“We are going to take our fight for economic justice, for social justice, for environmental sanity, for a world of peace” to all 50 states, says Sanders.Having notched Super Tuesday victories in Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont, the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign says it’s “going all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and beyond.”
The results in the 11 states that voted March 1, seven of which went to Hillary Clinton, widened the former secretary of state’s delegate lead against Sanders and reinforced her support among minority voters. Some even suggested that Clinton’s solid Super Tuesday performance would increase pressure on Sanders to drop out of the race.
But at a rally Tuesday night with more than 4,000 supporters in his home state of Vermont—where he won resoundingly with 86 percent of the vote—and in a statement Wednesday morning, Sanders stressed his determination to carry his message to voters in all 50 states.
“At the end of tonight, 15 states will have voted, 35 states remain,” he told the crowd in Burlington, where he once served as mayor. “And let me assure you, we are going to take our fight for economic justice, for social justice, for environmental sanity, for a world of peace to every one of those states.”
“People should not underestimate us,” Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver added in an email to supporters late Tuesday night.
“By winning four states last night, including the general election swing state of Colorado, and many delegates, Bernie Sanders has shown that this campaign to take on a rigged political system and economy is gaining momentum,” declared Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action. “There are still more than forty primaries and caucuses to go and MoveOn members are excited to continue to mobilize to support Bernie and turn out the progressive vote. Your zip code should not determine if your primary vote matters or not.”
Meanwhile, even Clinton’s narrow victory in Massachusetts was painted as a partial win for Sanders.
Clinton “was made a better candidate thanks to Bernie Sanders engaging her in a race to the top on popular economic populism issues like debt-free college, expanding Social Security, and jailing Wall Street bankers who break the law,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), in a statement Wednesday.
There’s no denying that Sanders faces an uphill climb. “Democrats award delegates proportionally, which means Sanders would need to win by big margins in the remaining states to catch up,” Harry Enten wrote at FiveThirtyEight.
Still, John Nichols wrote at The Nation on Wednesday, “Sanders won more states from Clinton in the Democratic contests on Super Tuesday than the combined efforts of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio won from Donald Trump in the far more intensely covered Republican contest.”
“That,” he continued, “to borrow a phrase from Sanders, was ‘pretty good’—especially considering the fact that the Super Tuesday map was always seen as favoring Clinton.”
If he hopes to level things out, Sanders must broaden his appeal to African-American and Latino voters, who will be a factor in many of the states where he must win in the weeks to come. He must also recognize that Clinton’s pivot to a focus on fighting Trump is an example of not just smart but necessary, politics. Democratic primary and caucus voters want to hear about issues – especially the economic-and-social justice issues that have animated the Sanders campaign — but they also want to be reassured that their party’s nominee will have a message and a strategy that is sufficient to see off Donald Trump. Right now, Clinton is doing a very good job of providing that assurance – and it is helping her to have some very super Tuesdays.
To that very end, top Sanders strategists reportedly held a press briefing Wednesday morning highlighting Sanders’ electability against Trump.
“The political revolution has begun,” Sanders himself said Wednesday. “I look forward to a contest this fall between democracy and demagoguery, between ordinary Americans and the oligarchs. I look forward to the chance for our people-powered campaign to show Donald Trump that the United States of America belongs to all of us and not just billionaire bullies.”
The Democrats will face off in two debates over the next 10 days, including one Sunday in Flint, Michigan. Earlier this year, Sanders called on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to resign for his administration’s failure to deal with a lead-poisoning crisis that has sickened thousands of children in that city.
This post first appeared in Common Dreams.