Monday, March 7, 2016

Sunday's Primary Motivations

To his credit, Bernie Sanders did win Maine's Democratic Caucus on Sunday by a solid margin, 64-36% over Hillary Clinton.

The Vermont senator's victory is his third of the weekend, along with wins in Kansas and Nebraska on Saturday, and his eighth state overall.

Sanders had courted the state's voters aggressively, while Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton had not made an appearance in the state since September. Both have counted on surrogates, with actress Susan Sarandon campaigning for Sanders, and Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan on Tuesday for Clinton.

Sanders has done well in states with largely white populations — like Maine — but has struggled among non-white voters, especially across the South.

Maine awards its 25 Democratic delegates on a proportional basis. As of Sunday morning, Clinton was leading Sanders by more than 200 pledged delegates, a margin that will narrow after Maine's are apportioned. When superdelegates are added to Clinton's total, she holds a commanding lead of more than 600 total delegates.

In a statement, Sanders thanked Maine's voters and claimed "momentum" heading into upcoming contests in Michigan and Mississippi on March 8.

So yes, Bernie will narrow Clinton's delegate lead a bit, but she still will lead by more than 200 delegates.  And unless Sanders starts winning states like Michigan and Mississippi this week, he's not going to close that gap.  Recent poll averages show Clinton winning Michigan by 20 points and Mississippi by more than 40 points, as well as 18-point-plus margins in states on March 15th, so I'm not seeing how that 200 delegate edge does anything but grow too large for Sanders to make up.  Maine may very well be his last significant win.

On the GOP side yesterday, Marco Rubio won Puerto Rico by like 60 points, so surely he's got the nomination wrapped up.  Surely.

If that margin is sustained, Rubio would top the 50-percent threshold needed to win all 23 of Puerto Rico's delegates. It would still leave him a distant third in his party's delegate chase. Rubio's previous victory was in Minnesota on March 1. He's under pressure from opponents to drop out of the White House race if he fails to win the Florida primary on March. 15.

So how's that going?  Surely the savior of the GOP can win his home state, where he's a sitting US Senator, correct?

Oh.  Well then.  Trump nearing an outright majority.

That should go over well.

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