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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 1, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 14
Bernie Sanders overwhelms Washington with his big caucus win
Section One
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Bernie Sanders overwhelms Washington with his big caucus win

by Victor Hawthorne - SGN Staff Writer

Bernie Sanders won the Washington state caucus on Saturday by a huge margin. Winning every county in the state, Sanders took 73 percent of caucus-goers compared to Hillary Clinton's 27 percent.

'We knew things were going to improve when we headed west,' Sanders told an ecstatic crowd at a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin as the results were announced.

Sanders also overwhelmingly took home the day's two smaller prizes, Alaska and Hawaii. Taking 13 of 16 delegates from Alaska and 17 of 25 delegates from Hawaii, Sanders demonstrated that he was a force to be reckoned with out West.

While analysts have projected that his odds of being the Democratic nominee remain long, Sanders said 'we have a path towards victory,' adding that it was 'hard for anyone to deny that our campaign has the momentum.'

Heavy turnout throughout Washington state overwhelmed some caucus locations, including all four Capitol Hill locations. The line spilling out of the Miller Community Center looped around the parking lot and out onto 19th Ave. E. in what turned out to be a cheerful, spirited, and friendly Saturday afternoon.

Participants did not seem bothered by the longer than anticipated process, with many people chatting in line, drinking coffee, and enjoying the warmth of what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day.

A similar scene unfolded outside of Century Ballroom - multiplied by a factor of ten. Voters spilled out of the building and stretched out onto 10th Avenue before curving down E. Pike St. and beyond. The event also swelled out into Cal Anderson Park, and Central Lutheran Church. Organizers seemed overwhelmed at times, as they struggled to direct people to last minute caucus locations while a few participants left due to confusion and time constraints.

Impassioned neighbors engaged in lively debates over the merits of Clinton versus Sanders, with many Clinton supporters referencing her experience, the need for a first woman president, and her ability to beat Trump in the general election. Sanders voters on the other hand stressed Sander's progressive vision, his unapologetic authenticity and his dedication to the truth.

One woman explained why she was voting for Sanders, saying,'The most important thing for me in my life is to be myself no matter what. That is who Bernie Sanders is. He is the same Bernie that he was 20 and 30 years ago, you cannot say the same about Clinton.'

Sander's populist appeal here isn't just confined to Democrats. The once unheard of Senator from Vermont has even managed to win over a handful of Washington state Republicans.

At Edmonds-Woodway High School in Snohomish County, Marian Squibb caucused as a Democrat for the first time. 'My husband and I always voted Republican,' she said. 'This is my first time ever caucusing as a Democrat.'

Leaning towards Sanders, Squibb said that her adult children were Democrats and expressed concern over the candidates on the Republican side.

'And I don't care for the Republican candidates this time around. Trump, he's the worst. His language, he shouldn't be using it,' she said.

While the vast majority of Washington state's 101 pledged delegates will go to Sanders, most of the state's 16 unpledged delegates have already expressed their support for Clinton, including Governor Inslee, both U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and all six Democrats in the state's U.S. House delegation.

Sanders' wins on Saturday no doubt refueled his campaign, with over 4 million dollars raised since his trio of wins and a new Public Policy Poll in Wisconsin showing him ahead of Clinton by 6 points, up 7 points from being down by one point just last week.

The math in the remaining states seems to overwhelmingly favor Hillary Clinton, but there's no denying Bernie Sanders is giving the former Secretary of State a run for her money as he continues to surprise her, his supporters, and possibly even himself.

While some Democrats see Bernie Sanders as a distraction to the real contest heading into the summer, most admit that Bernie Sanders is having a major impact on this election by forcing Clinton to take more progressive policy positions.

Win or lose the nomination in June, Bernie Sanders will come out a winner no matter what.

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