Bernie Sanders has a good chance to win three states on Saturday and then set the scene for a revolutionary contest between himself and rival Hillary Clinton.
The States of Washington, Alaska and Hawaii will vote on Saturday for their Democratic presidential nominee.
Sanders and Clinton both relish the fact of going against a Republican businessman, turned professional politician, and the front-runner for the White House, Donald Trump. There are no Republican contests on Saturday so children can stay up late and watch the telly.
New York Times reports:
Washington, the largest prize of the day with 101 delegates in play, and Alaska, with 16 delegates, are holding caucuses, essentially local voting meetings, the kind of contests where Mr. Sanders has done well. Both states also have relatively low percentages of black and Hispanic voters, two groups that have favored Hillary Clinton this year.
Hawaii Democrats are awarding 25 delegates based on a “presidential preference poll,” a hybrid event in which voters show up at a scheduled meeting, like a caucus, but vote by secret ballot, like a primary.
Republicans are not holding any contests today. The next nominating battle for both parties will be the April 5 primaries in Wisconsin.
Mr. Sanders thrashed Mrs. Clinton in the caucuses in Idaho and Utah on Tuesday, by 57 and 59 percentage points, respectively, and his campaign anticipated similar results Saturday. Mrs. Clinton will have a chance to regain momentum, and a wash of delegates, when the Democratic primary moves to her adoptive home state, New York, on April 19.
“We’ve carried 11 states up to now, and with your help at the caucus on Saturday we’re going to win Washington,” Mr. Sanders told 7,000 people at a rally Thursday in Yakima, Wash., where Yakama Nation tribal dancers performed and supporters stomped their feet and banged on drums. “And if we can do well in Washington, do well in Hawaii, do well in Alaska, we have a road to victory.”
But the realities of the map mean that even a sweep on Saturday may not do much to bridge his divide with Mrs. Clinton, who has 300 more so-called pledged delegates, based on voting, and 400 more “superdelegates,” party leaders and elected officials, than Mr. Sanders.
The string of victories and favorable states for Mr. Sanders can, however, serve an important purpose in keeping his campaign viable, with his newly emboldened supporters continuing to donate online and Mr. Sanders drawing huge crowds like the more than 15,000 people who came out to hear him speak in Seattle on Friday.
Mr. Sanders’s rally on Friday just over the state line in Portland, Ore., went viral after a sparrow perched on the candidate’s podium, prompting the hashtag #BirdieSanders. “I think there may be some symbolism here,” Mr. Sanders said to a roar of applause.
Lately on the campaign trail, Mrs. Clinton, bracing for some losses in the caucus states, seemed to have grown annoyed by the running commentary that Mr. Sanders’s campaign has drawn from more enthusiastic supporters. “I totally respect the passion of my opponent’s supporters, absolutely respect it,” Mrs. Clinton said while campaigning in Washington on Tuesday.
“And here’s what I want you to know,” she continued, “I have, as of now, gotten more votes than anybody else, including Donald Trump. I have gotten 2.6 million more votes than Bernie Sanders” and “have a bigger lead in pledged delegates, the ones you win from people voting, than Barack Obama had at this time in 2008.”
Mrs. Clinton has shifted her focus and her words to taking on the Republicans in November, but Mr. Sanders’s proven influence over liberal voters she would need in a general election has made her calibrate her messages on both domestic and foreign policy.
With Mr. Sanders laser-focused on income inequality and taking on Wall Street, Mrs. Clinton has continued to reach out to working-class voters, including holding a rally on Tuesday at a machinists and aerospace workers union hall at the Boeing factory in Everett, Wash.
“I was made an honorary machinist some years ago, so I feel a particular connection here to my brothers and sisters in the machinists,” she told the crowd. “I am no person new to this struggle. I am not the latest flavor of the month. I have been doing this work day in and day out for years.”
Read more: www.nytimes.com/us/politics/election
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