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Bernie Needs 2 Things to Happen Tuesday

Politico: Sanders has to avoid a blowout in Michigan and probably win in Washington state
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2020 10:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's not quite Super Tuesday all over again, but the stakes are nonetheless high for Bernie Sanders in the day's voting. All eyes are on Michigan in particular, including Sanders' own. The AP notes he has made five campaign stops across the state since Friday, even canceling a trip to Mississippi, where Joe Biden is heavily favored. Why the focus? Because Michigan has the potential to revive Sanders' campaign or conversely "relegate him to the role of protest candidate," write Will Weissert and Alexandra Jaffe. Coverage:

  • The states: A total of 352 delegates are at stake in six states: Michigan (125), followed by Washington (89), Missouri (68), Mississippi (36), Idaho (20), and North Dakota (14). The first polls close at 8pm ET, the last at 11pm ET.

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  • Deja vu? Polls point to a blowout win for Biden in Michigan. But as coverage at Vox and elsewhere points out, the 2016 polls had Sanders losing by a landslide to Hillary Clinton in the state—and yet he stunned everyone by winning. "Anybody else getting deja vu?" tweeted Monmouth University polling director Patrick Murray. It's of huge consequence, because if Sanders loses badly this year in the state, his possible path to the nomination shrinks considerably, writes Cameron Peters.
  • 2 things: An analysis at Politico by Maya King suggests Sanders needs two things to happen Tuesday to remain a viable candidate: He has to avoid a blowout in Michigan (these are not winner-take-all races) and he "likely" has to win in Washington state, where he routed Clinton in 2016. The latter is a mail-in state, and it could take days to know the final results.
  • Sanders' problem: Yes, the Michigan polls could conceivably be wrong again, but Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight points out that Sanders' "strengths this year have been concentrated among younger progressives and Hispanics, and neither group is plentiful in Michigan." The state has a good percentage of white, working-class voters, and while Sanders wooed them from Clinton in 2016, it may be more difficult doing the same against Biden. On Super Tuesday, areas with similar demographics to Michigan strongly supported Biden.
  • Onto the Midwest: An analysis at CNN by Ronald Brownstein looks beyond this week for Sanders, noting that Tuesday is the start of voting in the "industrial heartland." After Michigan and Missouri comes Ohio and Illinois on March 17 and Wisconsin on April 7. If Sanders doesn't collect more delegates than Biden in these blue-collar states, he's sunk. After all, the candidate himself is touting "a campaign of the working class, by the working class, and for the working class."
(Read more Bernie Sanders 2020 stories.)

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