Democrats caucus in three states — Alaska, Hawaii and Washington — Saturday, meaning it must be time for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to win some contests again.
The Sanders campaign likes to say the Vermont independent does well in elections where there is high voter turnout. The reality, however, is he does really well when there is almost no voter turnout.
Thus far in 2016, Sanders has won 11 contests — four primaries and seven low-turnout caucuses.
Tuesday, for instance, Sanders won the Idaho caucus, taking 18,640 votes. For perspective, that is less than Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in Richland County alone during South Carolina’s January primary. (Clinton received 39,322 votes in Richland.)
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Polling has been almost nonexistent in the state’s caucusing Saturday. The one poll done this year in Alaska — with its 20 delegates — has Clinton up by 3 percentage points.
However, the conventional wisdom is Sanders will win there and in Hawaii, with its 34 delegates, and in Washington, which offers 118 delegates.
Keep in mind that Democrats do not have winner-take-all states. Instead, they divide delegates based on the candidate’s share of the vote. So, Sanders needs to roll up big margins to cut into Clinton’s delegate lead — 1,690 to 946, including super delegates, with 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination.
In contests thus far, Clinton — who has won 18 primaries and two caucuses — has won 8.9 million votes to 6.4 million for Sanders.
Next up is the Wisconsin primaries, set for April 5, where both the Democratic and GOP candidates will be on the ballot.
▪ For results of Saturday night’s caucuses, go to thestate.com