Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont may have have insurmountable odds of winning the party nomination, but he is primed to turn his Indiana victory into a hot winning streak.
Sanders pulled a surprise win against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the May 3 Indiana primary, but the senator has virtually no mathematical pathway to toppling her.
Currently, Clinton has 1,683 pledged delegates while Sanders has 1,362. That may sound like a narrow margin but the way delegates are portioned during Democratic contests means that Sanders cannot bridge the gap.
For comparison: as of May 11, in the 2008 Democratic primary, then-Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois was leading Clinton by 1,529 delegates to 1,424 and there were already calls for her to leave the race, according to CNN.
During a White House press conference May 6, President Obama acknowledged that Sen. Sanders cannot win the Democratic nomination.
“I think on the Democratic side, just let the process play itself out,” Obama said, according to ABC News. “You mentioned the delegate math. I think everybody knows what that math is.”
Despite being all but counted out, Sanders has pledged to remain in the race until the Democratic National Convention, held in July. While the senator may not have a shot at winning the nomination, he does stand to enjoy a winning streak in upcoming contests.
Sanders is currently polling higher than Clinton in both West Virginia and Oregon. Two wins in those states could buy Sanders the collateral to remain in the race and press the Democratic party to absorb his policy platform, Politico reports.
The West Virginia primary will be held May 10. Clinton, despite winning the state in 2008, has seen her support drop precipitously. The former Secretary of State’s vocal opposition to the coal industry has alienated a great number of West Virginia voters, many of whom rely on that industry for job stability.
The Oregon primary will be held May 17. The state is considered advantageous for Sanders given its overwhelmingly white demographics, progressive streak and a grassroots-friendly vote-by-mail system.
Democratic strategist Joe Trippi voiced irritation that Sanders will continue to campaign and win states despite being all but mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination.
“It’s a nuisance, it’s’ a distraction, because he can’t win the nomination and every dollar that he spends and every time she has to defend against an attack or answer some accusation of his is money and time not spent defining Donald Trump and the Republican nominee,” Trippi said.