Sanders again exceeds expectations, this time in Wisconsin


Hillary Clinton’s backers keep announcing that she has the Democratic presidential nomination in the bag. But Bernie Sanders keeps shrinking her lead.

Sanders has won seven of the last eight Democrat primaries, all with significantly bigger percentages than the polls and pundits predicted: Democrats Abroad (69%), Idaho (78%), Utah (79%), Alaska (82%), Hawaii (70%), Washington (73%) and (now) Wisconsin (57%).

There are 1977 pledged delegates still in play at coming primaries, and at present Sanders is 249 delegates behind in the pledged delegates count (1027 to 1279). This means that he has to win an average of five delegates to Clinton’s four in the remaining contests. It might sound a hard ask until you realise Bernie has gotten almost double Clinton in the last eight contests: 236 delegates to Clinton’s 126. [This total includes Arizona, which Clinton won by 42 delegates to 33.]

Some of the coming primaries might not be so good for Sanders because of demographic factors (while improving his vote among Black people he is still doing worse than Clinton), or because of the nature of the primaries (some are “closed” to voters registered as independents, who tend to favour Sanders).

New York is the next big challenge, with Sanders behind in the opinion polls by




, depending on which poll aggregator you read. But Sanders’ result on election day is commonly way better than the opinion polls have indicated, thanks to effective campaigning with a message that resonates. In Wisconsin the polls had Sanders winning by

less than 3%

: he won by 13% yesterday.

There was an upbeat mood at Bernie’s rally in Wyoming yesterday, with huge cheers when he announced the victory in Wisconsin. He talked about the campaign’s “momentum” and how it was drawing in new people, particularly young people.

One of Sander’s campaign themes – making the super-rich pay their fair share of tax – got a big boost when the Panama papers revealed how the 1% escaped tax by channeling their assets through foreign trusts to tax havens.

It’s difficult to predict the precise outcome of the Democrat presidential nomination race. But whatever happens Bernie has built around him a mass movement of people challenging the plutocrats who run the country. That is the prime reason why Hillary Clinton and her rich backers want him to drop out of the race now.