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For now, Hillary Clinton is maintaining a double-digit lead over Bernie Sanders in polling ahead of New York’s Democratic primary. But she’s not taking any chances, and if the numbers get closer, both candidates could go into attack mode during Thursday’s debate in Brooklyn. But perhaps her bigger worry will come later. If she wins the nomination, she’ll have to woo Sanders’ supporters. One recent poll said that 1 in 4 of his voters wouldn’t support Clinton in a general election. Clinton, however, hopes her own experience will serve as a road map for Sanders.
Clinton reminded Newsday’s editorial board this week that she won “slightly more” popular votes than Barack Obama during the 2008 primary season, but that Obama’s delegate count was higher. She threw her support behind Obama, working “very hard to get him elected.” That meant convincing her delegates and supporters who had hoped for a convention floor fight.
“I had to spend a lot of hours persuading them not to do that, which I did,” Clinton said.
Then she stood in front of the convention in Denver and spoke forcefully.
“Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose,” she told the attendees. “We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.”
And, Clinton noted in our meeting with her on Tuesday, the “vast majority” of her voters turned around and voted for Obama in the general election that year. “Because I asked them to,” she said.
So, if Clinton wins enough delegates to secure the nomination, will Sanders follow the Clinton road map? During our discussion with her, Clinton pursed her lips and shrugged.
“I hope so,” she said. But she didn’t seem so sure.