We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
The Controversial Caucuses: An Outsized Influence in 2008
Maybe one of the most intriguing - and nefarious - aspects of this long-running Democratic presidential campaign is that the legitimacy of the system itself has come into question. Doubts, to be sure, have been raised about the role of the unelected "superdelegates".
But the campaign of Hillary Clinton has fingered a different villain for its greatest contempt - namely, the caucuses, which it claims are undemocratic as well as unrepresentative. They argue that her hard-working, blue-collar base was largely disfranchised by the sometimes awkward caucus meeting times.
The ire of the Clinton forces is a bit understandable. While the New York senator has run close to even with Barack Obama in the primary states, she has lost decisively to him in virtually all of the caucuses. The latter constitute a large share of her deficit in both delegates and popular vote which could in the end be her margin of defeat.
Sign up: Free daily newsletter
It is ironic that such a small slice of the nominating process could prove to be so decisive. For in size, the caucuses are much like the tip of an iceberg. In recent elections, about 35 to 40 states have held primaries. The rest have scheduled caucuses (with Texas Democrats famously holding both). Turnout has always been much, much larger in the primaries. So far this year, more than 33 million ballots have been cast in the sanctioned Democratic primaries, compared to less than 2.5 million votes in the Democratic caucuses.
Yet until this year, the credibility of the caucuses was rarely, if ever questioned. They were considered a worthy part of the nominating process that tested a different set of political skills than a primary. Conducted like a general election, the primary offers voters the flexibility of casting their ballot morning, noon or night. A caucus, particularly of the Iowa variety, has a set starting time and can last for hours.
An old rule of thumb is that while a primary demonstrates vote-getting appeal, success in a caucus demands considerable organizational ability. And while a primary can draw tens of thousands of "casual" Democrats or Republicans, a caucus tends to be limited to the party's dedicated "hard core" - the long-time activists and newly energized voters who make the party click at the grass-roots level. In short, caucus defenders promote their process as a place where the quality of the turnout trumps the quantity.
When the Democrats overhauled their presidential nominating process after the 1968 election, there was considerable sentiment within the party's reform commission to encourage the creation of more caucuses just for this reason. But in the political ethos of the late 20th century, with the elevation of "one person, one vote," greater voter participation was accented and the scales were tipped in favor of more presidential primaries.
Figure 1. '08 Democratic Primaries and Caucuses: Four States Held Both
It is understandable why Hillary Clinton detests caucuses. She has run much better this year in the higher-turnout primaries than the lower-turnout caucuses, a point illustrated by results from the four states that held both. The caucuses elected Democratic delegates in all four states (Idaho, Nebraska, Texas and Washington) and were won easily by Barack Obama. The primaries, however, were much closer, although the one in Texas (carried by Clinton) was the only one of the four that also elected delegates.
Caucus Turnout as % of Primary
Note: An asterisk (*) in the primary date column indicates a non-binding primary that did not elect delegates. Primary results from Idaho and Nebraska are based on nearly complete but unofficial returns. The Texas caucus results are based on an incomplete tally while the caucus turnout is an estimate from the Texas Democratic Party.
At the same time, the caucuses emerged as a place for political passion. In 1972, the anti-war candidacy of George McGovern flourished in the low-turnout world of the caucuses, enabling him to dominate delegate selection in states such as Idaho, Utah and Virginia, where it is doubtful that he could have carried a primary.
In 1988, Jesse Jackson won first-round caucus action not only in heavily African-American South Carolina, but also Alaska, Vermont, Michigan and Texas. On the other hand, in 1992, Bill Clinton mounted a centrist campaign for the Democratic nomination that was beaten more often than not in the caucus states, as his wife's has been this year.
Yet passionate supporters must be organized for caucus success, and Obama has done that arguably with greater effectiveness than any candidate ever has in a hotly contested nominating fight. Obama won first-round voting in all but two caucus states, Nevada and New Mexico, where his losses were close he drew at least 45 percent of the vote in each.
Meanwhile, Obama rolled up huge margins of victory in virtually all of the 13 caucus states that he won. Making his success even more impressive was the fact that his wins were accomplished in states where the African-American population was often miniscule.
