By Eric Bradner, CNN
Bernie Sanders reeled off three victories on Saturday, but Hillary Clinton still has a big delegate lead — and poll numbers that give her good reason to look forward to November.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, has no plans to quit stirring up controversies on Twitter anytime soon. And Ohio Gov. John Kasich has no interest in helping Texas Sen. Ted Cruz consolidate the anti-Trump resistance in the key state of Wisconsin.
Here are five developments from another busy weekend in politics:
What’s next for Sanders
It was the three-state sweep the Vermont senator had been waiting for — and his margins of victory in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii were impressive, with every victory by at least 40 percentage points.
But he’s still far behind Clinton.
So Sanders is looking to make a big move. On Sunday, he challenged Clinton to another debate — this one in New York, before the state’s April 19 primary.
In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sanders insisted that “we think we do have a path to victory.”
But he acknowledged his campaign plans to push superdelegates to back off their endorsements of Clinton — with the anti-establishment senator suddenly courting the Democratic establishment.
“I think when they begin to look at the reality, and that is that we in poll after poll are beating Donald Trump by much larger margins than is Secretary Clinton … A lot of these superdelegates may rethink their position for Secretary Clinton. A lot of them have not yet declared,” he said.
He also predicted those superdelegates will fall under pressure to support the winners of their states and congressional districts.
“I think their people are going to say to them, look, why don’t you support the people of our state, vote Bernie Sanders,” Sanders said.
The Wisconsin showdown
The Democratic and Republican candidates are all descending on Wisconsin ahead of its April 5 primary — turning on the style of retail politicking that’s been largely absent since Iowa and New Hampshire voted.
The state is the only major date on the calendar between now and New York’s April 19 primary. As the only gauge of momentum on the schedule for nearly four weeks, it will get a ton of focus from all sides.
The stakes are especially high for the Republicans.
Right now, the state looks like a closely fought duel between Cruz and Trump. But Ohio Gov. John Kasich looks likely to appeal to the state’s suburban moderates — and there’s no indication he’s swayed at all by Cruz’s argument that he should stand aside and allow the Texas senator to consolidate the anti-Trump vote alone.
“I mean, get out for what? If I’d have gotten out, Trump would be the nominee. He would have won Ohio,” Kasich said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
“And frankly, we’ll win some districts in Wisconsin. We will move to Pennsylvania, where I’m basically in a statistical tie with Trump,” he said. “And when we go to New York and everywhere else, we’re going to pick up delegates. So, I mean, it’s absurd. It’s absurd. You know, if you really want, let them consolidate behind me, because frankly, I’m the one that can win in the fall. And I’m the one that can get the crossover votes.”
Delegate count doesn’t change much
It’s at least as unlikely that anyone not named Trump reaches 1,237 delegates in time to clinch the Republican nomination before the party’s convention in July in Cleveland.
Tactically, it’s all about stopping Trump from reaching that mark so that Cruz and Kasich can extend the battle. But the two aren’t on the same page strategically.
Still, there’s a narrow path on which they both play a role: Cruz takes the winner-take-all states of South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska; Kasich beats Trump in East Coast urban and suburban areas rich with moderates; and they both hope for a couple breaks along the way.
But it starts with denying Trump in Wisconsin. A victory there, and he’d carry a bigger delegate lead and two more weeks of bragging rights into his home state on April 19 and then the five East Coast states that follow — Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania — a week later.
On the Democratic side, Sanders reeled off three wins on Saturday, but it was nowhere near enough to catch the lead Clinton had already built.
The Democratic state of play now: Clinton has 1,733 delegates (1,251 “pledged,” which she’s won in states that have voted so far, and 482 superdelegates), Sanders has 1,039 (1,012 pledged and 27 superdelegates).
It takes 2,363 delegates to win the nomination — and since every contest on the docket is “proportional,” meaning Sanders can’t claim any winner-take-all victories to quickly close the gap, it means something dramatic would have to happen to either cause Clinton’s superdelegates to abandon her or somehow give Sanders wins by a margin of better than 2-to-1 the rest of the way.
Clinton eyes Trump
If Sanders got good news in the Democratic primary, Clinton received potentially even better news ahead of a possible general-election matchup with Trump. Poll after poll in recent days has shown her well ahead of the billionaire businessman — with leads among white women, in particular, that would make it tough for Trump to recover.
All along, the story of Trump’s campaign has been his Teflon nature.
But that nothing-sticks quality has only been proven with about half of the Republican primary electorate. In the general election, his bombastic comments and stylistic tendencies could prove much more damaging.
Clinton tried to argue she’s not paying any attention at all to the general election in an appearance Thursday night on Jimmy Kimmel’s comedy talk show.
“This election has not really settled into what it’s going to be for the general election. I’m still hoping to get the nomination for the Democratic Party. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m working really, really hard,” Clinton said.
“The other side is totally up in the air. And so, we don’t know yet how it’s going to actually take shape,” she said. “I don’t think any poll right now about what happens in November makes sense.”
Still, Clinton has directed her public shots increasingly in Trump’s direction — like at Stanford University last week, when she said a Trump victory, in terms of foreign policy, “would be like Christmas in the Kremlin.”
Trump on Twitter
Only Democrats held elections on Saturday. But Trump managed to keep Republicans in the spotlight, too, largely thanks to his Twitter feud with Cruz and his wife, Heidi Cruz.
Would a President Trump keep setting off media storms by tweeting and retweeting late at night from the White House? That’s what ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked Trump on “This Week.”
Probably not, the businessman said.
“It’s a great way of communicating, as far as I’m concerned, but I’m not going to be doing it very much as president,” Trump said.
But there’s no sign Trump’s appetite for controversy has been satisfied by the race so far.
He denounced a “crooked” and “rotten” political system, saying it’s enabling Cruz to attempt to steal the nomination from Trump.
“I have millions of votes more than ‘Lyin’ Ted.’ I have millions — millions of votes more,” Trump said.
“I have a guy going around trying to steal people’s delegates. This is supposed to be America, a free America. This is supposed to be a system of votes where you go out, you have elections, free elections,” he said.
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By Eric Bradner, CNN