Bernie Sanders has positioned himself as an outsider candidate for President, in the sense that he does not take donations from corporations, banks, or Super PACs. Instead, he’s funded his campaign through the smaller contributions from millions of citizens, giving him a legitimate populist message that is genuine in nature.
However, it is one thing to get contributions; it’s something different entirely to earn the delegates needed to win the nomination. Before the primaries started, Hillary Clinton looked to be the foregone conclusion to be a winner. On March 1st she seemed to be confirming this notion, taking a number of states including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Most damaging was that Clinton also won Massachusetts, where Sanders was expected to do well being a Senator from New England.
Sanders had picked up some states along the way, including Colorado, Oklahoma, and his home state of Vermont. Polls had Clinton winning Michigan by a wide margin, which made the Sanders victory there both shocking on face value and critical to keeping him in the race.
Sanders is still behind Clinton, and will need a number of additional surprises to get the nomination. What’s working on his side is a number of “blue states” coming up in the primary season, where he’s been performing better than in Southern states that Clinton has dominated. If he can pick up momentum, particularly by winning New York, he may be able to win another big prize in California and stay in the race.