He defeated Clinton by more than 10 percentage points in Texas and Maine by more than 20 points North Dakota and Wyoming by more than 30 points in Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska and Washington by more than 40 points in Kansas and by 50 points or more in Alaska, Hawaii and Idaho. Obama's closest and arguably most important caucus victory was his first, in Iowa, where he defeated John Edwards by 8 points Clinton placed third.
In contrast, Republican John McCain has tanked in the caucus states. He did not win any in his 2000 challenge to George W. Bush, and he took only one this year - a post-Super Tuesday contest in Washington state that he carried after his principal challenger, Mitt Romney, had quit the race. Romney, with his penchant for organization, and Mike Huckabee, with his appeal to the Christian Right, dominated the GOP caucus action in 2008. McCain, whose support was broad but not passionate, failed to poll more than 25 percent of the vote in any caucus state (including Washington).
The Arizona senator was able to wrap up the Republican nomination with a strong showing in the major primary states. But ominous for McCain is what his poor caucus showing may say about the organizational health of his campaign. As much as the former is indicative of the latter, it is a sign that this may be an area in the fall where Obama has a decided advantage.
Figure 2. '08 Democratic, Republican Caucus Results: Obama Dominates, McCain Struggles
It is sometimes said that caucuses test a candidate's ability to organize. If that is the case, this year's caucus results were good news for Democrat Barack Obama and bad news for Republican John McCain. Obama won virtually every Democratic caucus contest this year over Hillary Clinton, almost all of them by one-sided margins. In contrast, John McCain lost all but one Republican caucus (in Washington state). As in the primaries, turnout in the caucus states was generally far higher on the Democratic than the Republican side. Results below include the Obama and McCain share of each party's first-round caucus vote. Territories are not included.
The following table summarizes the results of the local contests below, thus providing a nationwide overview of the nomination process. The data contained in the row entitled Total bound pledged delegates is a subset of the data in the row entitled Total estimated pledged delegates. The bound delegates row does not include estimated delegates from contests in which the final allocation depends on the outcome of further caucuses or conventions.
|Candidates||Uncommitted ||Hillary |
|Grand total estimated delegates |
(4,134 of 4,233, 98% 2,117 to win)
|Total estimated superdelegate endorsement  |
(724½ of 823½, 88% of 19%)
|99 ||246½ |
|Total estimated pledged delegates  |
(3,409½ of 3,409½, 100% of 81%)
|Total bound pledged delegates  |
(3,341½ of 3,409½, 98% of 81%)
Rules and bylaws
The state party is governed by a set of rules and bylaws. Typically, these give structure to the different levels of organization—local, county, and state committees—and establish protocol for electing committee members. The bylaws also typically give details on the party's process for nominating and sending delegates to the national party convention during presidential elections. The following is a selection of the Maine Democratic Party's rules. This selection focuses on the structure and governance of the party: Γ]
- The Democrats within a municipality may adopt provisions in their municipal bylaws that establish an alternative method of election, term of office, or duties for the Municipal Committee, and in the event of a conflict with these Rules, such provisions shall be controlling to the extent required by the Maine Election Code. (260.1)
- Every County Committee shall consist of representatives from each municipality within that county, together with such ex officio or at-large members, if any, as may be specified in County Committee bylaws. A municipality is herein defined as a city, town, or plantation. (400.1)
- Any Maine Democrat may be a candidate for National Committeeman or National Committeewoman. Nomination shall be by petition filed in accordance with Subsection 630(5), signed by at least one hundred (100) Delegates or Alternates to the State Convention. The names of male and female candidates shall be listed separately on one (1) ballot to be prepared by State Headquarters. (670.1)
Maine Democratic caucuses (UPDATE 2: CNN PROJECTS MAINE FOR OBAMA)
With O-mentum in full effect after last night’s three big wins, Democrats in Maine will be holding their caucuses this afternoon and evening to decide who gets a majority of delegates from their state. All totaled, 34 delegates are up for grabs in our nation’s most northeastern state. Bangor News reports on how the delegates will be divvied out:
In Maine Democrats’ system, 24 of the 34 delegates are pledged to particular candidates in proportion to the voting in the caucuses. Nine of those 24 emerge from caucuses in the 1st Congressional District and seven from the 2nd District caucuses. The other eight are at-large party leader and elected officials delegates.
The 10 unpledged delegates are made up of Maine Democratic Party notables.
