The state of Washington isn't that much of a surprise. But Idaho and Alaska? Don't get me wrong: I want Sanders to get a healthy, safe majority of delegates and win in November.
Mr. Sanders found a welcome tableau in the largely white and liberal electorates of the Pacific Northwest, where just days after resoundingly beating Mrs. Clinton in Idaho he repeated the feat in the Washington caucuses, winning 73 percent of the vote. He did even better in Alaska, winning 82 percent of the vote, and in Hawaii, he had 71 percent with a few precincts still be counted, according to The Associated Press. ...NYT
The Times labels it a "rout." The wins "infuse his underdog campaign with critical momentum." As of last night, Sanders' enthusiastic, widely admired effort is no longer in vain. Clinton was "routed." In Washington, at least, the turn-out was "stunning." But what about the reaction in D.C. -- the other Washington?
No less "stunned." But the Washington Post goes on to point out that delegate-heavy states still lie ahead and they are expected to remain loyal to the Clinton machine.
With Washington being the fifth-largest, that means there are four more big states left: California, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We looked at those states on Friday; current polling suggests that Clinton will win all four. And not only that, but she'll win New York by a wide margin, given that it is her home state. If she wins New York by 20 points, she'll have a net gain of 50 delegates.
There's an argument that Sanders's big victories on Saturday will help swing the upcoming states -- the momentum idea and all that. Sure! Possible! When Sanders won New Hampshire by a mile, though, it was followed by Clinton crushing him in South Carolina. When he won Michigan against all odds ... he then lost Illinois and North Carolina and Ohio in a five-state Clinton sweep. He lost Florida -- where Clinton netted about 70 delegates alone. Demographics that have proven to be the more reliable predictors of victory than momentum. ...WaPo
We don't know what else may trip up Hillary Clinton -- what could send delegates scattering. Maybe Sanders' momentum. Maybe something else. A couple of weeks ago, the Post had this:
The Justice Department has granted immunity to a former State Department staffer, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, as part of a criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information, according to a senior law enforcement official.
The official said the FBI had secured the cooperation of Bryan Pagliano, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009.
As the FBI looks to wrap up its investigation in the coming months, agents are likely to want to interview Clinton and her senior aides about the decision to use a private server, how it was set up, and whether any of the participants knew they were sending classified information in emails, current and former officials said. ...WaPo
Let's check out what Nate Silver was writing about Sanders v. Clinton back in mid-Feb.
Favorable terrain for Sanders in late March. A series of Western states vote between March 22 and April 9, as does Wisconsin. Almost all of them figure to be favorable to Sanders — including Wisconsin, where he was already almost tied with Clinton in the polls before his New Hampshire win. A possible exception is Arizona, where Clinton beat Barack Obama in 2008 and where the electorate can be tricky to predict.
New York, California and a big blue finale. With some exceptions — Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana will be interesting to watch — the last quarter of the Democratic calendar mostly resides on the coasts. And there are some big prizes: New York, Pennsylvania and California foremost among them. All three offer advantages and disadvantages to each candidate. For instance, will California’s left-wing politics, which help Sanders, prevail over its racially diverse population, which helps Clinton? Sanders probably needs at least two of the three states, and maybe all of them given Clinton’s lead in superdelegates. A win in California on June 7 would also carry symbolic power, as it’s the last state to vote,3 possibly allowing the winner to claim a mandate from the Democratic electorate.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. If Sanders can hang tight with Clinton in Nevada on Saturday, his chance of eventually notching a win in California and securing the nomination will look a lot better. ...538
(That "3" footnote is a reminder that DC, with a potential primary, may have the final vote. No biggy.)