Democratic Primary Reality Will Make Bernie Supporters Understand
The winner of the Democratic primary needs 2383 out of a possible 4764 delegates, and much is being made about the recent polling coming out of Iowa and New Hampshire showing a closing of the gap between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. For excited Sanders fans thinking of pulling off the improbable and anxious Clinton fans wondering if this is 2008 all over again, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has some advice:
Delegates and SuperDelegates
We’ve already explained how delegates are awarded in a Democratic Primary:
The Democratic Party always uses a proportional method for awarding delegates. The percentage of delegates each candidate is awarded (or the number of undecided delegates) is representative of the mood of the caucus-goers or the number of primary votes for the candidate.
The 712 superdelegates are only less than a third of the 2,382 total delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination. Superdelegates are not technically bound to vote for anyone (although, while there were some switchers in 2008, it’s rare).
These numbers mean Hillary has already gotten 15 percent of the delegates needed before any voting has begun. In other words, she starts with a 15 percentage point head start over Sanders.
More importantly, political scientists have found the way superdelegates lean is one of the best predictors of who will become the nominee. According to UCLA political scientist Lynn Vavreck, there is great correlation with who becomes the nominee and the number of party elite endorsements a candidate has in the year before the election. Party elites have a sense of who is viable and electable as a candidate with unique insider knowledge concerning fundraising, campaigning, and donating.
Still, it’s remarkable that this many would come forward on the record this early. In most cycles, many of the leaders wait until results in their states.
Democratic Primary: Iowa – 52 Delegates
Iowa is the first in the nation primary, and it’s a caucus which we have discussed the meaning of:
In states that hold caucuses a political party announces the date, time, and location of the meeting which generally any voter registered with the party may attend. At the caucus, delegates are chosen to represent the state’s interests at the national party convention. Prospective delegates are identified as favorable to a specific candidate or uncommitted. After discussion and debate an informal vote is taken to determine which delegates should be chosen.
Obama won Iowa in 2008 off the strength of his grassroots efforts as caucuses are grueling processes that involve dedicated members of the party’s apparatus. Hillary is currently winning Iowa by approximately 6 points.
In spite of Bernie’s advances, I don’t think his campaign can make progress in this party controlled process when he is not a member of the party. Furthermore, caucus states are not reflective of polling, but campaign infrastructure and organization where Hillary has the decided advantage:
Whether it’s Clinton’s ground game, Sanders’s iconoclastic status, or a mixture of both, the Vermont senator seems unable to expand his base beyond disaffected Democrats and excite party leadership in the all-important Hawkeye State. If that doesn’t change by January, “Bernie-mentum” may be snuffed out county-by-county in Iowa, with party chairmen using their heavy influence in the Democratic caucuses to tip the scales in Clinton’s favor.
This is why I keep stressing that primaries are party controlled processes and are not solely dependent upon voter desires. If Bernie does not win Iowa, “Bernmentum” would be stalled in it’s tracks as he is depending upon wins to knock her aura of invincibility. In fact, we will discount the superdelegate advantage Hillary, and just assume they are all equally in play as we lay out why her nomination is virtually assured. Negating the superdelegate advantage should equalize whatever trends (which are hard to evaluate from poll to poll) that are currently going Berb.
Iowa Delegate Count: Hillary 27 Bernie 25
New Hampshire to Super Tuesday
While we’ve covered Iowa, I think it will be informative to give up-to-date polling results along with the results from 2008 for people who want to claim the Sanders campaign will do to Hillary what the Obama campaign did. This is laughable to me as Obama was young, black, with a highly organized political machine out of Chicago behind him who eased delegate fears by promising to do for them what the Clintons could. We have described this Obama cooalition:
President Obama won that all important state of Florida by small margins in both 2008 and 2012. His winning voter coalition consisted of women, blacks, Latinos, Asians, voters aged 18 to 44, voters with incomes under $50,000, and voters belonging to a union. In 2012, 53 percent of all voters were women, and President Obama won this group by an 11-point margin.
Bernie is old, white, with a political machine coming out of Vermont, a state whose constituency is 94% white and very well educated. This is similar to the New Hampshire electorate (really New England in general). Bernie has promised not to fundraise, campaign or donate to any delegates as that would be political patronage which Bernie is out to destroy.
New Hampshire – 32 Total Delegates
Bernie is currently winning New Hampshire by 6 points. Hillary won it over Obama in 2008 which makes sense as there is not a lot of the “Obama cooalition” there. It is not a closed primary, in which votes can be cast in a party primary only by people registered with that party, in that state. Undeclared voters — those not registered with any party — can vote in either party primary. However, it does not meet a common definition of an open primary, because people registered as Republican or Democrat on voting day cannot cast ballots in the primary of the other party.
