Obviously the appeal of Sanders to Democratic voters in Michigan was underestimated. But on the other hand, there was this:
I just keep meeting Dems in MI who say Hillary has the primary locked, so they cast anti-Trump votes for Kasich.— daveweigel (@daveweigel) March 8, 2016
When I first read that tweet, I thought Weigel was mocking a conspiracy theory about the Sanders win. Then I read his Washington Post story. He's serious.
[There was] a late surge of votes for Kasich, some of it from Democrats who saw him as the best option for slowing down Trump and Cruz. According to adjusted exit polls, 7 percent of Republican primary voters were Democrats, and 32 percent were independents -- the latter group gave Kasich 27 percent of the vote. Trump and Kasich were tied, 37 percent to 37 percent, among voters who called themselves "moderates."So congratulations, GOP establishment: your anti-Trump campaign worked ... with Democrats. You sent out a call for anti-Trump voters and Trump won three out of four contests, because your voters still give him solid pluralities, but you started the general election campaign early -- our general election campaign -- and we learned that your denunciation of your likely nominee really motivate our voters. That'll be really helpful in November, when it's just Trump vs. our candidate.
Plenty of Democrats found themselves at Kasich rallies, or choosing Kasich in the polling booth. Pollsters who saw an easy Michigan victory for Hillary Clinton convinced some liberals to cast a stop-Trump vote instead. Kasich's best performance came in Washtenaw County, home of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, and he overperformed in other college towns.
“I’m anti-Trump, anti-Cruz, anti-Rubio, and the Democrats don’t need my help right now,” said Kate Hude, a 38-year old attorney who came to Kasich’s final pre-primary rally in Lansing.
Will that candidate be Sanders? Well, on delegates he lost the night, so Clinton maintains a solid lead, even if you don't count superdelegates. And after this, it's likely that pro-Clinton voters won't take the results of Democratic contests as a given, at least outside the South (and nearly all the contests from here on will be outside the South). From here on there's a mix of open, closed, and semi-open contests. (Ohio's is not fully open, for instance.) On the other hand, Sanders is more popular than polls indicate. But he has an uphill climb.
Meanwhile, the Kasich thing baffles me. It's especially baffling that he won votes from Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in Michigan, given this:
... in 2011, Kasich pushed through a law barring public sector workers from collectively bargaining for better wages and working conditions -- a law that went beyond a similar move in Wisconsin by including firefighters and police. That law that was overwhelmingly overturned by voters a year later....It's true that, more recently, Kasich has withheld support for an effort by legislative Republicans to make Ohio a right-to-work state -- or at least he's responded to questions about the legislation with a weasel phrase, saying right to work is "not on my agenda." But he's clearly no friend to labor.
... just before ... Memorial Day weekend [in 2015], the Governor issued an executive order stripping away union rights from nearly 10,000 independent home health-care and in-home child-care workers.
He's also been signing a raft of anti-abortion bills, including one effectively defunding Planned Parenthood. Oh, and he backs a balanced budget amendment, which, if enacted, would severely hobble the government's efforts to provide services and deal with crises, and he backs the wingnut-supported Convention of States in order to get it passed.
Yet I know of quite a few moderately liberal people who think he's terrific. In a head-to-head with Hillary Clinton, he polls 7 points better than she does.
Fortunately for Democrats, he won't be the nominee. Trump will. Good job, GOP.