Does Bernie Sanders have a realistic chance of winning the Democratic nomination? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
The odds of Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic nomination let alone the 2016 presidential election are slim to none and slim just left town taking the government subsidized railway transit with a connecting boat to Cuba.
The Democratic party is running two candidates: Hillary and Not Hillary. That's because her unfavorability ratings are 65% or more and Sanders is a receptical for opposition voting. This still does not change the entrenched establishment scheme to get her elected. To this end, Sanders is actually helping her campaign. If he did not exist, Clinton strategists would have invented someone like him because democrats and independents would vote republican or not at all if they felt Clinton had been foisted upon them with no real opposition. First for the primary race:
By the numbers, Sanders has won 1151 of elected delegates so far and Clinton has won 1,428. While that seems like a tight race, just take a look at the super-delegate count: Clinton 502, Sanders 38. That's 93% to 7%. There are a total of 712 super delegates available with 172 left to go. If this ratio holds, Clinton will have overall 663 super delegates as compared to 49 for Sanders. And there is no reason to believe that this ratio will not hold because super-delegates are free to support any democratic candidate for the nomination that they choose. They will choose Clinton because:
a) The Clinton political network machine has been in place since the Bill Clinton presidency. The democratic party rewards party members for supporting the establishment candidate. They are unlikely to jeopardize their political career for a radical challenger.
b) Sanders is a socialist and not a democrat. Saying he's a "democratic" socialist is like saying he's a meat-eating vegan. Semantics will not distract politicians from the fact the Sanders is promoting socialist style redistribution of wealth with high confiscatory taxes that has proved to be a failed political system around the world.
While the race thus far for elected delegates has been surprisingly challenging, Clinton still maintains an advantage. The reason is that the states that Sanders has done well are because of several factors that do not translate well into carrying the nomination overall:
a) Sanders is not doing well in "open and semi-open" primary states meaning that democrats, independents and Republicans can cross party lines and vote in the democratic primary. His message is appealing to people with no strong party affiliate, namely the young and extreme left. However, many of these independents are former democrats or even republicans that are sitting on the fence and Clinton is appealing more to these voters. So far there have been 19 open/semi-open primary states with only 5 more to go and Clinton has won 11 of these states compared to 7 for Sanders with one state a tie. When you look at the delegate count, its worse. Clinton has 829 versus 634 for Bernie. That's a 56% majority in favor of Clinton. This also seems to be a divide between southern and northern states with most southern black vote majority states going for Clinton
b) Sanders is doing better in "closed" and "semi-closed" primary states but not by the delegate count. While Sanders has carried more states (9 to Clinton's 8 and one tie), by the elected delegate count, Clinton has 590 delegates in these states as compared to 510 for Sanders. This is still a 54% majority in favor of Clinton.
As These States Go - So Goes the Election
The only hope for Bernie is that he prevents Clinton from receiving 2382 delegates before July forcing a contested convention. He then still has to convince establishment democrats to vote for him. Sanders fans seem to be conflating the pledged delegate count and the "will of the voters," when in fact the two are far from interchangeable. Clinton has 1930 total with just 452 to go. Bernie meanwhile has just 1189 and he would have to get a whopping 80% of the remaining elected delegates unless super delegates change their mind. This is why the Sanders campaign has been harassing and cajoling the remaining super delegates in various states by email and phone calls and social media. Given these odds and as I'll point out further below, it is highly unlikely Sanders can pull an upset.
There remains 1472 more delegates with another 172 super delegates. A majority of these super delegates will go to Clinton giving her a strong advantage even before considering elected delegates. If the standard percentage of 93% holds, Clinton will get another 160 super delegates leaving her with just another 292 elected delegates to go to clinch the nomination. Clinton can easily do this with just 15% of the remaining contests. Here is how:
More than half (898) of the remaining elected delegates are contained in just three states: California (475 elected, 71 super); New Jersey (126 elected, 16 super); and Pennsylvania (189 elected, 71 super). These are all closed or semi-closed eastern state elections typically more favorable for Clinton than smaller western and middle western states. After New York, a win for Hillary, these states are important by less critical. However, as these states go, so goes the election:
a) California. As suggested earlier, the Clinton's have a veteran, loyal, full-service political operation on standby in California. Clinton started this campaign far ahead in the polls. But Sanders has cut sharply into her lead. In the latest Field Poll, released Friday, Clinton led by only six percentage points, 47% to 41%. However, much of the momentum leans Clinton's way. Sanders' strength is among voters under 30. But their numbers are highest in districts coincidentally allowed the fewest delegates. Latinos have also been favoring Clinton, and they're numerous in some districts with larger delegate caches.
b) New Jersey. According to Eagleson Center for Public Interest polling, Clinton is still the favorite among New Jersey Democrats, her lead against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is shrinking. The poll puts Clinton at 51 percent of the vote to Sanders' 42 percent. This is because of her unfavorability ratings. However, again, she doesn't have to win any of these states, just have a decent showing.
c) Pennsylvania. Clinton has a big lead over Sanders in Pennsylvania just two weeks before the primary there. A Harper Polling survey released found Clinton taking 55 percent over Sanders at 33 percent, with 12 percent undecided. Clinton's lead is down from the same survey in March, when she had a 30-point lead.
Democratic Nomination Process is Proportional
Even if Clinton were to tie or even slightly lose these states, the delegates, not counting super delegates that will go for Clinton, will be assigned proportionally according to vote. 50% of the votes gets 50% of the delegates. The democrats under a committee headed by George McGovern reformed their nomination process to dispose of any winner-take-all outcome In 1968 after losing the election to Richard Nixon. The Republican convention that happened in Colorado recently where no voting occurred and the delegates decided to pledge in unison for Cruz over Trump is an example of why they did this. This is besides the rules that are still in existence in many states with the Republican process where any candidate with at least 51% of the vote gets all the delegates. But the Democratic process, with super delegates in play, still means the game is rigged in favor of the establishment candidate. Equally distasteful and undemocratic.
So again, by the numbers, Clinton still has more than enough delegates to clinch the nomination and only has to carry 34% to 40% of these states. Roll out the big lady, it's time for her to sing. Of course, if Hillary were to actually lose every contest between now and July, there would be extreme pressure on super delegates to reconsider their pledge knowing their state voted against her, but by the numbers, she will have the majority needed.
It's completely unlikely that Sanders will win the nomination in a contested convention. However, if the planets align and global freezing should affect Satan's dominion, we would see a run-off between a likely Trump or Cruz republican nominee and Sanders. Trump is garnering support from Republicans and Democrats and independents alike. Sanders however appeals to a much smaller cross-section of Americans. As we already mentioned, he appeals primarily to the far left and those 30 and under. Sanders has other negatives:
a) Believes that radical change is needed in America which is just not true. Most Americans do not want to see our system destroyed, just reformed at some levels.
b) Wants high confiscatory taxes, as much as 90% with punitive taxes on payroll and Wall Street trades. This is not a pro-growth, pro-economic message.
c) Believes the best pathway forward is income redistribution that has been attempted and failed in other socialist and communist countries.
d) Proposes growing the size of government and enforcing rules on business and investment, which would destroy our economy and limit our freedoms.
f) Proposes large unfunded spending programs that disincentivizes hard work, initiative, and ingenuity.
With the unprecedented support of Washington outsiders like Sanders and Trump, you can see two lines of thinking: either radical change is needed and our entire system needs to be destroyed and reinvented or that our free market economy is inherently good and needs to be allowed to flourish. If you're a student of history and American success, you know the correct answer.
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