Delegate Count: Bernie 17 Hillary 15
Total Delegate Count: Bernie 42 Hillary 42
Nevada – 43 Total Delegates
Hillary won Nevada in 2008 and is currently winning Nevada now by 20 points.
Delegate Count: Hillary 26 Bernie 17
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 68 Bernie 59
South Carolina – 59 Total Delegates
Barack Obama won South Carolina in 2008. Hillary is currently winning it by 40 points.
Delegate Count: Hillary 41 Bernie 18
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 109 Bernie 77
Alabama – 60 Total Delegates
Barack Obama won Alabama in 2008. From the last poll we have in August, Hillary is winning by 68 points.
Delegate Count: Hillary 50 Bernie 10
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 159 Bernie 87
Arkansas – 37 Total Delegates
Hillary won Arkansas in 2008. She is currently winning Arkansas by 63 points. It’s her home state.
Delegate Count: Hillary 30 Bernie 7
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 189 Bernie 94
Colorado – 79 Total Delegates
Barack Obama won Colorado in 2008. Hillary is currently winning by 28 points.
Delegate Count: Hillary 51 Bernie 28
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 240 Bernie 122
Georgia – 116 Total Delegates
Barack Obama won Georgia in 2008. Hillary is up 43 points.
Delegate Count: Hillary 83 Bernie 33
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 323 Bernie 155
Massachusetts – 116 Total Delegates
Hillary won Massachusetts in 2008. She is currently winning Massachusetts by 30 points.
Delegate Count: Hillary 75 Bernie 41
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 398 Bernie 196
Minnesota – 93 Total Delegates
Barack Obama won Minnesota in 2008. Hillary is winning it by 18 points.
Delegate Count: Hillary 55 Bernie 38
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 453 Bernie 234
Oklahoma – 42 Total Delegates
Hillary won Oklahoma in 2008. She is currently winning it by 22 points.
Delegate Count: Hillary 26 Bernie 16
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 479 Bernie 250
Tennessee – 76 Total Delegates
Hillary won Tennessee in 2008. She’s up 28 points in Tennessee.
Delegate Count: Hillary 49 Bernie 27
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 528 Bernie 277
Texas – 252 Total Delegates
Barack Obama won Texas in 2008. Hillary is winning Texas by 31 points.
Delegate Count: Hillary 165 Bernie 87
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 693 Bernie 364
Vermont – 26 Total Delegates
Barack Obama won Vermont in 2008. Bernie is up 51 points in Vermont.
Delegate Count: Hillary 6 Bernie 20
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 699 Bernie 384
Virginia – 110 Total Delegates
Barack Obama won Virginia in 2008. There is no polling average, Hillary was up 36 points there in the latest poll.
Delegate Count: Hillary 75 Bernie 35
Total Delegate Count: Hillary 774 Bernie 419
Remember, this count doesn’t factor in Hillary’s superdelegate advantage and assumes polling remains static for both candidates. Coming out of Super Tuesday, Hillary should have a 350 delegate lead.
Bigger Primaries and Caucuses Mean Hillary Victory
Hillary is currently up 14 points in California. That’s 311 delegates which would put Hillary at 1085.
Hillary is up 43 points in Florida. That’s 176 delegates which would put her at 1261.
Hillary is up 37 points in Illinois. That’s 125 delegates which would put her at 1386, less than 1000 away from necessary victory.
Hillary is up 19 points in Maryland. That’s 70 delegates which would put her at 1456 delegates.
Hillary is up 13 points in Michigan. That’s 84 delegates which would put her at 1540 delegates.
Hillary is up 35 points in New Jersey which is another 96 delegates putting her total at 1636.
Hillary is up 40 points in New York. That’s 204 delegates putting her total at 1840.
Hillary is up 36 points in North Carolina. That’s 82 delegates putting her total at 1922.
Hillary is up 19 points in Ohio. That’s another 95 delegates putting her total at 2017.
Hillary is up 20 points in Pennsylvania. That’s another 126 delegates putting her at 2143 delegates.
Washington state has another 118 delegates, but there is no current reliable Democratic primary presidential polling. Let’s split the delegate number in half. That’s another 59 electoral votes putting her at 2202 delegates. This means Hillary would need 180 delegates out of 1156 remaining.
New Hampshire and Iowa receive massive amounts of media coverage. Many people feel they are make or break states when; in actuality, there are only 84 delegates between the two states. She has big leads in the states with the most delegates up for grabs.
Furthermore, this election is not like 2008 for Hillary because her opponent can’t cobble together a coalition to beat her. In fact, she has that coalition and is the overwhelming favorite in states she lost in 2008 as a result. The only similarities between Obama and Bernie is that they are both male opponents.
In the end, there is no amount of dislike for Hillary Clinton that can change this math. Bernie’s campaign needs to peel off the Obama coalition Hillary is putting together that ironically was her downfall in 2008. Barring a miracle, hello Madam President.