We are now at Peak Bern

We are now at Peak Bern


Hillary should finally start to gather momentum after Bernie’s last boost

It’s a measure of how weak a candidate Hillary Clinton is that not only has she failed to swat away Bernie Sanders’ challenge for the nomination but three-fifths of the way through she’s still conceding ground to the septuagenarian socialist.

Normally, by this stage in the race, one candidate is dominant and the money and coverage will have dried up for the rest. Instead, Sanders has won seven of the last eight contests and has closed the gap in the national polls to just 2.5% according to the Huffington Post average. Of course, the national average doesn’t count for all that much – those delegates already assigned from earlier contests are hardwired into the election (give or take state conventions and the like), and the rest will depend on the opinion in the states to come.

And on that point, there’ve been three clear trends. Sanders wins caucuses and where the electorate is white and rural; Clinton wins primaries and where the electorate has large black and urban elements. Of those last eight, only Wisconsin (a primary) went even slightly against those trends.

But Sanders should now have reached his zenith. For all that he has the momentum with him in the national polls, Clinton still remains ahead (just). More pertinently, the 600+ delegates available later this month all come in closed or semi-closed primaries and mostly in states that should lean to Hillary.

Assuming that she can make good there, that will reverse the media narrative. Bernie’s fightback will be over and political reality will reassert itself: Hillary’s modest lead in elected delegates and overwhelming lead in superdelegates becomes ever more impregnable with each state win. Actually, her lead’s been sufficient to assure her of the nomination for a month or so (barring accidents), but that fact has jarred when set against Sanders’ good run so hasn’t been given much attention. New York and the April 26 contests give her the very strong chance to bring her dominant position into alignment with current events. Sanders will no doubt fight on – perhaps all the way to the convention – but it’ll be seen to be increasingly futile.

The journey’s been an arduous one for Clinton, far more so than it should have been, but she’s finally crested the pass of Peak Bern and barring accidents will splutter on to the nomination.

David Herdson

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