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Sanders wins caucuses in Alaska, Washington

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    In this Thursday, March 24, 2016 photo, David Starr, a 60-year-old actor, left, and David Atcheson, a 49-year-old web developer, right, show their support for Sen. Bernie Sanders in Honolulu. Hawaii Democrats will head to the polls Saturday to cast votes for the party’s presidential nominee, choosing between Sanders and Hillary Clinton at caucus locations across the state.


    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., addresses the crowd during a rally at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.

WASHINGTON >> Bernie Sanders won Democratic presidential caucuses in Alaska and Washington state on Saturday, victories he hopes will stoke a spring comeback against the commanding front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

The Vermont senator was trying to build his enduring support among liberal activists into a three-state sweep that could help him narrow a gap of 300 delegates won in primaries by Clinton. The two Democrats were also competing in Hawaii.

While Sanders faces a steep climb to the nomination, a string of losses for Clinton would highlight persistent vulnerabilities within her own party. Sanders continues to attract tens of thousands to his rallies — drawing more than 17,000 in Seattle this week — and has collected more than $140 million from 2 million donors.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, before voters in Hawaii gathered for their caucuses, Sanders cast his wins Saturday as part of a Western comeback, citing recent victories in Utah and Idaho as a sign that his campaign still had a path to the nomination.

“We just won the state of Washington. That is what momentum is about,” he said. “Don’t let anybody tell you we can’t win the nomination or we can’t win the general election. We’re going to do both of those things.”

Most of his dozen primary-season wins have been in states with largely white populations and in caucus contests, which tend to attract the most active liberal Democrats. He’s heavily favored by younger voters, who were a key part of the coalition that boosted Obama to victory twice.

In Spokane, Washington, a huge line of caucus attendees snaked around a high school parking lot on Saturday morning.

“I think one of the biggest things is free tuition for students,” said Savannah Dills, 24, a college student who supports Sanders. “And getting big money out of politics. He’s not paid for by billionaires.”

Retiree Dan McLay, 64, attended the caucus in a hard-hat, which he joked he needed because he was one of the relatively few Clinton supporters in the big crowd.

“Look at this thing in Brussels,” McLay said, referring to the deadly bombings. “We need a real experienced leader.”

For Sanders, turning passionate support into the party nomination has grown increasingly difficult.

Clinton had a delegate lead of 1,223 to 920 over Sanders going into Saturday’s contests, according to an Associated Press analysis, an advantage that expanded to 1,692-949 once the superdelegates, or party officials who can back either candidate, were included.

Based on that count, Sanders still needs to win 58 percent of the remaining delegates from primaries and caucuses to have a majority of those delegates by June’s end.

His bar is even higher when the party officials are considered. He needs to win more than 67 percent of the remaining delegates overall — from primaries, caucuses and the ranks of uncommitted superdelegates — to prevail.

Because Democrats allocate their delegates on a proportional basis, meaning that the popular vote loser can still pick up a share, his Saturday victories netted Sanders a gain of at least 27 delegates to at least five for Clinton.

Sanders spent several days campaigning in Washington state and dispatched his wife, Jane, to Alaska and Hawaii. Clinton campaigned in Washington state for one-day and did not send any high-profile supporters to either of the other two states.

Clinton has been looking past the primary contests and aiming at potential Republican challengers. In interviews, rallies and speeches this week, she largely focused on Tuesday’s deadly attacks in Brussels, casting GOP front-runner Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as unqualified to deal with complicated international threats.

Her campaign sees the April 19 contest in New York as an important one, not just because of the rich delegate prize but because losing to Sanders in a state she represented in the Senate would be a psychological blow. She hopes to lock up an even larger share of delegates in five Northeastern contests a week later.

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  • bill clinton: “we’ve finally come to the point where we can put the awful legacy of the last eight years behind us.”

    time for democrats to support sanders.

  • Trifecta. I dare say that almost everyone voting in today’s Democrat preference poll have never heard or used the word and do not know its meaning. If Sanders is able do have a trifecta, the word will have a new meaning for Democrats — more free stuff.

  • How well I remember 2008, when Clinton lined up a whole cast of Isle political luminaries against one lone endorsement for Obama. History and conventional wisdom dictated that Obama wouldn’t have a chance. Look who walked away with the lion’s share of the delegates.

    Time for a reprise of that performance. We have a clear choice between a Blue Dog-style Democrat — a decade after the original Blue Dogs went down to their political final resting place — or a true progressive. And Hawaii Dems are true progressives, always have been. Time for Hawaii to #FeelTheBern!

        • So that makes you a Pro-socialist. Socialism is when the Government runs EVERYTHING. At it’s current state, the Government can’t even run to the bathroom without an accident happening. Sanders= Higher taxes, and he makes it crystal clear on his campaign. He promises more governmental services, OK, with no money, who’s going to pay for it? Clinton = a lying witch, “it was all based on a video”, “I only did it out of convenience”, “I sent NO classified documents”, ” I don’t think I’ve ever lied”. What a joke.

        • Social Security nor Medicare are entitlements! Working taxpayers pay into the fund monthly, even in retirement we contribute to Medicare to the tune of over $100 per month each. Entitlement equates to when its non-contributory and one gets funds from the government. Even unemployment compensation is contributory, Your employer pay into as long as you are on the payroll. Thus, it’s because you are gainfully employed you are covered.

        • If the government would give me back all the money I and my employer paid in plus a market return for as long as they had the money. Dang right I wouldn’t claim either.

  • Sanders will probably take all three states today. He will get a lot of independent voters.Seen some Sanders supporters out yesterday but no Hillary supporters. For some reason the leaders of the campaign must be concentrating only on Oahu and not on big island.

    • 808–Oahu has the population–the votes–easy access to the voters. But I agree with some of the other blogs–freebees vs a liar. I feel–my gut–I just don’t trust her. “I never had sex with that Goldman Sachs money!!!” And her son-in-law a hedge fund manager, and he and Chelsea living in a $10,000,000 penthouse in Manhattan–but she’s for the “little people”. Actually she says middle class but because of the WH occupant we don’t have a middle class anymore. Sanders isn’t the answer but for the D party it’s the lesser of two evils!! I wish there were a JFK on the sidelines. Trump, it’s like the bottom of the 9th inning tied game, two out, bases loaded 3-2 count and you bring in a wild thrower like The Donald to pitch–who knows the result???

  • If your senses tell you to vote for liar, do it! If you do not like a Socialist or Hillary write-in Tulsi or anyone elses’ name. At least you have exercised your right to vote.

  • $140,000,000 from 7 million people…that means there are still big money out there supporting the candidate. No matter how much ANY candidate proclaims they represent the little guy, money talks. Welfare walks.

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