Flashback to no more than a few days to Friday the 4th of March. Look at what the pundits are saying about Bernie Sanders and his chances of getting the nomination. CNN reporting that Bernie is going to drop out of the race at any moment. Clinton versus Trump for the President is already being discussed as an inevitable and enthralling race. Now come back to the here and now. Since Friday there have been six Democratic party primaries. Clinton as been expected to win most if not all of them. Instead out of those six Bernie Sanders has won four! Kansas, Nebraska, Maine and Michigan have all felt the Bern! All four of these have been impressive victories, however one primary victory in particular is beyond impressive.
A week out from the Michigan primary, a lot of polls had Clinton way ahead. Some polls put Clinton’s lead at between 20 and 25 points. A victory of that magnitude for the Clinton campaign, even the most optimistic Bernie supporter would admit, would have crushed the Sanders’ campaign. Bringing about all but the end of Bernie’s Presidency hopes. However, in one of the biggest polling shocks in American history, Bernie Sanders won Michigan. In most election years Michigan would have been the tightest race of the primaries, as Bernie won by 1.7% of the vote, however the tightest race this year is surely the “virtual tie” in Iowa which Clinton claimed by 0.3% of the vote a the fate of a coin.
But why did Bernie win?
Well Michigan had huge levels of turnout! It broke the record for turnout in a Presidential primary in Michigan since 1972, when 1.9 million people turned up, this time 2.4 million turned up to vote. Some locations even ran out of ballot papers. Also Bernie won 81% of 18 to 29-year-olds, which is the blood of the Sanders’ campaign. Also, possibly most important, Bernie won 71% of independents that voted in this open primary. Bernie also managed to win across the state, not just in focused little pockets.
What does this mean for the rest of the race?
Well the next stage of the Democratic race is Tuesday the 15th of March, when the people of Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio all come out to vote. On the 15th 792 delegates are on offer, most significantly from Florida (246 delegates), Illinois (182 delegates) and Ohio (159 delegates). Although the polls are currently strongly in favor of Clinton in all three of these major states, if Michigan has shown us anything it is that the polls cant be overly trusted when it comes to Sanders. Also with the better part of a week to go, Bernie still has time to change the minds of those voting. With another live debate in Miami, Bernie can again show off his passion and knowledge on the issues effecting all Americans. Bernie also has the momentum, which is one of the most important virtues to hold in primary politics. Bernie will be hoping to make sizable dents of Clinton’s lead in Illinois and Ohio, both states with a similar make up to Michigan.
Then beyond the 15th, Clinton may have less cause for optimism as the southern states, where she has cultivated her lead, will be behind her and will be looking at the northern states in which Bernie will be licking his lips in eagerness. It is not outrageous to say that Clinton’s best days in the race are behind her.