On Sunday morning, Bernie Sanders addressed the National Press Club in a press conference in which he gave a brief speech and answered media questions. In prepared remarks, he presented the ever-looming delegate math. And contrary to what many Hillary Clinton supporters believe, neither candidate has an easy road to the Democratic nomination at the convention in July.
Sanders laid out the numbers, which are favorable for him in terms of a contested convention.
“There are a total of 4,766 Democratic delegates — 4,047 pledged, 719 super delegates. A candidate needs 2,383 votes to win. Let’s be clear. It is virtually impossible for Secretary Clinton to reach the majority of convention delegates by June 14 — the end of primary season — with pledged delegates alone. She will need super delegates to take her over the top at the convention in Philadelphia. In other words, it will be a contested convention.”
He then discussed the percentage of delegates each candidate has — 55 percent for Hillary, 45 percent for Bernie. Ten states, D.C., and three territories have not yet voted. Current polling also indicates that Sanders has a strong possibility of winning California on June 7. The state offers 475 pledged delegates (not counting super delegates). If he wins the majority of each state, this could inch his percentage totals up.
Real Clear Politics has published data that takes several polls and averages them out. All data shows Sanders steadily rising in California, with just a 6.7 point deficit behind Clinton.
One of the most recent polls, released by Fox News on April 22, shows Sanders trailing Clinton by just 2 percent in California, with 46 percent of likely voters polled preferring Sanders over his rival. That’s a big jump from just one year ago, when only 5 percent of Californians polled said they would vote for Sanders.
Sanders also addressed the possibility of a contested convention by criticizing super delegates who have publicly declared that they will cast their votes for Hillary despite Sanders winning landslide victories in their state.
“In the state of Washington, we won that caucus with almost 73 percent of the vote but at this point Secretary Clinton has 10 super delegates. We have zero.”
He also noted that in other states where he performed well — Minnesota, Colorado, and New Hampshire — Clinton either has the support of all the state’s super delegates or a vast majority. In fact, Minnesota is the only state of the four mentioned above where he has any: a grand total of three.
Sanders emphasized that he is not looking to steal delegates from Clinton in states where she performed well. Those, he said, should continue to support her. But in states where the majority of the people either caucused or voted for Sanders, he said those super delegates should listen to the people who voted for him.
Bernie Sanders also noted that in poll after poll, he is the stronger of the two candidates. He noted the recent George Washington University survey, in which he beats Trump by 10 points with 50 percent of the vote. Hillary defeats him by less than half. The Investor’s Business Daily poll shows Sanders beating Trump by 12 points while Clinton only defeats him by seven points. This would give him leverage at the convention in July should it, indeed, be contested.
After giving his prepared speech, Sanders fielded reporters’ questions who asked him about his “tone,” what he hopes his legacy would be — he said he hoped his legacy would be that he was a very good president — and what would happen should he not win the nomination at the convention. Sanders indicated strongly that he will do whatever he needs to ensure Trump or another GOP candidate does not win the White House.
He was also asked if there were lessons to be learned from the discrepancy between his large record-breaking rallies and disappointing results in states like New York.
“Good question … Three million independent voters in New York State disenfranchised. They could not vote because of the crime of writing down that they were independent voters. I think that’s absurd. By the way, in most polls, in most contests, we do far, far better than Clinton in the Independent vote.”
Independents now make up one of the biggest voting blocs in the United States, and many tend to lean Democratic or progressive. This could also benefit Sanders in a contested convention.
Blogger and writer John Laurits already wrote about the possibility of a contested convention in an April 28 blog post that’s now gone viral on social media. His math reflected what Sanders spoke of in his prepared speech, and went into even more depth. Laurits emphasized the unlikelihood of Clinton taking the needed number of delegates unless she wins at least 71 percent of the vote in remaining states and territories. With the power of math, Laurits showed how that will probably not happen, even with Clinton’s deep-pocketed backers.
Bernie Sanders normally performs well in open and semi-open primaries and caucuses. California is one such state, with registered Democrats and registered, unaffiliated voters allowed to vote in the Democratic primaries there. With 475 delegates at stake (not including the super delegates), Sanders has a good chance of foiling Hillary’s plan to sail into the convention in July with the needed number of delegates.
In other words, get the popcorn ready. It’s going to be one heck of a show in Philly.
[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]