Can Sanders Win the Nomination? Only in a Parallel Universe

Surely even the most optimistic of the Sanders campaign team can read the writing on the wall even if Bernie’s most fervent supporters can’t. Clinton has already won 228 more pledged delegates than Sanders in the primaries and caucuses to date – 1266 to 1038.  Given that in the Democratic nomination process all delegates are awarded on a propositional basis, that alone would give Sanders one heck of a hill to climb in the remaining caucuses and primaries – not impossible, but very difficult.

Then when you take into consideration that 483 super delegates have also pledged their votes to Clinton and that only 31 have come out in favor of Sanders, Hillary’s lead of 691 (1749 to 1069) becomes the Everest of hill for Bernie to climb.  2383 delegates are needed to win the nomination so Hillary only needs 634 delegates to win while Sanders needs 1314 and there are only 1948 pledged delegates and super delegates (1748 pledged 200 super) left to be won or won over.  If the current pledges of the super delegates don’t change, Sanders would have to win 67.4% of remaining delegates to draw even with Clinton and she would have to win only 32.7% to maintain her lead.

However, the Sanders campaign would take exception to that math.  They would argue that if Sanders were to surpass Clinton in pledged delegates, some of the super delegates might start changing sides.  Frankly the thought of 483 super delegates already pledged delegates Clinton flipping to try to give the nomination to an independent who has run against Democrats for years and has always criticized the Democratic Party is preposterous in my view, but let’s play that game for the sake of discussion and discount the super delegates.

There are 4053 pledged delegates with 1266 already won by Clinton to 1038 by Sanders.  That means there 1749 left for grabs and a candidate to win needs 2027 to win.  That would mean that Hillary needs only 761 delegates or 43.5% to win while Sanders needs 989 delegates or 56.5% to win.  So let’s take a look at the upcoming states to see how high that hill is.

Wisconsin primary is coming up in a few days and that primary gives hope to the Sanders campaign because they think that they have a good chance winning the state.  The polls currently agree – an average of the last 4 recent polls gives Bernie a 2.5% lead, but that’s not enough.  To just keep on track Sanders has to beat Clinton in Wisconsin 56.5% to 43.3% or by 13.2%.  Even the most “optimistic poll gives Sanders only 6% lead.

Now let’s look at the next 4 states on the menu for which polls are available.  In New York Clinton averages a 27% poll lead with the closest poll giving her a 12% lead. In Maryland Clinton averages a 30.5% poll lead with the closest poll giving her a 30% lead.  In Pennsylvania Clinton averages a 27.5% poll lead with the closest poll giving her a 25% lead. In Connecticut Clinton has a 19% lead in the only recent poll. In addition these are all closed primaries so there is no chance of a last minute of independent and/or Republican voter invasion.  Together these four states have 510 pledged delegates to only 96 in Wisconsin.  And remember that has to win these 4 states by an average 13.2% to keep on pace; be definitely can’t lose them by over 20% each.

Going forward from there it doesn’t look any better for Sanders.  There are 22 Democratic nomination contests left out of 58 – 18 States, 3 Territories, and the District of Columbia.  Sanders leads in the available polls in only 2 of them – the already mentioned Wisconsin primary and in the West Virginia primary which only has 34 available pledged delegates.  Also consider the Bernie tends to do much better in caucuses than in primaries and also better in open contest than those which are closed to all except registered Democrats. On the other hand Hillary’s team prefers primaries and closed contests. Of the remaining 22 contests, this is how they stack up:

Open Primaries – 3 States

Closed Primaries – 11 States, 1 Territory, District of Columbus

Mixed Primaries – 4 States

Open Caucuses – 2 Territories

Closed Caucus – none

As you see, the type remaining contests do not favor Sanders.

When everything is taken into consideration, Bernie Sanders has two chances of winning the Democratic nomination for the position of President of the United States – extremely slim and none.

Cajun    4/2/2016


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