Bernie Sanders won three landslide victories yesterday, and there are probably more to come, but will it be enough to overtake Clinton in pledged delegates? The Vermont senator’s campaign says “yes,” and released a plan on how the math will put him ahead by California’s primary on June 7.
Right now, Hillary Clinton has about 230 more pledged delegates than Bernie Sanders, but sources vary. The analysts at FiveThirtyEight put the tally at Clinton: 1267 and Sanders: 1037.
That’s a difficult gap to bridge between now and the convention on July 25, but not as difficult as it may seem in much of news media. In the most recent three contests, Sanders had landslide victories; in Alaska he got 82 percent, Washington 72 percent, and Hawaii 70 percent. The sweeping victory not only showed the campaign is far from out, the Vermont senator’s supposed weakness with minority voters has been overestimated. Washington, Alaska and Hawaii are the 10th, fifth and first most multicultural states, respectively, according to Main Street and a 2009 report.
As Sanders explained to NBC’s Meet the Press, “Our calculations are that, in fact, we can win the pledged delegates.”
Still, even by Bernie Sanders estimations, it will come down to the wire.
One major milestone will be New York’s April 19 contest. Bernie Sanders was born there, giving him real clout with the population. Hillary Clinton served as New York’s Senator in 2000 and has lived there for many years. The Sanders campaign aims to win the contest with 55 percent of the vote, and at that point bring the Clinton delegate lead to less than 180.
Bernie Sanders’ projections show he won’t bring the delegate lead down to double digits until May 17, when Kentucky and Oregon both hold their contests.
Then on June 7, with 694 delegates at play, he hopes to overtake Clinton albeit by only a few votes (eight to be specific). It’s the second to last contest on the calendar. In the last primary in Washington, D.C., the Vermont senator will backslide according to his projections, getting only 35 percent, but still enough to hold onto the lead.
The full plan can be found here on NPR.
The forecast is naturally positive for the campaign, but it will require Sanders’ supporters to maintain an iron-resolve and avoid becoming de-moralized by being told they’re losing for another three months.
There are other weaknesses in the plan, for example, the superdelegates.
If included in the total delegate count, these unpledged delegates — party-insiders that vote independent of the primary contests — Clinton’s lead suddenly skyrockets by over 400 delegates according to major media outlets.
The problem with including this gigantic lead is simple — it doesn’t exist.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, has publicly asked major media outlets to stop reporting on super-delegates.
“The way the media is reporting this is incorrect… There are not pledged delegates — or ‘super-delegates’ — earned at any of these caucus contests.”
Here’s a video of the DNC Chair talking about how the media is incorrect.
What CNN, the AP, and many, many other news outlets continue to report is the number of unpledged delegates that have endorsed Clinton. They are under no requirement to vote for Clinton, especially since many gave their support before Sanders was considered a serious candidate in the race. Bernie Sanders believes that the DNC insiders will come around if the majority of voters support him.
But, the fact that the news outlets continue to count the super-delegates highlights another one of Sanders big weaknesses: media coverage.
As this article on the Huffington Post pointed out, Sanders supporters are already pretty skeptical of what they’ve come to call “corporate media,” but after Saturday’s primaries they have the right to be appalled. The number crunching on the Post shows not only has the media repeatedly overestimated Clinton’s lead in many contests, many commentators have said blatantly false things to exaggerate Clinton’s lead with minority voters.
Everything considered, Sanders strategy for beating Clinton is a long-shot. But, as previously reported by the Inquisitr, Bernie Sanders is the DNC’s best shot for beating Donald Trump in November, and for many liberal voters, that’s reason enough to continue the fight.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]