Bernie Sanders' victory in Michigan's Democratic primary on Tuesday was a big upset for front-runner Hillary Clinton in a state where polls had showed him far behind. It proved once again that he is a competitor when most had counted him out.
The Vermont senator is still far from catching up to Clinton, who won a commanding victory in Mississippi's primary Tuesday night and holds a significant delegate lead. Sanders headed into Tuesday's contests about 200 delegates behind Clinton, not including so-called superdelegates, and desperately needed a win to remain a legitimate contender in the race.
The Michigan victory, Sanders' first in a big and relatively diverse state, buys his campaign a lifeline and puts him back on a path that could at least conceivably end in him accepting the Democratic presidential nomination in July. And it underscores still lingering weaknesses with Clinton's candidacy.
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Just as Clinton and her allies began moving to ease Sanders aside and prepare for the general election, the results in Michigan suddenly make next Tuesday's contests in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois, seem more competitive.