Bernie Sanders greets the "yuuuge" crowd at Safeco Field
Bernie Sanders greets the "yuuuge" crowd at Safeco Field (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Defy­ing the naysay­ers who have sug­gest­ed he’s out of fuel and momen­tum, Bernie Sanders scored anoth­er late-in-the-sea­son vic­to­ry tonight by scor­ing what could be a dou­ble-dig­it vic­to­ry in West Vir­gini­a’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic primary.

With 65.7% of precincts report­ing, Sanders had around 51% of the vote (an out­right major­i­ty), with Clin­ton well behind at 36.5%. A few gad­flies accom­pa­nied Mar­tin O’Mal­ley in the sin­gle digits.

West Vir­ginia Demo­c­ra­t­ic Pres­i­den­tial Pri­ma­ry Results
Tues­day, May 10th, 2016

Bernie Sanders51%86,406
Hillary Clin­ton36.5%61,780
Paul Far­rell8.7%14,783
Kei­th Judd1.8%3,103
Mar­tin O’Mal­ley (inac­tive)1.5%2,622
Rocky De La Fuente0.4%755

Speak­ing at a ral­ly in Salem, Ore­gon, Sanders cheered the result and declared that he is in it to win it, even though the math is hard. “We can do arith­metic,” he said, in a swipe at the pun­dits who have sug­gest­ed he’s ignor­ing the data that shows Clin­ton is on her way to clinch­ing the nomination.

Mean­while, his cam­paign tweet­ed, “Thank you to the peo­ple of West Vir­ginia for the tremen­dous vic­to­ry they gave us today.”

Atten­dees at the Sanders ral­ly roared their approval when Sanders declared that fear­mon­ger and pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump must be defeat­ed in the Novem­ber 2016 gen­er­al elec­tion. Sanders tout­ed polls show­ing that he does bet­ter against Trump in head-to-head matchups, as he often does on the stump.

Clin­ton’s cam­paign has so far opt­ed not to com­ment on the results, instead choos­ing to tweet out a pic­ture of Hillary Clin­ton with a group of moms.

Sanders’ endurance is giv­ing some of Clin­ton’s estab­lish­ment back­ers heartburn.

For­mer DNC Chair­man Don Fowler groused to Politi­co, “The defeat in Indi­ana I was just hor­ri­fied at, frankly… The longer Bernie stays in, and the longer he is not math­e­mat­i­cal­ly out of the process, the weak­er we’re going to seem to be.”

Fowler should quit wor­ry­ing and enjoy the ride. A com­pet­i­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­test that runs all the way through nom­i­nat­ing sea­son is good for par­ty­build­ing. It gives peo­ple in all fifty states plus the ter­ri­to­ries a rea­son to turn out and par­tic­i­pate. And it’s good for who­ev­er becomes the nom­i­nee because it ensures they have a rea­son to be out cam­paign­ing and work­ing to earn votes.

In 2008, Hillary Clin­ton her­self went the dis­tance with Barack Oba­ma, and refused to drop out until Oba­ma had the nom­i­na­tion sewn up. She announced that she would sus­pend her cam­paign on June 7th, 2008. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty sub­se­quent­ly uni­fied around Barack Oba­ma, who went on to win a sweep­ing vic­to­ry in the Novem­ber 2008 gen­er­al election.

Clin­ton did not do Oba­ma a dis­ser­vice by stay­ing in the race all the way through nom­i­nat­ing sea­son in 2008. Like­wise, Bernie Sanders is not hurt­ing Clin­ton by keep­ing his cam­paign active this year. The time for uni­ty is approach­ing, but in the mean­time, there’s noth­ing wrong with let­ting the peo­ple vote.

The next states to hold con­tests will be Ken­tucky and Ore­gon. Ore­gon will be the last of the states in the Pacif­ic North­west to hold a nom­i­nat­ing event on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side. (Wash­ing­ton, Alas­ka, and Ida­ho held cau­cus­es in March.)

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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One reply on “Bernie Sanders wins in West Virginia; celebrates with victory speech in Oregon”

  1. Bernie def­i­nite­ly has a mes­sage and it’s res­onat­ing. I’m a Clin­ton guy and I think it’s great what he has done for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party.

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