Bernie Sanders Is Poised to Make a Very Weird Kind of History Tonight

Update: No he didn’t.

<a href="">Phil Roeder</a>/Flickr

Update, 5/17: It finally happened. Hillary Clinton won a county called Clinton County. Her long national nightmare is over. Read below for the original piece.

Bernie Sanders can make history in Tuesday night’s Kentucky Democratic primary. No, he can’t clinch the Democratic presidential nomination, nor is he likely to score a big win that convinces superdelegates to switch their allegiances en masse. But if he can beat Hillary Clinton in Kentucky’s Clinton County, he will have defeated Clinton in all nine of the Clinton Counties in the United States.

Let’s take a look at where things stand, by way of the New York Times’ excellent interactive maps:

Iowa (2/1):

Michigan (3/8):

Illinois (3/15):

Missouri (3/15):

Ohio (3/15):


New York (4/19):


Pennsylvania (4/26):

Indiana (5//3):

The nine counties are named for two different men from New York state—George Clinton, who was vice president to both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and former Gov. Dewitt Clinton, the planner of the Erie Canal. So it makes sense that the various counties reflect the Yankee migration into the Midwest (or old Northwest) or are in places that might have benefited from the canal’s economic boom. More to the point, people in the South, where Clinton has dominated, tended not to name their counties after New York politicians.

Still, Kentucky’s Clinton County could put the streak in jeopardy. It is similar in demographics to two bordering counties in Tennessee, Pickett County and Clay County, which Clinton won handily in that state’s Super Tuesday primary. There is only one Sanders County in the United States, named for the former Montana Sen. Wilbur Fisk Sanders. Clinton will have her chance at payback when Montana votes on June 7.