Barack Obama has done very well in caucus states so far, but the Washington Post is predicting that the women’s vote may propel La Clinton to victory in Maine:
BANGOR, Maine, Feb. 9 — It is women like Linda Sinclair who have turned New England into a potentially tough playing field for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).
Sinclair listened with rapt attention as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) spoke at a rally in Orono on Saturday morning, on the eve of Sunday’s Maine caucuses. She committed to Clinton three months ago, and while she planned to attend an afternoon Obama event in nearby Bangor, she did not expect to change her mind.
“She’s really in touch with the common person, even though she’s not one,” Sinclair, 58, said of Clinton. “I think they’re both very bright. But she’s more solid. I think he’s fluffy.”
Obama drew a huge crowd in Bangor on Saturday: 7,000 inside the local civic center and 3,000 more cheering in the slushy snow outside the front entrance. Clinton’s events were smaller, but she was clearly in her element, talking health-care policy to audiences of mostly older female voters, who have emerged as one of her staunchest support groups.
Traditionally Democratic women helped rescue Clinton’s presidential bid in New Hampshire by breaking her way in large numbers in the Jan. 8 primary. Five days earlier, Clinton placed third in the Iowa caucuses, behind Obama and former senator John Edwards (N.C.).
In Massachusetts, where Bill Clinton scored a big reelection margin in 1996, women also broke heavily for Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s primary. Obama had been endorsed by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry and by Gov. Deval L. Patrick, but it was the votes of women that gave Clinton one of her biggest Super Tuesday wins.
Maine should be friendly territory for Obama. Its voters are staunchly antiwar, and caucuses, which rely heavily on grass-roots organizing, have proved to be Obama’s strong suit. But Clinton campaign officials are optimistic that her message will resonate here.
Maine is “independent-minded and has strong female elected officials,” including two GOP senators, Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, said Clinton adviser Karen Hicks. The candidate’s domestic policy proposals, including universal health coverage and middle-class tax cuts, are particularly well suited for the region, Hicks said, because “everyone feels attuned to those issues. You have a lot of women working two jobs, working on their feet, with their hands.”
Clinton’s habit of outlining her proposals in precise detail makes for long speeches but delivers the kind of substance that appeals to women, her supporters say. “Women really do care about substance,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), a Clinton backer. Likening politics to grocery shopping, Cantwell said, “Women want to hear the list.”
Check here later this evening for results as they come in.
What states are next on the primary/caucus schedule? Go here for the Dem states, and here for the GOP states.
Update 1 – 4:48 PM: Caucus-goers in Maine woke up to snow today, but the AP reports that in spite of it, heavy participation was/is expected.
The results are starting to come in, and this is what it looks like so far – Obama has a slight lead, w/ 11% reporting. A breakdown of results can be found here.
Update 2 – 6:59 PM: CNN is projecting Obama will win Maine, giving him 15 more delegates, and Hillary 9.
Delegates are the people who decided the nomination at the Democratic National Convention. Delegates from fifty US states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico had a single vote each, while delegates from American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Guam and Democrats Abroad, as well as the states of Florida and Michigan, which contravened the schedule, had half a vote each. Thus, the total number of delegates was slightly higher than the total number of available delegate votes (4,049).  [now updated to 4,233 with FL-MI delegations]
In the modern presidential primary system, candidates for the nomination campaign in a series of primary elections and caucus events. For the Democratic Party, the results from these primaries and caucuses determine the number of pledged delegates committed to vote for each candidate at the Democratic National Convention, intended to reflect the will of the voters. These delegates are not legally bound to vote for the candidate they represent, but candidates may remove delegates whom they feel may be disloyal, and delegates generally vote as pledged.  Under the party's Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, delegates were allocated to each of the fifty U.S. states according to two main criteria: the proportion of votes each state had given to the Democratic candidate in the previous three presidential elections, and the percentage of votes each state had in the United States Electoral College. In addition, fixed numbers of delegates were allocated to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Democrats Abroad.  In 2008, a total of 3,253 pledged delegate votes will be awarded through the primaries and caucuses.
Superdelegate votes are given equal weight to the votes of pledged delegates. Superdelegates are members of the United States House of Representatives and Senate, state and territorial governors, members of the Democratic National Committee, distinguished party leaders, and add-on delegates selected by the state parties. They represented almost 20 percent of the total 4,233 delegates.
