After losses, Sanders sees favorable territory ahead

Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders described his path to the nomination and contrasted himself with party front-runner Hillary Clinton. This interview aired on CBS' "Face the Nation" on March 20, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont... 06:01

Coming off tough losses in Ohio and four other states last week, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said the worst of the calendar is behind him--and that despite getting "creamed" in the Deep South, he's poised for victories on Tuesday and beyond.

"The states that are coming up just on Tuesday--we've got Idaho, we got Utah, we got Arizona, we're heading out West, we're then heading to New York," he said in an interview for CBS' "Face the Nation." "...I think as we go forward, you're going to see us doing better and better."

Sanders lost all five states that voted last Tuesday to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, including several--Illinois, Ohio and Missouri--in which his campaign was hoping to do well. The losses led some pundits to start questioning whether, delegate-wise, there's a legitimate path forward for Sanders.

Ultimately, Sanders pointed out, he and Clinton received relatively similar delegate hauls in some of those states because of the proportional allocation system.

"At the end of the day if you look at Michigan, if you look at Illinois, if you look at Missouri, we come out almost the same in terms of delegates," he said.

And the senator says there's reason for his campaign to be optimistic: the South has mostly cast its votes, while the more progressive West Coast is mostly still up for grabs.

"As we head to the West Coast, which is probably the most progressive part of America, the ideas we are fighting for ... I think the people in those states really are not going to be voting for establishment politics and establishment economics," he said.

Sanders doesn't think his movement is slowing down, despite the fact that Clinton has received almost two million more votes than him.

"What you're really talking about is she did very well in the Deep South--she creamed us in Mississippi and Alabama and South Carolina," he said. "Now I wish I didn't have to say this, but everything being equal no Democrat right now--I hope that changes, and I think it will--is going to win those states in the general election."

He noted that involving people in the political process throughout the primary season is the best way to ensure strong turnout for Democrats in November, whoever ends up as the nominee.

"If we're serious about a Democratic winning in November, you've got to involve people in the process. We want a large voter turnout," he said. "The way you get a large voter turnout is to take the differences between Secretary Clinton and myself to every state in this country, get people involved in that debate."

As for convention math, even though it's highly unlikely that Sanders could get the delegates necessary to win the nomination outright, he acknowledged that flipping superdelegates who support Clinton is part of his campaign's strategy.

"The whole concept of superdelegates is problematic," he said. "But I would say in states where we have won by 20, 25 points, you know what, I think it might be a good idea for superdelegates to listen to the people in their own state."

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    Emily Schultheis

    Emily Schultheis is a reporter/editor for CBS News Digital.