BERNIE SANDERS won overwhelmingly two of the three states that voted yesterday, Tuesday, to choose the Democratic Party candidate for US president.
Sanders, who calls himself a socialist, is still finding a big audience for his message that the political and economic system is broken and needs to change.
In Idaho, Sanders won 78 percent of the vote. The establishment candidate Hillary Clinton took 21 percent.
In Utah, where there was a huge turnout, Sanders was leading Clinton by 80 percent to 20 percent with almost all the votes counted.
However in Arizona (the biggest of the three states voting) Clinton won by 58 percent to 40 percent.
Overall Sanders won more delegates last night than Clinton.
Sanders supporter Bud Jennings from San Juan county in Utah told Socialist Worker, “Like in other states it felt like the young people and the lower income people and the angry people voted for Bernie”.
There were complaints about the organisation of the Arizona voting. Many voters had to queue in hot temperatures for hours before reaching the front of the queue—only to discover that they were not registered to vote as they should have been.
Arizona is one of the primaries where you have to be a registered Democrat to vote in the Democratic primary. But scores of voters found they had wrongly been registered as independents, Republicans, or no party affiliation at all.
This may not have affected the overall result, but it could have altered the margin of Clinton’s victory. An official inquiry is taking place.
The next round of Democratic voting is this Saturday, 26 March, in the states of Washington, Hawaii, and Alaska. To maintain any serious hopes of winning, Sanders has to win all three.
If he doesn’t, it is likely he will soon have to decide whether to break from the pro-capitalist Democratic party or meekly hand over his support to Clinton with her neoliberal, pro-imperialist and racist policies.
In the Republican contests the thuggish Donald Trump, who has faced increasing protests, continues to extend his lead—but not decisively. The delegate count on the evening was expected to be Trump 58, Cruz 40, uncommitted 9.
Sanders is riding a wave of anger against inequality, the political elite’s corruption and inaction over climate change. Class issues, excluded from official debate for decades, are being forced onto the agenda.
This thirst for change, and the readiness to take action, are of greater long-term significance than any election campaign.
Today, in one of the most high-profile union battles, Chicago Teachers Union delegates will meet to confirm a one-day strike on 1 April.
They are fighting threats to their jobs and education from Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The strike is almost certain to go ahead, with workers preparing the action for weeks. The CTU has called 1 April under the slogan “Shut it down!” with appeals to students and other workers to protest as well.
An indefinite strike is planned to start in May.
The CTU’s nine day strike in 2012 won overwhelming support from people in the city—and defeated major planks of Emanuel’s “reform” programme for schools.
It won wide coverage as a model of trade unionism that reached out beyond the group of workers directly affected but crucially had hard-hitting strikes at the centre of the campaign.
Another win for the CTU could inspire workers again.
How are US presidents elected?
The US presidential election takes place every four years, and the next one is scheduled for 8 November.
The Republicans and the Democrats choose their candidate through a long process of primaries and caucuses.
Primaries are ballots open to all of the party’s supporters in a particular state. Caucuses are more like party meetings.
They both elect delegates to party conventions, who vote on the candidate. But there are also unelected delegates called “super delegates”.
The precise process differs between parties and states.