The number and composition of superdelegates had the potential to change right up to the start of the Democratic National Convention. The total number of superdelegate votes at the start of the primary season in October 2007 stood at 850. Various events such as deaths, elections, and disqualifications may alter the final number of superdelegates voting in the primary.
While officially uncommitted until the convention, the superdelegates may publicly endorse or commit to a candidate at any time. The presidential candidates compete heavily for these commitments. News organizations survey the superdelegates periodically throughout the election season and try to calculate how many have committed to each of the candidates. The media often include these superdelegate estimates in their reporting on the race, leading to differing delegate counts from various news sources.
Delegate selection rules
Under the Democratic Party's Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention,  delegates are awarded by proportional representation, with a minimum 15 percent threshold required to receive delegates. Each state party is required to publish its own state level delegate selection plan, indicating how the state will select delegates at the congressional and statewide level, how the delegation will implement the party's affirmative action policy, and how the delegation will ensure an equal balance between women and men. Those plans were adopted at state conventions and forwarded to the national party in mid-2007.
In most state caucuses, the viability threshold must be met at each level in the process, from the precinct level upwards. This puts enormous pressure on the remaining candidates to gain the support of voters whose chosen candidates fall below the 15 percent mark.  The focus on viability is designed to weed out small, divisive factions from gaining delegates to disrupt the national convention. However, this can result in candidates gaining viability in some precincts but not in others, and a complicated "caucus math" is required to allocate delegates to the county and state conventions for each precinct.  In the primaries, the viability threshold is set based on statewide and congressional district votes. At-large and PLEO (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) delegates are allocated based on statewide votes, while district-level delegates are allocated by district votes. 
Reporting delegate totals
There is no easy answer to the question, What's the current count? Each of the major news organizations keeps a count of delegate votes, while the campaigns keep their own numbers. Rarely do these totals coincide. Some online sources use an aggregate of sources, leading to even more confusion in delegate vote totals. The actual result may not be known until the votes are cast at the Democratic National Convention.
There are several reasons for this discrepancy. First, some news sources include only pledged delegates in their total count, while others include superdelegates. Second, estimates of superdelegate votes are unreliable and are subject to change. Third, pledged delegates in many states are selected at county or state conventions late in the process thus, the initial primary and caucus results provide only a projection of pledged delegates, highlighted by the discrepancies with the Iowa county convention results. Fourth, in the days after an election, results in individual precincts may be delayed, and news organizations may project the winners of those precincts based on statistical analysis or may wait for confirmed results. The Democratic nominating process is a complex system that has evolved over time, and in close races, it can be difficult under the current system to know who is leading in the delegate count. 
This article uses pledged delegate estimates from the respective Wikipedia articles of each state primary or caucus. Reliable sources appropriate to each state's individual process are found in those articles. The Not Yet Assigned columns in the tables below reflect pledged delegates that these sources have not yet allocated to any candidates. For superdelegate vote estimates, this article uses the Democratic Convention Watch blog.  A periodically updated article on the blog also provides a comparison of the delegate totals from several different sources (CBS, CNN, NBC, Associated Press, and The Green Papers).
Maine Democratic Caucuses
Another day, more election madness. Today it's Maine with a total of 24 delegates up for grabs. Here is the tracker for today's race.
Obviously, Clinton's poor showing this weekend has caused a shake-up in her campaign. They've announced that campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle is stepping down and be replaced by longtime Clinton operative Maggie Williams.
Mike Huckabee is challenging the results of the Washington state Republican caucuses, his campaign announced Sunday, after accusing the state party chairman of calling the election for John McCain before all the votes were counted.
For 17 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook and social media are drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or subscribe for an ad-free experience.
To become an ad-free subscriber please select one of the following two options. Once you click your selected plan a window will open taking you to Admiral, our ad-free partner.
If you don't mind the ads and would rather donate, please select one of the options below:
More C&L Coverage
Our comments are now powered by Insticator. In order to comment you will need to create an Insticator account. The process is quick and simple. Please note that the ability to comment with a C&L site account is no longer available.
We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.
Please Do Not Use the Login Link at the Top of the Site.
In order to comment you must use an Insticator account. To register an account, enter your comment and click the post button. A dialog will then appear allowing you create your account.
We will be retiring our Crooks and Liars user account system in January, 2021.
Democratic Caucuses In Maine
Mark Halperin reports that with 11% of the precincts reporting, Obama has a slight lead over Clinton, 50% to 48%.
