It’s Over. As good of a campaign Bernie Sanders has run – principled, sticking to the issues, mostly very respective of his opponents, and inspiring to a high degree – it is going to end up short of winning the Democratic nomination.
There were certainly moments when it seemed possible. But in the end, no. No cigar, no coronation, no brass ring, and no chance to battle a Republican in the fall.
Throwing a Scare Into Clinton
Before I started looking at the numbers – the state polls – it seemed like the upstart, brand new Democrat Bernie Sanders was going to give Hillary Clinton a real tussle. The scuttle on the street was that Sanders had a huge surge of new hyper-active participants and was going to have a huge wave behind them.
I have thought all along the Clinton was the strongest nominee possible, and in this year of anticipated Tea Party vs GOP bigwigs civil war on the other side of the aisle, it seemed that if the Democrats were going to have a relative outsider come in and get the nod, a real chance to take advantage of the chaos on the other side would be lost.
I Had to Go See What the Score Was
So, fretfully, I started looking up what the polls were saying. How strong WAS the Sanders Surge?
The numbers are available in at least two convenient places. One is at Real Clear Politics, here. The other is at Wikipedia, here.
Immediately I was surprised by how WIDE the margins were for Hillary over Sanders. Scrolling down, in state after state, Sanders was, apparently, getting his butt kicked, to put it mildly. For every state Sanders led, Hillary was leading in 3 or 4. In addition, knowing the lay of the politics of Presidential campaigns, I knew which were swing states and which were BIG states. At that time Sanders was not leading in any of those – except New Hampshire. NH IS a swing state; it’s not a big state.
So, a picture came into focus of Sanders leading in lily white rural states. Eventually, what I affectionately call Kumbayah states joined Sanders’ stable of rural white states – CO, WA, OR, MN. That was about it.
So, even before Iowa and New Hampshire opened up the primary season, it was apparent that Clinton was going to pull ahead with South Carolina and keep pulling ahead.
In a Week, the Lead Will Be Over 370
Now, about half an hour before the polls close in Michigan, all of that has come to pass. In one week 5 good sized states – FL, IL, MO, OH, and NC – will vote, with all but one of those in the bag for Clinton. Missouri might go for Sanders. With no polls since last August, who knows? But I currently show Clinton on net picking up about 74 delegates in FL, 72 in IL, 33 in OH, and 13 in NC. NS has a fairly old ‘latest’ poll, and if that goes either way, I’d guess more toward Clinton. That is a gain of about 192 more delegates. Added to the 180 or so she is ahead already, that would give her a legitimate lead of about 372 delegates. And that is before the superdelegates.
They Say That Catching Up Is Hard To Do
372 may not sound like much, but ask Sanders’ numbers guys – that is NOT easy to overcome in a proportional voting primary system. Sanders so far has only 3 state wins with margins of over 10 delegates. The largest is only 16. Even at 16 per state in the future, that would take 23 states to catch up.
But the truth is that there are no states out there except WA and OR in which Sanders might pick up even 16.
I show him currently leading in 8 states with only 67 net delegates. He is within 20 delegates in another 12 states, and if he can reverse those deficits, they would gain him another 60. That all totals only 127 delegates – far short of that 372.
In the meantime, Hillary shows >- leads of greater than 20 delegates in 10 states totaling 497 delegates.
The numbers just aren’t there for Sanders. The longer he runs, the behinder he gets. In the end it appears that Clinton will win by about 750 delegates.
And that is even not counting the superdelegates.
WHY? WHY NOT?
Do I even know, or would you even CARE what I think?
Barack Obama in 2008 beat Hillary Clinton because of a really strong wave of excitement and activism. Obama also had some helacious advisors who – it has been reported – focused on the delegate counts and how to maximize them EVERYWHERE.
Sanders seemed to be tapping into that same core. Still, his failed. Why?
Let’s at least present some factors:
Factor: Black vote
Obama energized the blacks like never before – a core center of Hillary’s OWN power base. Those blacks are still energized and empowered, and without Obama in the race, they faithfully returned to Hillary.
Latinos are strong for Hillary though not quite to the degree that blacks are. Sanders has no connection to them. Young ones, a few. Not enough to counterbalance the older ones. Thank Donald Trump for energizing the latinos to register and vote. While really harmful to the outreach of the GOP, Trump also bumped up their voting, and that could not have been good for Sanders’ hopes and efforts.
While young women tend to Sanders, young women are not a huge number, compared to all women. Whie many may not admit it out loud, they DO want a woman President. And there are not any MEN more qualified than Hillary, and there are no other women as qualified, either. If we are going to have a first woman President, THIS IS THE TIME.
Factor: Organization and the Democratic Party
Say what you will, but parties have faithful participants who have been through it all before and know how to prepare for a Primary Season. All of that COUNTS. Along with everything else she brings to the table, Hillary is additionally very much a part of that machine. Sanders simply is not. BIG difference. Even without the superdelegates, Hillary is kicking Bernie’s butt.
Think about it, though…
This is the very first primary Bernie Sanders has had to participate in. Independents don’t DO primaries. For his first time, he’s done FINE. One has to wonder how he would have done if he’d been a Democrat all along.