DEMOCRATIC RACE UPDATE: Bernie Gains Momentum While Clinton Maintains Delegate Lead


After the March 8th primaries, Hillary Clinton continues to hang on to her status as the front-runner in the 2016 Democratic Primaries, with 770 pledged delegates to Bernie Sanders’ 551. This gives her a current delegate advantage of 219 over Bernie Sanders. She maintains a clear, but far from comfortable, lead against the Vermont Senator after the first 22 state primaries and caucuses, indicating that Sanders will, at the very least, go the distance until the convention in Philadelphia.

Despite the Sanders upset in Michigan, in which the Vermont Senator defeated the former Secretary of State against overwhelming odds in the Wolverine State, Clinton still came away last night with the most pledged delegates. Her stunning victory in Mississippi, with 83 percent of the vote, gives her 28 delegates from the Magnolia State, with Sanders only taking one.

In Michigan however, Sanders came away with 50% of the vote to Clinton’s 48%, giving Sanders 63 hard-fought and much needed pledged delegates to Clinton’s 52. The final tally thus comes out to 80 for Clinton and 64 for Sanders, or 55.6% to 44.4% respectively.

Even though the numbers themselves clearly give Clinton the advantage after last night, more than half of the primaries remain. Sanders has proven this month, more than anything, that his two greatest allies at the moment are time and turnout. The more time that he can buy with every crucial, unexpected victory, the more acquainted voters will become with his message as each state outside of Clinton’s southern stronghold casts their votes.

It should be noted that Sanders has scored his biggest victories so far when turnout was high, and Michigan’s turnout last night shattered their previous record from 1972. For Clinton, unfortunately, her greatest victories have tended to rely on states where turnout was lower than 2008, particularly in the South. This trend indicates that Clinton will need to inspire a greater amount of enthusiasm among her voting base if she hopes to overcome Sanders in states where turnout might be higher. Given the unpredictability of the voter turnout patterns this year, it is not really possible to determine where exactly this should be expected.

Super-delegates do not cast their vote until the convention, so this analysis will exclude them, going against a common but lazy trend in election reporting that often misleads the public and panics some potential voters into believing their vote doesn’t matter. It does very well matter, so get out and vote.

The next set of primaries will come about on March 15th. According to recent polls by Quinnipiac University, Clinton is ahead in two crucial states being held that day. In the state of Florida, the former Secretary leads the Senator by 20 points. In Ohio, her lead is down to 9.

If the wildly inaccurate polling in Michigan was any indication, however, there is very little reason to place too much faith in these numbers at this current point in time. It must be noted that many of the states that are up for grabs in March share similar demographics to Michigan. This ensures that we are likely in for a real nail-biter next week, leaving virtually every living, breathing being alive with no way of knowing how things will really play out.

All that can be said is, if you plan on sitting out the elections in any of these states next week, you are guaranteed to be missing a tremendous opportunity to make your voice heard, whoever you support.

Featured image via Flickr, under a Creative Commons license.