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A Defiant Sanders Threatens Democratic Unity

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Wednesday May 18, 2016 – Remember when it was the Republicans who had a unity problem? Well, consider the events and actions of the last four days on the Democratic side. On Saturday, Bernie Sanders’ supporters revolted at the Nevada state Democratic convention — all over a caucus process Hillary Clinton originally won in February, 53%-47%. Afterwards, the state party chairwoman recounted receiving death threats and vile messages. On Tuesday, Sanders released a statement doubling down on the Nevada protest: Although he said he condemned violence and harassment, he didn’t apologize and accused “the Democratic leadership” of using “its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.” And last night, after his narrow apparent loss in Kentucky and win in Oregon, Sanders struck a defiant tone at his rally in California, challenging the Democratic Party. “The Democratic Party is going to have to make a very, very profound and important decision,” he warned. And per NBC’s Danny Freeman, the crowd booed mentions of the party and chanted, “Bernie or Bust” repeatedly. After Clinton’s win in New York last month, we wondered how Sanders would land his plane given Clinton’s near-insurmountable lead in the delegate race. Well, the plane is now experiencing some serious turbulence. Will he be Sully Sullenberger? Or a kamikaze pilot?

However, the Dem race could look much different to Sanders and his supporters come June 8

But don’t forget: In May of 2008, Hillary Clinton was reminding Democrats that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June, which offended Barack Obama’s campaign and supporters. (They took that to mean that Clinton was continuing to campaign because Obama might get assassinated; Clinton later said she regretted her words.) And after Obama was declared the “presumptive Democratic nominee” on June 3, 2008, Clinton vowed to campaign on. But the ground shifted days later, and Clinton eventually bowed out of the race and endorsed Obama. The same scenario COULD take place after June 7, when Clinton is guaranteed to cross the 2,383 Democratic magic number. Oh, and if any Democratic leader has pull to convince Sanders to be Sully Sullenberger, it might be Chuck Schumer, the likely Senate Democratic leader come 2017. Remember, Sanders will be returning to the U.S. Senate.

Clinton is now 92 delegates away from hitting magic number

As for Hillary Clinton, her apparent win in Kentucky was by the narrowest of margins (less than 2,000 votes), despite pulling out all of the stops (extra campaigning, advertising dollars). She got the symbolic win she wanted to avoid being shut out in May’s contests, but it was more relief than euphoria. Yet in terms of the overall delegate race, last night’s results really didn’t change much: Sanders picked up 55 pledged delegates to Clinton’s 47 (Sanders +8), with three delegates outstanding in Kentucky and 11 in Oregon. Here’s the updated Democratic delegate math:

In pledged delegates, Clinton currently holds a lead of 274 delegates (was 282 before yesterday)

  • Clinton 1,764 (54%)
  • Sanders 1,490 (46%)

Clinton must win 33% of remaining pledged delegates to get a majority in pledged delegates (was 34%)

Sanders must win 67% of remaining pledged delegates to get a majority in pledged delegates (was 66%)

In overall delegates (pledged + super), Clinton holds an overall lead of 762 delegates (was 768 before yesterday)

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