More than two dozen political operatives and delegate experts agreed in interviews that a walloping in Michigan and Mississippi and a tight finish in Washington state would all but close Sanders’ path to the nomination. By late Tuesday, Biden was declared the winner in Michigan, the state that Sanders aides had held up as a must-win for the campaign. He crushed Sanders in Mississippi on the strength of overwhelming African-American support. And Biden coasted in Missouri.
His loss to Joe Biden might not shake the belief of Sanders and his supporters that he, and he alone, can defeat Trump in November, but it most likely does end his chance at winning the Democratic nomination. The argument that Sanders should get the nomination even if he wins only a plurality of delegates is becoming increasingly irrelevant. The claim that only Sanders can mobilize two key groups in November, independents and young voters – which has always lacked empirical evidence – is further weakened by the lower turnout of young voters in the primaries. At this rate, not only will Sanders fail to win a plurality of delegates – Biden could win a majority outright.
As Sanders’ chances at the presidency start to fade, perhaps the most important part of his campaign is about to start: convincing his staunchest supporters, the so-called “Bernie or Bust” crowd, to come out to vote for Biden in November. Because however big Biden’s victory will be in the Democratic primaries, he cannot defeat Trump without the vast majority of Sanders’ supporters.