An early report from Maine has caucus-goers turning out in very large numbers:
Democrats and independents have arrived in droves to caucus at Cape Elizabeth High School this afternoon, delaying the start of the proceedings by more than an hour.
The event is one of hundreds of its type today, as Democrats in Maine head to local caucuses a day after Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. swept contests in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington - closing in on front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. in the battle for the Democratic presidential nod.
Hundreds of people waited in the school's cafeteria for the proceedings to begin. Some were forced to wait at least an hour to get into the building. The caucus had been scheduled to begin at 12:30, but proceedings were getting under way at 1:40 p.m.
With the Republican nomination all but fully secured by John McCain, Clinton and Obama have turned their eyes and their attacks towards him, with each seeking to make the argument that they re more qualified and more likely to beat McCain in a general election.
Democrats trudged to caucuses amidst snow and bitter winds. Maine deals with high levels of snow all the time, but it remained to be seen whether or not it would affect turnout.
Obama has the momentum going into the Maine caucuses (Via NY Times):
After his decisive victories in Washington, Louisiana and Nebraska on Saturday, Senator Barack Obama is facing off against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday afternoon in caucuses in Maine.
Mr. Obama's wins, combined with his building advantage in fund-raising, gave him momentum going into Maine, as well as the coming contests on Tuesday in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Still, the race for Democratic delegates remains too close to call, and Maine may favor Mrs. Clinton, although there have been no polls. A win for her there could help blunt the edge of what are expected to be a string of victories for Mr. Obama in the 10 contests between last Tuesday and March 4.
Obama heavily criticized John McCain and the Iraq War at a Maine rally, telling supporters that McCain would fight on in Iraq for another hundred years. Obama also argued that he was better positioned to end the war than his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton:
Democrat Barack Obama said he is better positioned to change Washington and to end the Iraq war if elected president in an unusually spirited critique of rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain on Saturday.
Before 7,000 people in Bangor, Me., Obama said McCain -- the likely Republican nominee -- "wants to fight a 100-year war" in Iraq. It was a reference to the Arizona senator's remarks that some U.S. troops may be in Iraq a century from now.
He also criticized McCain for initially voting against President Bush's major tax cuts and later embracing them. And he mocked McCain's attacks on pork barrel spending, saying, "it was his party" under the Bush administration "that passed the biggest increase in pork barrel spending" in history.
The Washington Post reports that women could give Clinton an edge in today's Democratic caucuses in Maine:
It is women like Linda Sinclair who have turned New England into a potentially tough playing field for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).
Sinclair listened with rapt attention as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) spoke at a rally in Orono on Saturday morning, on the eve of Sunday's Maine caucuses. She committed to Clinton three months ago, and while she planned to attend an afternoon Obama event in nearby Bangor, she did not expect to change her mind.
"She's really in touch with the common person, even though she's not one," Sinclair, 58, said of Clinton. "I think they're both very bright. But she's more solid. I think he's fluffy."
Democrats gather across Maine for today's caucuses. There was a light snowstorm overnight, but there is still the potential for snow squalls and strong gusts of wind, with the possibility of scattered power outages:
An overnight snowstorm proved to be only a nuisance, but there's still a possibility of snow squalls as Democrats gather for caucuses across Maine.
Meteorologist Art Lester from the National Weather Service says the storm that began Saturday evening left 2 to 5 inches of snow across Maine. The biggest snow tally was 5.4 inches in Hiram Portland got 2.1 inches before the snow turned to rain.
Lester says snow squalls are expected Sunday afternoon with the possibility of another 1 to 3 inches of snow accumulation. He says there will also be strong wind gusts topping out at up to 50 mph, raising the possibility of scattered power outages.
Bernie Sanders sweeps to victory in Maine Democratic caucus
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders swept to victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Maine’s Democratic presidential caucuses on Sunday, riding a heavy turnout that left some participants waiting for hours to vote.
Sanders, who told supporters he’d win if there was a strong turnout, beat Clinton by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 according to unofficial returns in voting in hundreds of communities across Maine.
Democrats had hoped for solid participation, and turnout was higher than expected throughout Maine, especially in the cities of Portland, South Portland, Lewiston, Bangor and the town of Brunswick.
In Portland, the line of people waiting to get inside a high school for caucuses grew to a half-mile. Some people waited more than four hours to get inside, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree went outside to bring them pizza.
