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Sanders Wins Democratic Landslides in Hawaii, Alaska, Washington State

  • VOA News

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaks at a campaign stop in Madison, Wis., March 26, 2016.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaks at a campaign stop in Madison, Wis., March 26, 2016.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly won Saturday's Democratic caucuses in the western states of Washington, Alaska and Hawaii, inching closer in his bid to chase down party front-runner Hillary Clinton in the race to become the next U.S. president.

Sanders won 82 percent of the vote in Alaska and more than 70 percent in both Washington and Hawaii. Democratic rules award delegates on a proportional basis, meaning even with Saturday's losses Clinton still gets a chunk of delegates.

"We knew things were going to improve as we headed west," Sanders said Saturday while campaigning in the northern state of Wisconsin. Clinton dominated the southern states earlier in the nominating contest calendar, but Sanders has won five of the last six states, all located in the western part of the country.

Even with Saturday's victories, Sanders trails Clinton - the former secretary of state - by just under 300 pledged delegates and faces a tough path to overtake her and seize the nomination.

Clinton's lead is even more substantial when taking into account the hundreds of so-called super delegates, almost all of whom support her.

Still, Sanders refuses to quit and remains a formidable opponent to Clinton in some places that have yet to hold their votes.

Democrats compete next on April 5 in Wisconsin and again April 9 in the sparsely populated state of Wyoming. Clinton is focusing on April 19 when voters in New York, the state she once represented as a senator, decide how to allocate their 291 delegates.

Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders cheer for the Vermont senator at a campaign stop in Madison, Wis., March 26, 2016.

Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders cheer for the Vermont senator at a campaign stop in Madison, Wis., March 26, 2016.

Clinton anticipated Saturday's losses. She barely campaigned in any of the three western states, making just one day of stops in Washington state, and was spending the Easter weekend with her family.

Clinton, in a speech Wednesday after the deadly attacks in Brussels, focused her attention on Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and what she called their "reckless" foreign policies.

"We need to to rely on what actually works, not bluster that alienates our partners and doesn't make us any safer," Clinton said.

Bernie Sanders supporter Maryellen Lambert reacts at the Democratic Party caucus in Anchorage, Alaska, March 26, 2016.

Bernie Sanders supporter Maryellen Lambert reacts at the Democratic Party caucus in Anchorage, Alaska, March 26, 2016.

Sanders, who is very popular with "millennials" — generally, people born from the early 1980s to 2000 — and first-time voters, has said, "We need a political revolution."

Analysts had said Saturday's trio of contests might favored Sanders because Democratic caucuses tend to attract the most active liberal members of the party.

Trump details foreign policy views

Meanwhile, Trump outlined his foreign policy views in an extended interview with The New York Times that was published Saturday.

During a pair of telephone conversations totaling 100 minutes, the Republican presidential front-runner gave a fuller picture of what policies and initiatives he would pursue abroad if elected.

Trump said he would threaten to stop buying oil from Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies unless they committed ground troops to the fight against the Islamic State, or “substantially reimburse” Washington for fighting the militant group.

He also said he would also consider renegotiating many fundamental treaties with U.S. allies, including the security pact with Japan, to make terms more favorable to the United States. He said this could include allowing Japan and South Korea to build their own nuclear arsenals, asking countries to better compensate Washington for security agreements backed by U.S. armed forces, and creating an alternative to NATO focused on counterterrorism.

The billionaire real estate developer also said he would consider using trade to push back on China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Trump did not rule out spying on American allies, and he criticized the Iran nuclear deal, saying it was particularly wrongheaded because it freed up some $150 billion in Iranian funds but did nothing to repeal the sanctions that bar most U.S. companies from striking trade deals with Tehran.

Some information for this report came from AP, Reuters and AFP.

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