It’s been lost in the genuinely era-defining news Tuesday night that TELEVISION’S DONALD TRUMP IS GOING TO BE THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE, but: Sen. Bernie Sanders pulled off an upset, winning the Indiana Democratic primary.
Does this “matter”? Not in the sense that it moves Sanders meaningfully closer to the presidential nomination. That’s still not going to happen. But it’s another sign that the Democratic Party still is not rallying behind its likely nominee, even at this late stage. Hell, it’s happening in the Republican Party before it’s happening in the Democratic Party. Huh.
With most of the vote in, Sanders leads Clinton 53 to 47 percent. Exit polls show that Sanders won men by 14 percentage points and tied Clinton among women. As usual, the age of 40 marked the dividing line of support, with Sanders crushing among voters under 40 and Clinton cruising among those older. Clinton dominated among black voters, 76 to 24 percent, but they made up only 17 percent of the electorate. Usually Clinton is clear if that figure gets into the 20s.
The relatively sparse polling of Indiana had shown Clinton with a narrow lead heading into the state. RealClearPolitics’ polling average pinned it at 6.8 percentage points, although the most reliable of those surveys, from NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist, put the lead at 4.
Clinton did not campaign as hard as Sanders did in Indiana. It wasn’t her best fit demographically, and more importantly, a narrow loss wouldn’t really matter. Sanders will net five to 10 delegates in Indiana. After that, he will still trail Clinton by roughly 300 pledged delegates and far more when superdelegates are factored in. Earlier in the evening, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver ran a rough model of what Sanders, with a narrow win in Indiana, would have to do to surpass Clinton in the final pledged-delegate count. It is not a realistic scenario.
But Indiana shows that Sanders is still capable of rattling off a slew of wins for the remainder of the primary. Some of them, like Oregon, will even be large. And Sanders supporters aren’t going to stay at home on primary days just because the political media say that the race is over.
Anti-Trump Republicans are losing their minds tonight, burning their party registration cards and chugging bottles of brown liquor. For the Republican National Committee, at least that Band-Aid’s being ripped off tonight, and the party can soon go about doing its best job to prepare for November. The Democratic contest, meanwhile, slugs on, glacially and allocated proportionally, all the way toward California in June. Is it possible that the Democratic National Committee, eager to get this general election rolling, is a tad jealous of its Republican counterparts tonight? Oh God, no. Ha! Let’s not go that far.