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Path to nomination: Longshot candidates hope to come from behind

John Kasich and Bernie Sanders are still running what seem to be futile campaigns for their respective parties’ nominations. 

Despite his big win in Ohio over Spring Break, John Kasich has already passed the point in the primary where he can win enough delegates to secure the Republican nomination outright. Kasich only has 143 of the 1,200 delegates needed.  However, his campaign is still proceeding in full force. The only glimmer of hope for him at this point is that Trump also still has a long way to go to secure the nomination as well.

While Trump saw a big victory in Arizona on March 22, he also saw a large defeat in the state of Utah, which went to the Cruz campaign. Utah is a massive win for both Cruz and Kasich, as at this point any Trump loss makes it that much more likely a contested convention will be held.

There is one more major hurdle for the Kasich campaign however. Even if Cruz and Kasich are able to bring the campaign to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, current rules state that you must have a victory in at least eight states or territories to be allowed to run at said convention. This rule was put in place when Ron Paul attempted to usurp Mitt Romney as the party’s nominee in 2012. The convention’s rules committee meets before the convention every year but any major change to the rules that late in the game would send red flags to the Trump campaign and open the doors for a possible attempt at a third party candidacy by Trump. Ted Cruz is affected by this rule as well, but with the victory in Utah he currently has wins in seven territories, and will likely pick up at least one more before the race is finished.

On Saturday the newly dubbed ‘Birdie Sanders’ saw a glimmer of hope with victories in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington State. While giving a speech to a massive crowd in Seattle a bird flew down and landed on the candidate’s podium, giving rise to the latest of the internet’s viral photos and his new nickname. 

While the bird provided some “powerful symbolism” as Mr. Sanders himself said, and the three victories are certainly wins for the campaign, many believe it is too little too late. Even discounting superdelegates (who are all but certain to support the Clinton campaign unless Sanders can pull off a miracle) Sanders is still trailing by a few hundred delegates entering the final leg of the race. 

While this is daunting, it is not impossible for Sanders to still pull out a victory. One thing is certain, he did exactly what he needed to do on Saturday: winning the three proportional states by significant margins, drastically limiting the delegates Clinton was able to attain from the day.

If Sanders is able to keep this momentum going the Democratic nomination will likely be decided by the superdelegates.

Between slim hopes for a brokered convention and “Birdie” Sander’s slim hopes for converting superdelegates both longshots still have a realistic, albeit difficult, road to their nominations. 

This election is still anyone’s game.

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