But that won’t stop him from trying to achieve the impossible
Once all the votes are counted in the Empire State, Sanders will get a proportional share of the 247 pledged delegates. To turn things around, Sanders needs to start winning many more contests by double digits.
The next series of states — Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island — vote on Tuesday, April 26.
Clinton holds double-digit leads in the polls in Maryland, as well as in delegate-heavy Pennsylvania. Not enough polls have been conducted in Connecticut, Delaware or Rhode Island to gauge where the race really stands there, but all three states have closed primaries, a system that so far has been a hindrance for Sanders, as voters not registered as Democrats are barred from a ballot.
California, by far the biggest prize left in the race, with a total of 475 pledged delegates, offers some hope for the Vermont senator. Recent polls have shown him closing the gap in the state to single digits. There’s still time for him to gain, but he would need to gain by greater margins than he’s seen so far in the race and win other remaining states by double digits.
Adding in superdelegates brings Clinton’s pre-New York total to 1,758 delegates and Sanders to 1,076 — a deficit that was already nearly impossible for him to overcome, but one he hopes to surmount by winning the pledged delegate count and swaying the superdelegates to come his way.
Sanders and his supporters have argued that superdelegates could make the difference in the outcome. One supporter has gone so far as to create a hit list of all the Democratic superdelegates, an attempt to target and persuade them to change their vote to Sanders.
But there is no conceivable scenario in which superdelegates would switch their votes if Sanders hasn’t won the pledge delegate tally. Even if superdelegates weren’t an issue — say they were eliminated altogether — Clinton would still be better positioned than Sanders to win, simply because she’s been winning delegate-heavy states by a greater margin. Convincing superdelegates to switch would also require convincing them to go against the popular vote: Clinton leads overall by 2.4 million votes so far.
Despite the challenge that Sanders faces, he has little incentive to drop out of the race anytime soon. His campaign raised $43.5 million during February, outpacing Clinton, who raised $30.1 million. Sanders has pledged to take the race to the convention, even if behind, in order to represent his followers there and work to inject his progressive agenda into the party platform and bloodstream.
(This story has been updated to include the latest available fundraising figures. A previous version quoted figures from the last quarter of 2015.)