Analysis: Sanders win ups pressure on moderates to coalesce

ASSOCIATED PRESS

For Bernie Sanders, not all victories are created equal. In 2016, Sanders carried New Hampshire by 22 points, pummeling Hillary Clinton and setting the stage for a protracted fight over the Democratic presidential nomination. On Tuesday, he won the state’s primary by less than 2 points, raising questions about his ability to broaden his coalition beyond his most loyal supporters. But the Vermont senator is benefiting from a crowded and fractured primary field, with several moderate candidates dividing up the rest of the vote. Taken together, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden drew support from more than 50 percent of New Hampshire voters — twice as much as Sanders. “It’s clear that a majority of Democrats do not want Bernie Sanders to be the nominee,” said Ben LaBolt, who advised President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. “But if the more pragmatic candidates do not consolidate in the weeks ahead — especially those hanging by a thread in the single digits — Sanders has a very real chance of winning the nomination.”

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