Tuesday night brought a pair of primaries in the Democratic schedule, with all eyes turning to the states of Kentucky and Oregon ― not typically considered the most similar states in the union, perhaps, but bound together for at least one night as part of the Democratic nominating race. And as always, when you're talking about the Democratic primaries right now, it is quite literally all about the pledged delegates, since they historically dictate above all else who wins the nomination. So, how many delegates did Bernie Sanders win in Kentucky? Update: The New York Times reports that Sanders earned 27 delegates in Kentucky; Clinton also won 27.
Earlier: The simple fact is, even wins and losses don't much matter anymore, thanks to the current shape of the race. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has, at this point, a virtually unbreakable grip on her party's nomination, boasting a pledged delegate lead of 283 at the start of Tuesday, May 17, despite a hard-fought race by Sanders and his campaign.
Making up ground is very difficult this late in the process, as well. The Democratic Party exclusively uses a proportional system of awarding pledge delegates, meaning that narrow victories don't even cut it. Absent some overwhelming wins for Sanders in the remaining states (he needs to win about 65 percent of all the remaining delegates), the race is effectively already over. But he hasn't conceded anything, and he's scraping and fighting for every spare delegate he can get ― thus, the Kentucky Democratic primary was still a competitive affair, even at this late date on the calendar.
So, did anything change substantially after Tuesday night? As of the time of this writing, according to The New York Times, Sanders trails Clinton by less than 2,000 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting, and he's claimed 25 out of the state's 55 delegates so far, compared to Clinton's equal share at 25. That leaves five delegates still unaccounted for, as the late returns trickle in.
This much is clear, however, regardless of where the final count shakes out: Bernie Sanders lost Kentucky, and he'll make himself out of the massive hole he's currently in. He desperately needs to find some way to overtake Clinton's pledged delegate lead if he truly still thinks he can win this thing like he insists he can ― for all the controversy surrounding the Democratic superdelegates, they've never once bucked the will of the Democratic electorate.
Basically, if Sanders somehow managed to pass Clinton in pledged delegates, the pressure would turn up on the superdelegates to fall in line behind him, and if history is any judge they ultimately would. But after Tuesday night, there are a mere six states to go, as well as contests in Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., among others, meaning that he needs to win big everywhere. And sad to say for Sanders and his supporters, the Democratic voters of Kentucky simply did not cooperate.