It’s Official: Bernie Sanders Pulls Off His Biggest Campaign Victory Yet, Winning Michigan’s Primary

Heading into tonight’s primaries, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had a lot at stake for their campaigns. While that could be said for almost any primary state, Michigan is a “blue” state with a lot of delegates and is one of those places that, as a Democrat, you want to win if you eventually become the party’s nominee.

For Clinton, winning Michigan meant that she would score a win in a key non-Southern state with a decent amount of delegates. It would also help solidify her standing as the frontrunner and help her maintain her momentum heading into Florida, Ohio and Illinois – states with a good chunk of delegates.

As for Sanders, his campaign desperately needed a win in a state where minorities make up a good portion of the voters. While he scored three victories over the weekend in Nebraska, Maine and Kansas, those are all states that are mostly white. Thus far, he’s been getting crushed in states with large populations of African American populations. In fact, it happened tonight in Mississippi where he’s probably going to lose by over 65 points.

That being said, Michigan was the state some people felt could be where Sanders changed that pattern. Which is exactly what happened as Bernie Sanders has been declared the winner in Michigan in an incredibly close contest.

For many – including myself – this is a rather big shock based on the polling numbers going into today. The Real Clear Politics polling average had Clinton winning Michigan by 21 points. Meanwhile, Nate Silver of had given Clinton a 99 percent chance to take Michigan, predicting a 23 point victory for the former secretary of state.

So, what does this all mean?

Well, as Sanders would say, it’s a “yuge!” win for his campaign. In a political world where optics matter, he desperately needed a big win in a state he wasn’t exactly expected to win. Especially in a state with a more diverse population. Though the unfortunate reality is that, because he lost so big in Mississippi and the race in Michigan was so tight, he still lost ground to Clinton in the delegate count.

Michigan mattered more for the momentum of his campaign than the actual delegates. Especially heading into the March 15th states (Ohio, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and Illinois), that are extremely crucial for his campaign and could be an ultimate game changer if he pulled off wins in most of them.

For Clinton, this is a big loss. Even though she’ll emerge with more delegates than Sanders this evening, Michigan was clearly a state she wanted to win. Heading into a key stretch of states next week, if she were able to sweep today and the March 15th contests, that would have pretty much sealed the nomination – which is still possible if she wins four of five or even all the states on March 15th. However, with these results from Michigan, states like Missouri and Ohio are definitely in question.

No matter how you want to look at this – Clinton still gained in delegates or Sanders finally got an unexpected victory in a bigger, diverse state – it definitely makes this race a whole lot more interesting.

Well, with tonight in the books, we now look ahead to next week which ultimately may end up being the biggest night of this entire race.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • LonnieThunderNLightning

    The writing has been on the wall, no pun intended, for months. All of the inside the beltway pundits and job seekers, including some on this site, have been paying attention to old schoo politics, ignoring what many of us have been predicting, and that’s the impact of the people’s social media revolution. And it’s just beginning.

    Watching the tee-eve response of both MSNBC and CNN pundits to Bernies 27 dollar revolutionary win in Michigan, was a little like watching Carl Rove’s disintegration live on fox news in ‘012—a pure and delightful deer caught in the headlights moment. All those bloviated condescending comments dismissing Bernie’s chances…except for MSNBC’s Larry O’Donnell, who wasn’t in the least surprised, and was the only one who over the last several broadcasts tried to prepare everyone for the un-inevitability of an HRC win…and Rachael to a much lessor degree, though she did keep posting the super-delegate total in the Hil’ry column.

    Sorry Allen, i know you’re disappointed, but there’s still room for you to join Bernie’s and our 27 dollar revolution. Nothing for you to be too embarrassed about.

    • tracey marie

      No thanks, Hillary still received more votes and delegates in the elections last night.

  • Bobs_Vendetta

    This was the beginning of the turn. Next week, Bernie should — frankly, he must — win 2 out of 3 of Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri. Hillary will complete her sweep of the old south and increase her delegate lead. But Bernie will be establishing his dominance in the midwest.

    And not just there. If that is how it works out next Tuesday, Hillary will have won 14 states, Bernie 11 states, with one tie. But here’s the thing: Hillary will be 11-0 in the old south. Bernie will be 11-3-1 in the rest of the country. After next Tuesday, we will be done with Dixie. The remaining 24 states will be voting in the rest of the country.

    It will take Bernie at least until late April — quite possibly until early June — to catch up with Hillary and take the lead in delegates. But I believe Feel the Bern is becoming an inexorable force. And if it comes down to the final state to vote, California — if it becomes up to them to decide who the Democratic nominee will be — California will go with Bernie.

    • Clarence J Renouard

      As will WA & OR, earlier.