This morning, Oregonians awoke to the news that Senator Bernie Sanders won a big victory in our state's Democratic presidential primary election. Polling data before the election was sparse, but the polls I saw had Hillary ahead by a significant margin. So, this was a big upset. The margin of victory? A whopping 12 points!
Nonetheless, Hillary's delegate lead of ~700 delegates still seems insurmountable. The realist in me is resigned to it: Mrs. Clinton will be the Democratic nominee.
But Bernie's victory in Oregon, especially when aggregated with his other victories earlier in the season, is still important. Bernie has won approximately 43% of the popular vote (or roughly 10 million votes) in the primaries. That's a lot of voters, and it illuminates a very import political reality: Hillary needs the support of Bernie voters if she's going to win the general election in November.
I'm not among those who believe that a Clinton victory over the Republicans is assured. Hillary's "unfavorables," on the Left and the Right, are very high. There is a large portion of the electorate that will never vote for her.
Hillary knows that; and she knows that without Bernie's supporters, she will lose. Even to Donald Trump. So the manner in which the primaries conclude, and the manner in which the Democratic convention is conducted, becomes very important.
While they march to victory, the Clinton campaign is invested in making sure that Bernie supporters feel heard and respected. And the way to make that happen is to adopt positions that Sanders supporters can get excited about. Access to education, universal health care, increasing the federal minimum wage, Wall Street reform-- these are all issues on which Hillary must move to the left. Indeed, she has already done so on a number of issues. The campaign she is running today has changed for the better as a result of Bernie's success.
Today, I'm very proud of Oregon. We held true to our values in spite of the enormous weight of inevitability. It's going to pay off for us, too. Watch and see.