Why A Sanders Superdelegate Shifted His Support

by Lauren Holter

Bernie Sanders' campaign is hanging on for dear life, and vowing to stay in the Democratic nomination race until the very end. Tuesday's win in Oregon and tie in Kentucky proved he still has support among voters, but his real problem is that most of the party's superdelegates already support Hillary Clinton. Making matters even worse, one Sanders superdelegate shifted his support to Clinton this week as the senator fights to convince delegates to move the complete opposite direction.

Emmett Hansen II, the Democratic National Committeeman for the U.S. Virgin Islands, changed his candidate of choice after meeting with a Clinton representative and learning about her plans for territories like his group of small Caribbean islands. Clinton plans to give territories the right to vote in presidential elections and Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid provisions the states have, while the Sanders campaign is reluctant to take strong stances on such issues. "It comes down to one thing: what’s best for the Virgin Islands, to be fully incorporated into the United States," Hansen told Bloomberg.

The U.S. Virgin Islands will hold a Democratic caucus June 4, allocating seven of its total 12 delegates to Clinton and Sanders based on the votes, and Hansen is one of the delegates who will get to make up his own mind at the Democratic National Convention this summer.

Unfortunately for Sanders, it sounds like he's already made up his mind.

David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Hansen admitted that deciding to switch from Sanders to Clinton wasn't easy, but his efforts to convince the Sanders campaign to lay out plans regarding the issues important to him and the islands weren't successful. "I know a million different ways not to answer a question," he told Bloomberg.

He met with a Clinton representative just before Bill Clinton arrived in St. Croix to stump for his wife Monday. Bill told the people of St. Croix, "The Caribbean has staggering economic potential. And the American Virgin Islands ... they need equal treatment in health care, and they need a serious effort to liberate them from electric costs that are too high," further proving Hansen's point that Clinton takes the territory seriously.

In order to beat out Clinton for the Democratic nomination, Sanders needs to win over superdelegates already pledged to the former secretary of state — he just can't win otherwise. There are already 524 backing Clinton, while the Vermont senator has a measly 40 of the total 714 in his corner. As if Sanders wasn't already having a tough time, Hansen abandoning him is moving the superdelegate count in the wrong direction. Sanders promised to stay in the race up until the convention, but his prospects aren't looking any better.