Sanders Picks Up Delegates But Faces Uphill Battle

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Sanders picked up 16 more delegates than Clinton on Tuesday night, but faces an uphill battle to the nomination, says RootsAction.org Co-Founder Norman Solomon.

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JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

U.S. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump swept to victory in Arizona on March 22. But rival Ted Cruz showed some fight with the win in Utah that gave hope to establishment Republicans. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton defeated challenger Bernie Sanders in Arizona, but Sanders won contests in Utah and Idaho, bolstering his case that he still has a chance despite Clinton’s big lead.

Here to help us break down the significance of these primaries is our guest, Norman Solomon. He’s the co-founder of RootsAction.org, and he joins us now from Germany. Thank you so much for being with us, Norman.

NORMAN SOLOMON: Hey, it’s a pleasure.

DESVARIEUX: So, Norman, with Hillary’s big win in Arizona many are doing the math involved in accumulating the delegates needed for a Democrat to win the nomination and coming to the conclusion that Bernie Sanders won’t be able to get enough delegates. Let’s break down the numbers for our viewers, here. Is Bernie still in this race after Tuesday’s results?

SOLOMON: Well, it’s an uphill race for Bernie, but he’s definitely still in it. You know, it requires about 2,400 delegates to win the nomination at the convention, and Hillary Clinton’s about halfway there with 1,200. Bernie’s about 300 delegates behind. I think it’s important to note that there are some big states still out there, California, New York. And a lot of states that would be favorable towards Bernie as well, such as, say, Oregon or Washington State. So it remains to be seen how this plays out.

The news media, the corporate media, love to horse race. They seem to be much more interested in calculating the odds and dealing with the issues of healthcare, education, housing, poverty, Wall Street, perpetual war, which Hillary Clinton is very much part of and an advocate for, in effect. So I think it’s important that we look at the possibilities, and also recognize that even though it’s a very uphill battle for Bernie it’s still possible. And no matter what, it’s important to get the maximum number of Bernie delegates to the National Democratic Convention when July comes around.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. There are going to be some folks who say it’s possible, but it’s certainly not probable. We’re sort of at this halfway mark, and Hillary has won the first half of the process with about 57 percent of the vote. And she’s a large lead in delegates, 300 lead, some would say that is quite significant.

But how much would Sanders have to win by in the second half, in these big states that you mention, for him to be viable?

SOLOMON: Well, I’ve seen calculations that he’d have to come in about 60 percent in this two-person race at this point. And clearly he is able to do that in some states. He just did it in a couple of them, Utah and Idaho, which we don’t particularly think of as progressive states. So he shows it can be done. At the same time, it’s very tough to do that, especially in big media markets such as the states of New York and California. But it remains to be seen what kind of grassroots power could have impact.

DESVARIEUX: All right, Norman. I want to pivot to an interesting piece in the Huffington Post by attorney and professor Seth Abramson of the University of New Hampshire, Manchester. He argues that early voting has been the stimulus really driving the Clinton campaign, and his analysis found that on election day Sanders tends to tie or beat Clinton when early votes are not taken into consideration. Norman, what’s the significance of this type of analysis?

SOLOMON: Well, I think it shows that Bernie is closing strong in one election after another. It also may be a function of the fact that he does incredibly well with young people, who I would surmise are less likely to put a ballot in the mail many weeks ahead of time. It also shows that there is a momentum factor. But again, Hillary Clinton is ahead, so it’s quite a catch up challenge.

DESVARIEUX: And there was also a recent CNN poll, it shows sort of the Clinton-Trump matchup versus the Bernie-Trump matchup. And Clinton leads Trump by ten points, where Bernie would defeat Trump by 15 points. What do you make of the impact of this kind of information, and how that could affect upcoming primary races?

SOLOMON: Well, publicity about such polls, I think, could help to undercut the meme that the Clinton and pro-Clinton media forces have put out for, gee, the last year, that Hillary Clinton is a much stronger candidate against Republicans than Bernie would be. At the same time, I think these calculations are basically hard to parse, and the ultimate strength of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders against the Republican in November, that’s an imponderable. You really don’t know what will happen when the right-wing crazies from the Republican party go after Clinton, or Bernie. And they’ve been doing it against Clinton for a long time. Haven’t really bothered to attack Bernie.

So to me it’s sort of a crapshoot, hard to say who would be stronger. I think the point, in a sense, should keep coming back to the fact that we don’t know, I believe, we don’t know whether Bernie or Hillary Clinton would do better against the Republican in the general election. We do know that Bernie would be a much better president. He’s a genuine progressive. Hillary is a pro-war corporate [plant].

DESVARIEUX: All right. Norman Solomon, joining us from Germany there. Thank you so much for being with us.

SOLOMON: Thank you.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.

End

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