Whichever way the voting breaks, California’s June 7th Democratic Party presidential primary promises to be yuuuuuuge!
If Senator Bernie Sanders sweeps through most of the May primaries—winning states like Oregon, Montana, the Dakotas, and Kentucky by large margins—and then blows out Hillary Clinton in California next month, he’ll have a powerful argument to take to the Democratic Party’s late July convention in Philadelphia.
But should he win by just a nose in the Golden State—or even lose to the former Secretary of State—the Sanders campaign will have much less to say in Philadelphia and might even need to step aside so Hillary can battle Donald Trump alone, as so many in the media and Democratic Party hierarchy sincerely desire.
Lots of dynamics will be in play in this largest of all states. The state has a large number of younger voters, many of whom recently registered, which augurs well for Sanders. And independents can vote in the Democratic primary—a major plus for Bernie’s chances.
Still, 59% of likely Democratic voters are women and most of the state’s party leaders lined up early behind Clinton—which makes for a stiff challenge for the Sanders campaign.
But the deciding factor is likely to be which way California’s many Black, Brown, and Asian Pacific American voters decide to go.
Will People of Color Decide?
The White vote no longer rules the roost in California, casting just 48% of Democratic votes—slightly less than the combined Latino (26%), Asian Pacific American (13%), and African-American (10%) votes.
Clinton’s big lead in pledged delegates—and much of her argument that the race is over—comes from her overwhelming victories in the Deep South, much thanks to winning the Black vote there by huge margins.
More recently, her telling victory in New York came gift wrapped by the state’s African-American voters, who supported her by 75%, and Latinos, who swung behind her by 64%.
But Bernie has closed the gap considerably here in California. A year ago, he trailed Clinton by 50 points; more recently he has pulled close—and even in some polls—in part thanks to growing support among younger Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Pacific Americans. And California Latinos reportedly are registering to vote in unprecedented numbers, possibly another good sign for Bernie. Recent polls also show him moving solidly ahead among California’s growing APA population.
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Dick & Sharon