By Robert A. Vella
Yesterday’s primary elections and caucuses in three western states showed Bernie Sanders bouncing back somewhat from last week’s losses to Democratic Party front-runner Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump extending his delegate lead among Republicans, and excessively long voting lines in Arizona.
The progressive upstart Sanders won two of the three contests in Idaho and Utah while losing Arizona to establishment candidate Clinton. Although he narrowed the delegate deficit, he still trails 1689 to 944. With more western state primaries coming up, Sanders should be able to cut further into Clinton’s advantage; but, his road to the nomination remains problematic.
Populist firebrand Donald Trump and conservative ideologue Ted Cruz split the two Republican Party contests – Arizona and Utah, respectively – with the former widening his delegate lead over the latter by 739 to 465. John Kasich, the GOP establishment’s remaining candidate, performed very badly and continued his electoral irrelevance outside of his home state of Ohio.
Voters in Phoenix, Arizona’s capital and largest city, waited up to five hours to cast their ballots yesterday. It is not known how many voters got fed-up and left without voting. The delays were caused by Maricopa County’s decision to drastically close the majority of polling locations from 200 in the 2012 primary election and 700 in the 2014 general election to just 60 sites serving 2 million registered voters. The closures were ostensibly done to reduce the county’s operating costs; but, considering the left-leaning politics of urban voters and the right-leaning politics of Arizona’s Republican-controlled government, it’s easy to see this budget-cutting move as part of the larger voter suppression effort which has swept America since the Tea Party wave election of 2010.
Here’s more commentary on these results from Robert Borosage of the Campaign for America’s Future – The Presidential Race: The West Weighs in:
Bernie Sanders is ignored by the media, dismissed by the pundits and the president, but he keeps on rising. Donald Trump continues to outrage, generating well-deserved condemnation in the media, opposition of panicked Republican poobahs and a barrage of negative ads from deep pocket superPACs, but he keeps extending his lead. This campaign is a long way from over.
On a day haunted by the terror in Brussels, voters flooded to the polls and caucuses in Arizona, Idaho and Utah. Hillary Clinton won Arizona handily, buoyed again by her continued edge among seniors and people of color. But Sanders gained in the delegate count by swamping her in the Idaho and Utah caucuses, generating recorded turnouts that overwhelmed caucus sites. The press will discount his victories as expected and his delegate gains as insufficient, but what’s clear is that Sanders continues to generate growing excitement and support on the trail. The press says his only hope is to win by large margins in the remaining states. Well, in Idaho and Utah, he did just that.