MILWAUKEE, April 5, 2016 – Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin eating away at Clinton’s delegate lead and continuing his winning streak. Not long after his victory, Sanders tweeted that Wisconsin had sent a “strong message: when we stand together there is nothing we cannot accomplish.”
Sanders has won six of the past seven contests. Jeff Weaver, says it’s proof the candidate can still close the gap in pledged delegates, which stood at 263 entering Tuesday’s primary, according to the Associated Press. Weaver told CNN Tuesday that he believes the battle will continue until the party’s nominating convention in July. Democratic strategists are more skeptical. Democrats do not award delegates on a winner-take-all basis, making it difficult for underdogs to overcome large deficits. Sanders would have to win big primary states, such as New York and California, by large margins in order to catch Clinton.
Despite Sanders string of wins, Sanders has only won two primaries with more than 60% support. Whatever the outcome in Wisconsin, and New York, which holds its primary on April 19, the forecast remains the same: The race is likely to wrap up in June, when California voters head to the polls. On Monday night, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook released a memo titled “The Facts on Where the Race Stands.”
In it, he says Clinton has “built a nearly insurmountable lead among both delegates and actual voters.” Since Clinton has 2.5 million more votes than Sanders, superdelegates who back him would be going against the will of the voters, said Mook. Clinton took some shots at Sanders, particularly on his plan to provide free college tuition and his vote in 2005 to provide legal immunity for gun manufacturers. The Clinton campaign is betting that Sanders is especially vulnerable on the gun issue in New York, which tightened its laws in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Clinton is having to fight harder and longer than she’d planned to seal the nomination. Even as the race moves to New York, a state that she hoped to carry by a large margin, the race will be tight, said Dan Gerstein, director of Gotham Ghostwriters and an independent political analyst in New York City. Yet a closer-than-expected race does not translate into an upset, and Democrats are citing the 2008 Democratic race as proof that Clinton is not in any real danger.