Lifted by three weekend wins in western states, Bernie Sanders called on Hillary Clinton, his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, to debate him before the primary in delegate-rich New York.
Interviewed Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Vermont senator told moderator Chuck Todd that he believed the so-called superdelegates would be open to throwing in with the Sanders campaign, as his bid for the White House gains needed momentum. Despite the wins in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state, Sanders faces a challenge of the delegate math.
“Going forward, you’ve got to continue to win by margins like this to catch up to Hillary Clinton,” Todd said. “Can you win 60 percent of the vote or more in Wisconsin, in Pennsylvania, in New York, in Maryland? How does this success in caucuses translate to primaries?”
“Our calculations are that in fact we can win the pledged delegates,” Sanders said. “And at a time when we have the momentum, we have won five out of the six last contests in landslide fashion, in all of the national polling that I have seen, we are beating Donald Trump by much greater margins than is Secretary Clinton.
“We started this campaign at 3 percent in the polls, 60 points behind Clinton,” he said. “Now in the last poll that I’ve seen, we’re one point up. So we have the momentum that I think a lot of the superdelegates are now beginning to look at which Democratic candidate is in the best place to defeat Donald Trump. I think some of them are beginning to understand that it’s Bernie Sanders.”
Pressed by Todd on how Sanders would sharpen distinctions between himself and Clinton, Sanders spoke of how that’s already happening, and what he’d propose next.
“[W]hat we are trying to do in this campaign is to differentiate our positions from Secretary Clinton on the war in Iraq, on fracking, on how we raise money. That is what the American people want to hear,” Sanders said. “I would hope very much that as we go into New York State, Secretary Clinton’s home state, that we will have a debate, New York City, upstate, wherever, on the important issues facing New York and in fact the country.”