I don’t recall reading any predictions before last weekend’s party caucuses in Maine saying that Sen. Ted Cruz was a lock for the Republican nod and Sen. Bernie Sanders had the Democratic vote in his hip pocket. But that’s what happened.

Since then, to be sure, Donald Trump continues to win, up this week by 99 delegates over Cruz, but his lead in national polls is narrowing.

If his delegate count falls short of a first-ballot victory at the nominating convention in July, expect a ton of squawking and screaming, along with flying feathers and gigantic tufts of ripped-out fur. Hey, I’m looking forward to it.

But remember there is still a contest on the Democratic side, although Hillary Clinton is being given such overwhelming odds of winning that some people wonder why Sanders keeps trying.

The Dowager Countess of Chappaqua’s advantage in “superdelegates” would seem to make all the primaries and caucuses an exercise in futility for any unanointed outsider.

But their pledges to support her aren’t legally binding, something Nate Sliver’s fivethirtyeight.com website finds significant, because, as he wrote Feb. 12, “some of them probably will switch to Sanders if he extends his winning streak into more diverse states and eventually appears to have more of a mandate than Clinton among Democratic voters.”

Along that line, she once led by more than 20 points in Michigan, and just lost it to a socialist from Vermont in a huge (or yuuge?) upset. Are the polls that far off in other Midwestern contests?

Still, she remains the favorite to win a straight-up nomination fight. But maybe Sanders knows – or at least suspects – something that might affect that outcome.

What could that be? Not campaign funding: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who hates Big Gulps and gun owners (possibly not in that order), has determined that his bottomless money bags still can’t buy him the presidency, so he’s announced he won’t make the independent run he’s been not-so-secretly pondering.

True, Sanders is taking in decent money – he’s logged his 5 millionth donation and in February took in $42.7 million to Clinton’s $30 million – but lags way behind on delegates.

Including superdelegates on both sides, he now has 574 to Clinton’s 1,223, according to a Bloomberg News report Thursday. The nomination requires 2,383 delegates, and 2,973 remain to be chosen.

So, he’s either in it for the publicity and the chance to make his points – not bad motives, as long as the money keeps rolling in – or he somehow hopes he can still win.

But how? The answer might be found in an MSNBC story Feb. 8, which stated, “In a letter disclosed (that day) in a federal court filing, the FBI confirms one of the world’s worst-kept secrets: It is looking into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.” But the agency said it couldn’t say any more “without adversely affecting ongoing law enforcement efforts.”

The filing made mincemeat of Clinton’s contentions that “the issue is closed” and that what the FBI has been doing is merely “a security review.” An investigation is clearly ongoing – and, outside of its own staff, the FBI doesn’t do security reviews; it investigates potential criminal activity.

In that context, the State Department release of 30,000 of Clinton’s private emails from her term as secretary of state have disclosed that:

Some 2,093 of her emails were classified as “confidential” or “secret.”

Another 22 were classified as “top secret,” and have been withheld even from redacted release.

And 104 that she herself composed and sent contain classified information, according to a March 5 Washington Post story.

A third Clinton contention is that the emails contained “no classified labels” when she either sent or received them, but she is responsible under the law for knowing when data are classified, even if unlabeled.

Further, intelligence officials who have surveyed the released material have said that some of its content was “classified at birth” – it could never have been transmitted without classification unless such labeling was intentionally removed.

Finally, on March 2, the Post cited an unidentified intelligence source saying that Bryan Pagliano, the technician Clinton hired to run her private server (and who in September pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked to give testimony to Congress), has now been granted immunity from prosecution.

As Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who handled the trials of the first World Trade Center bombers in 1993, wrote March 3 on National Review Online, “a grant of immunity … is a powerful indication either that there is an active grand-jury investigation or that such an investigation is imminent.”

The major media are still downplaying or even ignoring all this, but I’ll bet Sanders is following it very closely.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

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