- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Hillary Clinton is firmly in control of the Democratic presidential primary after adding to her delegate lead with a string of victories on Super Tuesday, but Sen. Bernard Sanders made clear Wednesday he’ll continue hitting the presumed nominee on her close ties to Wall Street and won’t soon abandon the movement he’s created.

Mr. Sanders sent out fundraising emails blasting Mrs. Clinton’s reliance on “megadonors” from Wall Street, and he told supporters that he intends to battle the Clinton campaign in each state left on the primary calendar. He’s also promised to remain in the race until the party convention in July, despite the fact that his path to the nomination has all but disappeared.

But his promises also come amid a subtle shift in tone, and perhaps a recognition that he’ll have to settle for influencing party policies without becoming the nominee. Mr. Sanders on Tuesday night began describing his campaign as “not just about electing a president,” and he’s likely to continue pushing that narrative as he and Mrs. Clinton head toward another round of primaries and caucuses over the next several days. Democrats in Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska and Maine will vote this weekend.

Political analysts say there are two main reasons Mr. Sanders will keep fighting for votes in those states and others remaining on the primary calendar: One, to maintain enthusiasm among the progressives he’s inspired, and two, to ensure he doesn’t merely return to the back benches of the Senate with nothing to show for his presidential campaign efforts.

“He’s got staff in place and machinery in place and he wants to see how far he can get with it, even though he knows he doesn’t have a real shot at snatching the nomination away from Hillary,” said Bruce Buchanan, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in presidential politics. “The other thing is, he may believe that continuing to press his campaign is a way to keep his profile positioned to provide for him some future in politics, which may be in a Clinton administration or maybe in some other capacity.”

Mr. Buchanan and other analysts say the race is “virtually over” after Mrs. Clinton won seven states Tuesday night compared to four for Mr. Sanders. By racking up huge margins of victory in Southern states, Mrs. Clinton increased her already impressive delegate lead.

Including pledged delegates and so-called Democratic “superdelegates,” Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. Sanders in the delegate count 1,001 to 371, according to an Associated Press tally.

She appears poised to add to that total over the weekend. While polling in the four states voting this weekend has been sparse, it looks as if Mrs. Clinton will add to her advantage. A February Public Policy Polling survey of Louisiana Democrats, for example, gave her a 40-point lead in the state.

But the Sanders campaign not only insists it will forge ahead, it’s still taking the fight to Mrs. Clinton. Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver, for example, pointed to the fact that Mr. Sanders raised $42.7 million in February, compared to just $30 million for Mrs. Clinton.

“It’s important that our nominee be able to raise the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to defeat the Republicans in November,” he said. “Secretary Clinton’s reliance on maxed-out megadonors isn’t sustainable and should scare Democrats who want to keep the White House in November.”

For her part, Mrs. Clinton isn’t counting Mr. Sanders out just yet, and she’s urging supporters not to become complacent.

“The stakes in this election couldn’t be higher. There is still a long way to go before we have the delegates necessary to win the Democratic nomination, but if we’re in this fight together, we will win,” Mrs. Clinton said in an email to supporters.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide