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California has the final day of its election on the third of March. This is 3 months sooner than in 2016. California is worth 416 pledged delegates. So far we know we will have one favorite daughter running. Kamala Harris. Beto is also popular among the monied classes of California. Julian Castro as likely the only Hispanic or Latino candidate looks to do well in California also. Bernie Sanders got 46% of the vote to Hillary Clinton's 54%. It took nearly a month after the election to finish counting the votes, as is typical of California.
Bernie Sanders is not like to reach his 2016 totals in a fractured field early in the primaries. As many as 10-20 candidates may still be actively campaigning on Super Tuesday out of the potential 35 candidates that will at some point visit early voting states. The goal for Bernie would be to be above the 15% threshold. Its unlikely that other progressives like Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown will break 15%. As such a majority of progressives, leftists, and independents will likely break for Sanders. I predict that in a campaign where Sanders makes a few high profile visits to the state but primarily lets volunteers operate with a small support staff from the campaign Bernie will get 20-25% of the vote. This is what he needs to set as a goal for his campaign. Harris will similarly be at 25% and Castro, Beto, and Biden will round out the top 5. As you heard in my previous article in the series, about what to do with resources campaigns would traditionally plow into Iowa, you need 15% of the vote to get delegates. This is why Warren and Brown and other mid tier candidates will likely bow out in California depending on the polling. The 54% of the vote gained by Clinton will likely split between the major 4 establishment candidates, assuming they all remain in the race. Anywhere from 20-25 would put Bernie on pace to win the primaries while 35% would indicate a chance to run the table in other states.
Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, and Massachusetts will be the other major states having primaries on the 3rd of March. A 30-40% showing in Texas, where Castro and Beto will dominate, if Beto decides to run, will be Bernie's goal. Elizabeth Warren will likely be out of the running by Super Tuesday if she has, as is likely based on her current campaign strategy, a poor showing in the early states. Sanders tied Clinton in Massachusetts in 2016. We can expect him to get 40-45% of the vote there this time around because that isn't one of his target states in a 50 state strategy. Virginia is a state that will likely follow Massachusetts although it will be a target state. 40-45% of the vote should be the goal. North Carolina is the state Sanders will want to go all out for on March 3rd. This was one of his best "Southern" states. He hit 40% of the vote here. With Kamala Harris and Cory Booker likely splitting the vote here fighting for the black block, Sanders has a chance, with superior organization and fundraising to break 50%. With Warren likely out no other candidate has much going on here. Beto and Castro are far away and without a strong Hispanic block to hook into.
Oklahoma and Vermont also vote the same day. Bernie will likely get another shutout in Vermont. Its hard to see who breaks his stranglehold. You'd expect vote splitting among the establishment and likely most candidates will just concede the state. +16 for Bernie. Oklahoma was a big state for Sanders in 2016. It's sort of Southern but more Missouri or Arkansas or Kansas than Alabama. With only perhaps Beto campaigning here at all, assuming he takes a regional candidate strategy, Sanders could pick up an even bigger win than 2016 with this as one of the states benefitting from him transcending Iowa as a battleground. Alabama is the last March 3rd state. Alabama is worth 52 delegates. Bernie could probably improve on his 19% of the vote here. In a later essay I will talk about the Southern campaign Bernie needs to mount to win. I'd give him 25-30% of the vote here. Solid for facing off against 2 black candidates that are viewed as more liberal than Clinton.
Louisiana comes on the 7th. Sanders got 23% here in 2016. So we can hope for a similar 25-35% to what we are looking for in Alabama.
On March 10th, Baby Super Tuesday, Sanders would come into his own in a 50 state strategy. Hawaii which he won decisively in 2016, the most diverse state in the union but with demographics not represented by any candidate and not easily comparable to the Deep South or the South West, will be his rock. Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Idaho all vote on the 10th of March. All 4 of those states are included in the 50 state strategy playbook. Idaho went for Sanders strongly in 2016 where he got 78% of the vote. None of the establishment candidates excepting perhaps Biden are any danger here. By this time Brown and Warren are out and even they probably wouldn't compete with Bernie.
Missouri, Michigan(the 2016 Michigan Miracle occurred here), and Ohio are all big Midwestern states, technically all swing states since Obama lost to McCain in Missouri by 1% in 2008, where few other candidates, Sherrod Brown obviously excepted, will have any sort of focus. Perhaps Harris or Booker will drop by St. Louis and Kansas City once or twice as the early primary states have already voted.Michigan and Ohio will be covered in more detail in the New Hampshire resource reallocation article. Sanders has little need to spend time or money there as he will net 40%+ of the vote with minimal effort. the 6th and final state of the day is Mississippi. Sanders took 17% of the vote here in 2016. A decent increase to reach 20-30% is enough for him to win, though like Alabama the South Carolina essay will cover the Southern plan.
Missouri, Ohio, and Michigan together have 329 delegates. Hawaii and Idaho total out to 42. 36 for Mississippi.
Finally the last elections close to California take place on the 17th. 2 weeks away. Barely making the cut. Illinois(155), Florida(219), and Arizona(67) delegates respectively. While Sanders did well in 2016 in Illinois despite Obama endorsing Hillary, Arizona in particular is good territory for Castro and Harris. Florida is also good for Castro but less so for Harris. Sanders got 33% here and it really cost him. Much like his unfortunate Texas results. While California is a bit of a red herring for a progressive candidate trying to win in 2020 Florida and Texas are crucial. Even more so than New York.
Some of the critical states have dates that are a bit up in the air. Georgia and Colorado may be on the 3rd. I'll update as better data is available. Sanders would be looking to win Illinois outright.