Hillary won a majority of the delegates last night, but Bernie's the real victor. Not over Hillary, but over the expectation that he'd lose Michigan by a wide margin. In fact, he landed ever-so-slightly more delegates than Hillary.
He's two hundred ish delegates behind her (even more if you count superdelegates) but if he can pull off some more surprises, he might be able to catch up. All the requires is defying the data in just about every other state between now and the convention.
Will that happen? Probably not, but then again, he probably wasn't going to win in Michigan.
Here's the voting schedule for the next few weeks: We have a big voting day next Tuesday in the midwest and in Florida, where the number of delegates awarded means that the state counts a bit more than in most other states. Then the candidates bounce around the country, picking up delegates here and there in the outlying systems (Washington's Democratic caucus is at the end of March). There's a moderately important night in mid-april, with Pennsylvania; and another huge one in June with California.
In almost every single one of those races, Hillary is leading, often by a margin similar to that of Michigan's. For Bernie to pull ahead of her on delegate counts, he'll have to do more than beat her — he'll have to beat her by a large margin so that he gets extra delegates.
So what does this all mean? For now, that tonight's Univision debate will probably be a bit tense. (As usual, I'll be liveslogging it starting tonight at 6 pm.)
It also means that Bernie's going to need to find more messages that resonate with bigger chunks of voters. His shtick about how we should eat the rich is all very nice, but it appears as though voters in Michigan were won over by his strong position on keeping jobs and companies in the US.
That worked well in Michigan, where I don't know if you've heard but employment opportunities have not been great. Will it work in Florida? And Ohio? And California? Will it work well enough to not only defeat Hillary but defeat her by a lot?
Maybe, or maybe he'll have to start making more noise on a whole bunch of different issues.
For months, it's been kind of a running punchline how he manages to pivot every question about the corrupt political system. You could ask him how the weather is and somehow you'd get an earful about corporate welfare. Crazy people who get worked up about politics loved that, but now it's time for him to talk to the normals. He was able to to that, just barely, in Michigan. Now he'll need to do it a lot more everywhere else.