What happens if Bernie Sanders wins Iowa

What happens if Bernie Sanders wins Iowa
Credit: Greg Nash

If you’re dreaming of Bernie Sanders beating Hillary Clinton, you know how the movie begins (he wins Iowa on Monday1), how it ends (he accepts the nomination to a Simon & Garfunkel tune), and one of the major plot lines (black, Hispanic and moderate Democrats, who for now prefer Clinton to Sanders, begin to #feelthebern). You also know who the hapless villain is: Democratic party elites (aka “the establishment”), who will be fighting Sanders every step of the way.

Otherwise, the details are fuzzy. We’re not quite sure how Sanders pulls off this Wes Anderson caper.

Sanders is highly competitive in the first two states, Iowa (where he’s only narrowly behind Clinton) and New Hampshire (where he leads her). However, those states are favorable for Sanders demographically, with Democratic turnout dominated by Sanders’s base of white liberal voters. The question is whether Sanders can expand his coalition into more diverse states that will vote later on and where African-Americans, Hispanics and white moderates make up a larger share of the electorate. He won’t need to win every voter in these groups, but he’ll need enough of them to go from the roughly one-third of Democratic voters he captures in national polls now to the 50-percent-plus he’ll need eventually.

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