Sanders and Supporters Celebrate 'Momentum' Following Triple Win

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke to a crowd of more than 8,000 Saturday evening in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo: Amber Arnold/ State Journal)

Sanders and Supporters Celebrate 'Momentum' Following Triple Win

"This year’s Democratic race is far from finished."

After handily winning Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii on Saturday, Sanders is closing in on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and he says he has the "momentum" to seal the deal.

"We've won the last five out of six contests, all of them in landslide victories," the Vermont senator said on CNN on Sunday, referring also to wins in Utah and Idaho last week.

Sanders gained 45 pledged delegates, bringing his current total to 975, inching closer to Clinton's 1,243. And while the former secretary of State claims the support of 469 superdelegates, Sanders predicts that some of those party elites may change their mind if he keeps notching up such impressive wins.

"I think their people are going to say to them, look, why don't you support the people of our state, vote Bernie Sanders," Sanders said.

"I think when they begin to look at the reality," Sanders said, pointing to repeated polling which has shown Sanders fairing better in match-ups against the Republican frontrunner, "a lot of these superdelegates may rethink their position for Secretary Clinton. A lot of them have not yet declared."

"I think every vote is pivotal," he continued. "We are now winning state after state with the Latino vote. We're doing extraordinarily well with young people, and we do think we have a path toward victory."

Looking forward to the April 5th contest in Wisconsin, where the candidate celebrated his victories on Saturday, "team Sanders is hopeful it can pull off an upset," writes the Guardian's Lucia Graves.

"After all," she continues, "Sanders won handily in the neighboring states of Michigan and Minnesota (the former came as a big surprise). And Wisconsin in particular, with its reputation as a sort of cradle for the labor movement, plays in no small measure to Sanders' strengths."

The "path the victory" also includes New York on April 19, where the Sanders campaign is making "a real run" for the state's 291 pledged delegates, as Sanders' chief strategist Ted Devine recently put it, as well as a good showing on April 26 when 253 delegates from four east coast states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island) are up for grabs.

On Sunday, Sanders challenged Clinton to a debate in New York. In a letter to Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver wrote that the state "will play a critical role in determining the Democratic nominee" and questioned why the Secretary refuses to debate "before the people who twice elected her to the U.S. Senate."

Contemplating the possibility of a Sanders upset, the New Yorker's John Cassidy noted Sunday that "the Sanders campaign is an impressive phenomenon, and in states like New York and California it is still growing."

Cassidy continued:

While out shopping on Third Avenue in Brooklyn yesterday, I came across hundreds of Sanders supporters, almost all of them young, who had gathered to mark the opening of a local campaign office. The candidate was thousands of miles away in Wisconsin, and the results from the Western states were still hours away, but a large crowd of his followers had given up their Saturday mornings to express their support for him.

And as The Nation's John Nichols wrote on Sunday, "This year's Democratic race is far from finished."

"Sanders still faces an uphill climb," Nichols continued, "and most pundits will continue to dismiss his prospects. But the recent pattern of wins had a key Sanders backer, Working Families Party National Director Dan Cantor, declaring on Saturday night, 'The Sanders campaign has taken a big bite out of the delegate gap. Today's results should quiet the critics who claim that Bernie can't win. It's pretty clear he can.'"

"He still can't argue the math is on his side; it isn't," added Graves. "But there's a good case to be made that enthusiasm really is. If enthusiasm is contagious - and the Sanders variety does show signs of that - that means time may well be on his side. No wonder he keeps trying to run out the clock."

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