By Scott Galindez
Reader Supported News (3/7/16)
Let’s face it, the reason the Republicans have had better turnout than the Democrats is that the race so far has been fought on their turf. Things will change over the next week as the campaigns head north. Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio are also critical states for Bernie Sanders. He must change the narrative and show that there is still a chance for him to catch Hillary Clinton in pledged delegates. If Clinton expands her map to the rust belt she will be tough to beat.
If Sanders can win in the Midwest, it will be a while before Hillary Clinton finds a map favorable to her. Sanders should dominate the West and if he does, the critical thing called momentum will turn in his favor. The other side of the coin, though, is Bernie’s path narrows if he doesn’t do well over the next week.
I thought both campaigns performed well in the Flint debate. It was a breath of fresh air after the GOP’s Houston debate. I am glad that Bernie will invest in mental health care – there are at least three Republican candidates who need treatment immediately. If you came into the debate supporting either candidate, you still support that candidate. I think they both did a great job reaching out to the undecided voters. Bernie did well on trade and the environment. Hillary scored big points on the auto bailout.
Both campaigns stumbled on race. Their answers were clumsy. Perhaps Bernie had the most to lose, and calling African American neighborhoods “ghettos” won’t help. The Clinton campaign made a big deal about Sanders telling her to wait until he was done speaking a couple of times. To be fair to Bernie, she was interrupting him, something he did not do to her.
The only possible game changer was the auto bailout issue raised by Clinton. I understood Sanders’s response that it was part of the overall bailout for Wall Street, but it remains to be seen if it was clear to Michigan voters.
Tomorrow’s vote could change things for Sanders. A win will show he can win in a diverse state and will send a strong message to Ohio and Illinois. A loss, while not the end of the road, will narrow Bernie’s path significantly.
Sanders was able to announce a big win in Maine and a new fundraising record. He received his 5 millionth contribution on Sunday. Sanders also won Maine by 30 points, garnering 65% of the vote. He needs to win some big states by similar margins to catch Clinton.
The two will square off again Wednesday in Miami, in the lead to the critical March 15th contests in Florida, Ohio, and Illinois.
All in all, the lack of a true game changing moment favors Clinton. She has a significant lead in pledged delegates. There is still a path for Bernie, but it is shrinking.
(Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.)