The New England races on April 26 represent a ‘do or die’ moment for the Sanders campaign with 384 delegates up for grabs. After falling short in New York by 69 delegates (177-108, Bloomberg’s count), he must regain some momentum in order to get back on track for his strategy.
And while it would be nice for his camp to outright win the primary, his first and foremost goal is to win 2,026 pledged delegates.
Because that forces the Democratic race into a new battle, one where the superdelegates will decide the race regardless of who wins.
Party bosses definitely don’t want this; time and time again they like to tout how the superdelegates have never been the determining factor in any race. However, no modern race has seen two Democratic candidates go the distance when battling for delegates.
If this happens, if Sanders can get to 2,026 pledged delegates, then he can claim at the convention that he is the people’s candidate, regardless of how the superdelegate cast their initial ballots — and perhaps he can persuade enough to switch sides for him to walk off with a win.
But to do this, he has to win about 54 percent of the remaining delegates, but this number still includes the 165 or so superdelegates who are still undecided. A few ties won’t hurt much, but he cannot have any blow-out losses to achieve this.
This is definitely not as challenging as winning the 73 percent to win the election outright, and he’ll have a strong case at the convention even without the outright win.
This places the two party races in an interesting position of having two contenders with a strategy that is based on denying their opponent the win, but not necessarily winning the race outright themselves.
Sanders has a bit of an upper-hand, being able to claim that he’s the winner of the people’s vote if he can reach the 2,026 pledged delegate mark — and it will definitely leave a huge part of the party feeling disenfranchised if the superdelegates ‘steal’ the race from them.
But Clinton is not without being able to spoil this strategy–by claiming the 2,026 pledged delegates for herself, it gives the case that she’s the ‘people’s’ candidate.
Right now, not much of the media is focusing on Sanders’ strategy, most are focused on Cruz’s, but as we get closer to the convention, the new magic number for the Democratic Party that everyone will be talking about will be 2,026, not 2,383.