Democratic presidential hopefuls need to win 2,383 delegates to secure the party's nomination. These include pledged delegates, which are awarded through state primary and caucus votes, and super delegates, which consist of party elites who can vote however they choose.
The first of those is simple enough in theory: increase his vote share. Unlike the incredibly complex set of Republican regulations, for Democratic candidates, a higher number of votes translates more directly to a higher number of delegates. After his losses on 15 March, Sanders needed to get an average vote share of 60%to overtake Clinton’s delegate numbers. Since 15 March, Sanders has had a string of big wins in Idaho (where he got 78% of the vote), in Utah (79%), Alaska (82%), Hawaii (70%), and Washington (73%).
Winning? Make sure we know
Aside from increasing the percentage of votes he wins, the second thing that Sanders needs to do is increase public awareness of his wins (and minimise nitpicking coverage – like this article – which adds caveats to his successes).Writing in the New York Times on Monday, Yamiche Alcindor describes a recent phone call from Sanders in which he told the political reporter: “I don’t want to disturb the media narrative too much, but don’t write us off.”
Convince the superdelegates
The third thing on Sanders’ nomination checklist will only become important if he can successfully check off the first two – if the Democratic race gets sufficiently close, he’ll need to convince some of the superdelegates to choose him over Hillary Clinton. There are a lot of them to convince.
As heartbreaking as Sanders’ likely second-place finish may be for his supporters, they would seem to have little grounds to blame the process. The process was the same in 2008, and Clinton, who ran a closer race then against Barack Obama than Sanders is running against Clinton, accepted her defeat before many supporters were ready to.
Yet Woolley, the political scientist, agreed that Sanders had “momentum” in a few important senses.
“I think it’s clear he’s got enough momentum to do some key things,” Woolley said. “He’s got enough momentum to keep his fundraising going. He’s got enough momentum to keep the media interested in the contest. He’s got enough momentum to make potential voters listen to him, when he comes to campaign here.”