State Sen. Justin Alfond vowed to present legislation to do away with inefficient party-run caucuses and institute primary elections.
“The awe-inspiring turnout meant too many had to wait in long lines to make their voices heard. We need to have a conversation, once again, about the best way to nominate our presidential candidates, and ensure the process is easy and accessible to all,” Alfond said.
In primaries, participants cast tallies via secret ballot as they would on Election Day, and the election is conducted by state and municipal officials. Caucuses are run by the parties and require a greater time commitment at local gatherings featuring speeches. Caucuses usually involve a public show of support for the candidates.
Isaac Santerre, 19, arrived at his caucus site in Portland at 1 p.m. and finally got a chance to vote for his candidate, Sanders, at 5:50 p.m.
“It’s outrageous. It seems like a ridiculous waste of time,” he said. “The whole thing is frustrating to think they could hold a caucus in a small place like this.”
Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling a Democrat, was upset to see people still waiting hours after the caucus was scheduled to begin as the temperature hovered in the 30s.
“This is unacceptable for people voting to wait out in the cold,” he said.
Phil Bartlett, chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, said organizers at the Portland caucus were overwhelmed by the turnout, which was far beyond the 2008 participation.
When caucus organizers saw the long lines, they changed some of the rules, Bartlett said. They allowed people caught in the long line to cast absentee ballots, and workers at party headquarters in Augusta used phones to talk to people in line and register them, he said.
“We certainly regret that folks had to wait outside for so long but appreciate the enthusiasm,” he said.
Barbara Schlichtman, 49, from Peaks Island, rode the ferry to the mainland so she could vote for Clinton. She sees Clinton as a role model with the experience needed to work with Congress and pass legislation.
“She’s a woman who has persevered through political and domestic storms,” she said. “She is a strong woman who has been consistent in her support for women’s issues and for children’s issues.”
The gatherings in 400 cities and towns came a day after Republicans held their caucuses in Maine. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz beat New York businessman Donald Trump in the GOP contest in which the number of votes cast was more than triple the number in 2008.
The votes Sunday were used to select a slate of delegates to the state convention, where national delegates will be elected. Maine will send 25 pledged delegates and five superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.
Sonia Cook Broen, 34, said she was thinking of the future for her two children, ages 10 and 7, when she cast her vote for Sanders.
“People think he’s far left, but he’s just for the people,” she said. “Some people say that’s being a socialist. But I call that being a good human being.”
Sanders at a news conference Sunday night in Flint, Michigan, told reporters he was “moved very much” by the voter turnout and long lines in Maine.
“There were block after block after block of people lining up to participate,” he said.”
Democrats said more than 46,000 people participated in caucuses Sunday. Republican Party officials reported that 18,650 Republicans voted Saturday at 20 locations across the state.
A Glimpse of a Different Campaign
It was just what Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders had promised their supporters all along.
Rubio was routed in early races, but didn’t get discouraged. He pressed ahead with his message and connected with voters—and they responded by delivering a stunning, decisive margin affirming his potential.
That’s what happened on Sunday in Puerto Rico, where Rubio collected more than 70 percent of the vote—far more than he needed to sweep the island’s 23 delegates. Donald Trump was an afterthought, at 13 percent Ted Cruz a distant third and John Kasich a rounding error.
In the morning, though, the Republican race will return to the mainland, and to the grim reality confronting the Florida senator: Even with his latest win, he has no clear path to securing a majority of the delegates, and unless he can rally to win his own state, he may soon be forced from the race.
Bernie Sanders staged the political revolution he frequently invokes. He won the Maine caucuses decisively, defeating Hillary Clinton 64 to 36 percent, despite her institutional support. In Portland, so many voters came out to make their voices heard that the line stretched for more than a mile.
Sanders’s victory, like those the day before in Kansas and Nebraska, affirms his ability to prevail in contests that favor organization and grassroots support, and in states with predominately white electorates. He needs to continue to pile up wins in states like Maine. But they won’t be enough. Unless he can expand his reach beyond them, he, too, lacks a path to the nomination.
On Sunday night, Sanders faced that grim reality, as he debated Clinton in Flint, Michigan. Voters there will go to the polls on Tuesday—and the state is precisely the sort of contest that Sanders must begin to win if he wants to prevail at the convention.