Bernie Sanders’ push to win California is growing as Tuesday’s primary election nears, with the Vermont senator within inches of pulling off an upset victory over former secretary of state Hillary Clinton that could have ramifications for both parties heading into their upcoming conventions.
Bernie could win all he wants, but the Demonrats won’t ever let him be their nominee.
Clinton holds an overall average of 10.8 points over Sanders, but in California, that average narrows significantly, with Sanders behind Clinton by 4.7 points overall and by just two points in two recent polls, and pulling out over her by one point in a poll on Friday, reports The Hill.
The Sanders camp is pointing to a potential win in the nation’s most populous state as reason to stay in the race, as they believe a victory will encourage superdelegates who now support Clinton to switch their allegiances.
“The truth of the matter is, there are hundreds and hundreds of Clinton’s so-called superdelegates who announced their support for her before there was a race, before we have seen all these recent and consistent polls,” Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver told MSNBC Friday.
“We have the establishment very nervous and that is a good thing,” Sanders declared at a rally late Thursday at the University of California-Davis, which reportedly drew about 9,000 people.
Donald Trump’s campaign is watching as the battle rages on.
Sam Clovis, Trump’s national co-chairman and chief policy adviser, commented to Fox News on Friday that Sanders is “right over her shoulder,” and she’s making a drastic pivot to the left as a result.
Even with a decisive win in California, it’s not likely that Sanders will be able to catch Clinton, as California is not a winner-take-all delegates race and its 475 delegates are awarded proportionally, reports The Hill
Clinton only needs 256 pledged delegates to clinch the nomination, meaning the superdelegates would not really factor in, reports MSNBC. There are 763 pledged delegates still available between now and the Tuesday primaries in California and five other states, meaning Clinton needs to secure just one out of every three delegates.
This means she can secure the nomination even before California’s polls close on Tuesday. But. if Sanders defeats her, Republicans could use her loss to depict her as a flawed general election candidate and Sanders could use the victory to stay in the race through the July convention, forcing Clinton to fight a two-front battle for far longer than she had expected.
Sanders has been campaigning hard in California since May 17, and Clinton has also opted to spend the last few days hitting the state, including with a headline-making speech in San Diego where she slammed Trump over foreign policy.