What’s Next for Hillary?

 

After a loss in Indiana last night to Bernie Sanders, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton still has a very wide delegate lead which still makes her the favorite Democratic nomination.

According to the National Press, election results late Tuesday showed Sanders leading Clinton with almost 53 percent to 47 percent of the vote. In the all-important delegate count that translates to Sanders picking up at least 43 of the 83 pledged delegates at stake, however, Clinton took at least 37, according to an AP tally.

From this point forward, Clinton could lose any one of the dozen remaining Democratic contests by more than 20 or more points and still have a majority of the pledged delegates.

Clinton’s loss to Sanders in Indiana does not come as much of a surprise. Most of the polls showed the Democratic front-runner only slightly in front of Sanders, not to mention he ran television ads in Indiana, where his opponent did not.

Sanders rallied huge support of both men and women while Clinton favored well with black voters who make up 17 percent of the Democratic vote in Indiana.  Sanders gained strong support from younger voters which is 72 percent of people between the ages of 17-29. Clinton gained the support from the older voters, or 60 percent of people over the age of 65.

While rallying in Indiana, Sanders struck a nerve with the Hoosier state when he criticized free trade agreements that he argues, forced manufacturing jobs to leave the United States. He also called for a $15 minimum wage and a wide-open public health care system.

This month is likely to bring Sanders additional wins in a string of primaries in Nebraska, West Virginia, Oregon and Kentucky. The prospect of more Sanders victories echoes the 2008 Democratic primary, where like the Vermont senator, Clinton won several contests late in the calendar but was unable to catch then-Sen. Barack Obama, who built an early lead.

According to USA Today, Clinton went into Tuesday’s contest with a 300 pledged delegates lead, with a support of 520 superdelegates.

After Indiana, Clinton’s count (both delegate and superdelegate), was at 2,165 and Sanders was at 1,357 and 2,838 delegate votes is what a candidate needs to win the Democratic nomination.  Losing Indiana, Clinton understands, was a big loss not from the delegate side but from an optics standpoint. Had she won Indiana on the same night that Donald Trump became the GOP presumptive nominee, it would have put added pressure on Sanders to step aside or at the very least tone down his attacks.

For Clinton, her focus remains on what she described as an “assault” on human rights that have played out across the country. She strongly exclaimed her position on fighting for marriage equality, reproductive health rights for women, workers’ rights, and the rights of all minorities.

The former Secretary of State has turned her focus away from Sanders and on Trump as the two get ready for a general election battle. Sanders will continue to run out the string all the way to the end.

It looks like Clinton will have to wait till June 7th when she is likely to win both New Jersey and California to seal the nomination. Sanders and his aides acknowledged last night, it was virtually impossible for him to overtake her lead in pledged delegates, the type chosen by voters.

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Instead, they said he would work to win over super delegates, party leaders who can vote for whomever they like and who currently favor Clinton by a wide margin.

But Sanders will have a tough time pulling that off since he has spent most of his political career as an Independent. While, he caucuses with the Democrats, Clinton has campaigned and raised money for candidates who are in states that went for Sanders, so his goal to turn the superdelegates to back him is something that is not likely to happen.

Another problem Sanders faces is his lack of minority backing, Clinton leads him by huge double digit amounts among both Hispanic and Black voters. She also has him beat on the women side of the voting ledger.

A last look at the Indiana exit polls shows, Sanders dominated among young and independent voters, Clinton was strong among older voters, black voters and the states small but active Hispanic community. Sanders advisers end game will be to press the senator’s progressive agenda at the party’s national convention in Philadelphia this summer.

It remains to be seen if Sanders would join Clinton on the general campaign trail but that remains to be seen. In 2008 many thought Clinton and Obama would never get together, the age old adage – Never say never in politics.

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