Are Americans Still ‘Feeling the Bern?’
March 16, 2016
Filed under Local
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Super Tuesday is called “super” for a reason. Out of all the primaries, March 1 alone awards candidates on the Democratic side a total of 862 delegates, the largest chunk given in one day. Winning a majority on Super Tuesday is therefore a strong indicator of a candidate’s chance of nomination. Bernie Sanders, longtime senator of Vermont, suffered heavy hits on March 1 when he won only four of 11 states. After this loss, it is fair to ask: Are Americans still feeling the Bern?
Let us do some delegate math. The modest lead Hillary Clinton had before Tuesday, a mere 61 delegates, grew to a total of 233 following the big day. In a race where all delegates are given on a proportional basis – the Republican race is the only one with winner-takes-all states – the growing gap might become unsurmountable if the trend continues.
Adding to this worry is the superdelegate format the Democrats have. Superdelegates are differentiated from normal delegates by their ability to freely choose who to vote for prior to the nomination, alongside the added liberty of being able to change their minds.
This serves as a double-edged sword for Sanders, who could recapture some of the 465 superdelegates currently pledged to Clinton, or lose them entirely, which sets the true delegate gap after Super Tuesday at 673. From a mathematical perspective, March 1 was not a good day for Sanders.
However, in the aftermath of Super Tuesday, Sanders’ Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver remained optimistic about the future of the campaign.
“We have a winning hand in this game, and… [are] going to continue to play it for a while,” Weaver said. To him, the fact that Clinton’s lead increased was not as important as Sanders’ victories; Sanders was able to win almost all five of the states he originally set out to win. Sanders only lost Massachusetts, by a very close margin.
In Vermont, where Sanders won all the delegates up for grabs on March 1st, residents are enthusiastic and proud of having their senator compete on the national stage.
Miguel Fernandez, the Chief Diversity Officer at the College and a proud Vermonter, is not surprised that Bernie is shaking up the political campaign. In an interview conducted following Super Tuesday, he explained that Sanders’ appeal stems from his character.
“He’s very genuine, he’s himself, [and] he speaks it how it is. There’s no BS with Bernie,” Fernandez said.
Even in Washington, President Obama commented on the authenticity of Sanders’ message. Obama described Sanders as someone with “the virtue of saying exactly what he believes … with great passion … and fearless[ness].”
Will Sanders’ campaign succeed in the near future? It isn’t guaranteed, but it is also not impossible. Currently, the campaign is riding a wave of momentum following a major upset in Michigan six days ago.
As Fernandez noted towards the end of the interview: “Everybody wrote Bernie off before things even started … and then he started to win.”
Ultimately, the 74-year-old senator from Vermont has captured the imagination of thousands, brought out younger voters in drones to election, and still has a chance of possibly pulling off a historical upset in the ongoing nomination.