 1, a total of 1,080 delegates are on the table. Sanders would need to dominate states like Minnesota, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Colorado. Plus, widdle away as many votes as he can from Southern states where Clinton is expected to do well.

The big state on Super Tuesday is Texas, which offers 222 delegates. If, Sanders prevents a Clinton-onslaught, he would still need to dominate key states that vote in mid-March like Illinois, Michigan, Florida, and Ohio.

The Polls

An average from several national polls shows Clinton has a large lead over Sanders in almost every state that will vote on Super Tuesday.

Take a look at this breakdown from Real Clear Politics. Each number represents the percentage polls show the candidate is expected to win each state.

Texas – Clinton +26.3

Georgia – Clinton +36.8

Massachusetts – Sanders +0.6

Virginia – Clinton +19.5

Minnesota – Clinton +26

Colorado – Clinton +28

Tennessee – Clinton +23

Alabama – Clinton +28

Arkansas – Clinton +28.5

Oklahoma – Clinton +9

Vermont – Sanders +75

Sanders’ Prediction

Last week, a reporter asked the Vermont Senator to predict the margin of his victory on Super Tuesday.

“I will get more delegates than my opponent,” he said. Sanders bemoaned the media’s obsession with the delegate count.

“You’re asking me to predict how many votes I’m going to get in [11] states. You know what? I don’t know. Nor do you. Nor does anybody else. I will tell you the answer to that on Wednesday, how’s that?” he said.

No one knows exactly how Super Tuesday could play out. However, if you see Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Colorado vote heavily in favor of Clinton, Sanders’ narrow path to victory may finally be closed off.

 

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