Michigan Primary Doesn’t Change Math
I was wrong (12-4 through 16 chosen). Nate Silver was wrong. Bernie Sanders won the Michigan primary and was able to salvage what would have been a very bad night otherwise. Hillary’s win in Mississippi brought the delegate count for the evening to 87 for her and 69 for Sanders.
The Meaning Of Michigan Primary
You would have to think this puts state wins in play for Sanders across the midwest. Ohio, Missouri and Illinois are on the 15th and while polls still favor Hillary in those states, the positive momentum and media will mean Sanders can remain viable a little longer. North Carolina and Florida are still expected to go her way.
There are 4763 total delegates in the Democratic primary. 4051 delegates are allocated by the popular vote in states, and 712 are super delegates that can vote anyway they please.
Currently, Hillary has 745 delegates allocated by the popular vote while Bernie has 540 delegates. There are 2766 allocated votes left in the primary. For Bernie to tie her just in allocated delegates, he needs to win 1485 delegates (approximately 54%) while Hillary would win 1281 putting her at 2026 delegates and Bernie at 2025.
When the numbers include the super delegates, 461 have already declared for Hillary Clinton while only 25 have declared for Sanders. This makes the unofficial total 1221 delegates for Hillary Clinton and 571 delegates for Sanders putting her more than halfway of the necessary delegate count.
Including the super delegates, there are 2971 total delegates remaining. Bernie would have to win 1811 delegates (approximately 61%) of the remaining delegates while Hillary needs to win only 1160 delegates. This would put Bernie at 2382 delegates and Hillary at 2381 delegates.
By state, Hillary has won 12 and Bernie 9. Hillary has won mostly in the south though she has wins in Nevada, Iowa and Massachusetts. Bernie has won mostly in the North though he has wins in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. Hillary has won 4.9 million votes thus far throughout the Democratic primary while Bernie Sanders has won 3.3 million.
It was easier for Obama as he was a long term Democrat with a history of supporting the party. Though often caucusing with the party, Bernie just officially joined to run for President. He is also running for Senate reelection in 2018 as an independent. Party apparatchiks will be and are certainly more suspicious of him especially in light of the data breach earlier on in the primary. This is neither right nor fair, but certainly reality.
The Democratic Primary is a war of attrition. Can Bernie Sanders win 54% of the remaining allocated delegates? Possibly. Can he turn the super delegates in the party to decrease the remaining 61% of the delegates he needs to win when including super delegates? Losing states only increases already long odds, and winning states by close margins doesn’t do much. Sanders needs to start winning states with 55 to 60 percent of the vote in order to cut into this deficit.
The Michigan primary was a big win for Bernie Sanders, but getting seven more delegates than Hillary there while she obtained 25 more than him in Mississippi does not help him. That is, if the goal is to win.