California, the most delegate-rich state on the Democratic primary calendar, has recently become almost a second home for the Vermont senator as he barnstorms there ahead of Tuesday's primary. In May alone, Sanders' more than two-dozen rallies in the state drew more than 160,000 people. The campaign expects its biggest turnouts this weekend in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“By the time our campaign in California is over on Monday, we will have spoken to a quarter-of-a-million people in California, face to face,” Sanders said Thursday at a news conference in Modesto. “That may well be unprecedented, but that’s the kind of campaign that we are running. It’s a grassroots campaign, it’s going directly to the people and I think that is why we stand an excellent chance to win it on Tuesday.”
Even if that happens, Sanders would still be far from overtaking
Counting her superdelegate support, Clinton is only 71 delegates short of the magic number of 2,383 needed to clinch the nomination, according to the Associated Press. She undoubtedly will reach that number on Tuesday, when voters cast ballots in California (475 delegates) and five other states. After that, only the District of Columbia’s June 14 primary will remain.
But a California victory would keep Sanders’ campaign going and help him make his case to superdelegates that he’s the best candidate to defeat presumptive GOP nominee
“If Sanders loses California, it’s hard for him to tell the superdelegates that ‘I’m the better candidate,’” said Bannon, who has stayed neutral in the race. “Even if he wins California, he’s not going to be the nominee, but he will keep his campaign alive and there will still be a lot of sniping between Sanders and Clinton. That means she can’t focus on what she wants to do, which is win over the Sanders people.”
Clinton leads Sanders in California by only about 6 points, according to a
Sanders’ focus on the state hasn’t gone unnoticed by Clinton’s campaign. Clinton, who defeated
“We need to be strong enough to take on Bernie’s grassroots army and Donald Trump at the same time,” Wicks wrote.
Clinton has a strong ground game and support from all major Democrats in the state, said Mindy Romero, director of the California Civic Engagement Project at the
But California has seen an unprecedented surge of newly registered voters – 1.1 million between January and April – driven largely by an easier online registration process launched in 2012, Romero said. Millennials aged 18-34 comprise more than 53% of those voters. That could bode well for Sanders, whose coalition includes young people and independents.