After the dust settled on the results of Super Tuesday, the bad news was everywhere. “Sanders Campaign Will Travel On, but Path to Victory Is All but Blocked,” The New York Times declared, offering a grim assessment of the odds facing the insurgent presidential candidate. “After Super Tuesday Losses, Bernie Sanders Is in a Whole Lot of Trouble,” Mother Jones lamented.
A sense of inevitability returned to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in the wake of her victory in seven states across the country in Super Tuesday match-ups. Sanders won just four states. Clinton holds a commanding lead in the race for delegates, and her campaign suggests that lead may soon become insurmountable. The Vermont senator faces an increasingly steep climb in his effort to win the Democratic nomination, but he has nevertheless vowed to fight on. As he does, the campaign confronts the possibility of risk and reward. The challenge will be to show that Sanders can maintain a critical mass of momentum, while evading missteps that could hurt his standing and the Democratic Party.
There are certainly reasons for Sanders to fight for the nomination as long as possible. An unforeseen development could always re-shape the race, and increase his odds. Plus, the longer Sanders stays in the race, the more time the campaign has to introduce him to voters who might throw their support behind the candidate and his ideals. Sanders frequently talks about starting a political revolution powered by a groundswell of populist discontent. But while he has assembled a devoted following, Sanders still lacks Clinton’s national name recognition. Additional time in the race could expand his reach. That would help Sanders elevate his progressive agenda. If increased visibility translates into an uptick in popular support, Sanders will gain leverage that he could use to convince elected officials to follow his lead—leverage he could wield from the campaign trail or from Capitol Hill.