As expected, Hillary Clinton won the New York Democratic primary. Celebrated by the mainstream media as the ultimate victory, a look at the numbers tells another story and how the road to both the nomination and to the Presidency is still an impervious one.
New York is Clinton's (adopted) home and stronghold, as she was twice elected Senator there. Yet, while Bernie Sanders won his home state Vermont 86.1% to 13.6% - taking all the delegates - Clinton won New York 58% to 42%, getting 139 delegates, against Sanders' 106. One month ago, her advantage was 30%. Also, she won in the NY metropolitan-corridor area and - by a narrow margin - in Syracuse, Buffalo and Rochester. The rest went all to Sanders.
What is most interesting is however looking at numbers. In 2008, Hillary won against Barack Obama with a similar percentage (57,4%). However, she the got 1,068,498 votes - versus Obama's 751,019. This time, Hillary got 1,054,083 votes against Sanders' 763,469. In other words, despite her formidable electoral machine, Clinton lost over 14,000 voters since 2008. Sanders got instead over 12,000 votes more than Barack Obama. Considering that the black electorate in 2008 overwhelmingly voted for Obama and today tends to favor Clinton (in the 2008 NY primaries, blacks were around 40% of the voters), there is space for some interesting voting behavior analysis.
It is also worth reminding how in 2004 John Kerry won New York; before him, in 2000, it was Al Gore. Both ended up getting the nomination but losing the elections. The last one to win both was, in 1992, Bill Clinton.
There is also a deja vù: in 2008, a weird absence of votes for Obama in certain precincts - such as Harlem and Brooklyn - led to a recounting and consequent substantial change of the results. Because of the volume and consistency of voting irregularities in last Tuesday primaries - mostly people who turned out to vote, only to be told they were not registered - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his office has opened an investigation. Not a minor issue in a state, like New York, where the primaries are closed and people had to register as democrats as early as last October.
Despite all this, mainstream media called the election for Clinton just a few minutes after the vote closed. In fact, one cannot fail to note how mainstream media are increasingly attacking Sanders: on the Vatican trip, some tried to suggest he was self-invited, prompting the Pontifical Social Sciences Academy's Chancellor, Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, to publicly denying such allegations. The Brooklyn debate- which social media almost unanimously attributed to Sanders - was treated as a Clinton's victory.
Not to mention the count of delegates: it is extremely difficult to know what the exact numbers are as each count them differently: cases in point are the additional 40 delegates that Sanders got after the second round of primaries in Washington State - which not all outlets include in the total counting - or the numbers in New York, as many add the super-delegates to the total, giving the impression Hillary won the vote 175 to 106, instead of 139 to 106.
Clearly, Sanders' path to nomination is an arduous one. Yet, as there over sixteen hundreds delegates to be attributed, all scenarios are still theoretically possible on the way to 2,382, the number needed to win. It is also contradictory to suggest that Sanders will harm Clinton by not giving up, since in 2008 she stayed in the race until the end.
All these shadows in the process add to Hillary's weakest point: trust. She is in fact, after Donald Trump, the least trustworthy and likeable of all candidates. At the same time, Bernie Sanders is catching up in national polls and the two are almost at a pair now. On November 8th, the candidate able to rally the independents and the undecideds will be the one likely to prevail. So far, data show that it is Bernie Sanders who is better able to do that.
Discarding all these variables as non-relevant - as many Democratic leaders seem to be doing, assuming that against Trump, Hillary will win anyway - is short-sighted and terribly dangerous. Of course, any mind-sensed registered Democrat will vote for the Dem candidate no matter what. But so far 18 millions voted in the Dem primary out of about 220 millions having the right to vote in the country: roughly one in twenty is not enough to win the general election.
For the record, Donald Trump in New York got 524,932 votes: half of Hillary's votes on the democratic side, yet still more than McCain and Mitt Romney together got in 2008 (respectively 333,001 and 178,043) and more than the double of what all GOP candidates together got in 2012 (252,185). Things are definitely moving on the Republic side and there is plenty of evidence from Europe that often people vote candidates like Trump in the secrecy of the booth, but do not always say it loud. Let's hope this won't be the case in America.