It Could Be Bernie

By all the math, Hillary Clinton is a shoe-in for the Democratic nomination. She’s just 70 delegates shy of clinching according to Bloomberg. Only that’s not a real number.

Hillary has 2,313 of 2,383 delegate votes, but that includes 544 superdelegates, who are unbound but generally support one candidate. Bernie Sanders has 1,547 delegate votes, including only 46 superdelegates. So the math, without superdelegates, looks like this: 1,769 for Hillary and 1,501 for Bernie. That’s a whole lot closer.

It comes down to California, where Clinton is sinking fast.

The Vermont senator has battled Clinton to a draw among all voters eligible for the Democratic primary, with 44% siding with him to 43% for Clinton. That represented a nine-point swing from a USC/Los Angeles Times poll in March, in which Clinton led handily.

California has a semi-open primary, where “no party preference” voters can choose to vote in either party’s primary. Since the Republican primary is moot, there’s more opportunity for these independents to swing over to the Democratic primary. This can only help Sanders.

In California, 475 of 548 delegates will be decided by the primary outcome. The other 73 are superdelegates, of whom 57 are “soft-unpledged” to Clinton. Delegates are bound by congressional district and proportionally based on the vote. This means Sanders could capture several hundred delegates and close the gap with Clinton.

Sanders is also trying to woo superdelegates to his side. It’s a long shot, but it’s far more plausible than trying to pretzel-twist the rules of the GOP convention to engineer a floor fight. The Democrats have far more unbound delegates and therefore much more flexibility going into their convention.

In reality, “clinching” isn’t really clinching for Clinton, unless she trounces Sanders in California, or until she gets to Philadelphia on July 25th.

So what will happen if Sanders crushes Clinton in California and surpasses her in bound primary delegates? It will make the superdelegates’ choice a whole lot harder.

Donald Trump isn’t going to sit still between now and July either. He’s going to continue pounding “Crooked Hillary” daily, on Twitter and in the media.

The Democrats may well decide that Sanders is a better choice after the battering Clinton will be taking (the RCP average has her just 1.5 points over Trump while Sanders is up by over 10 points).

If it’s Bernie, the whole race changes. Trump would move to jobs (he’s already begun that pivot) and attacking Sanders on taxes, education, and socialism. But on trade and foreign policy, the two are much closer.

As for character, among Trump, Clinton and Sanders, Bernie actually wins. His favorable/unfavorable polls are better than either Clinton or Trump, and (at least I believe) he’s honest about his opinions. I couldn’t agree less with him on most issues, but he’s honest about it.

In fact, if it were Bernie versus Trump, I’d have to bite my lip bloody not to vote for Trump to keep the disaster of socialist Sanders out of the White House. But because of who Trump is, I couldn’t vote for him because he’s unfit for the job. But that’s all raw speculation, because short of some kind of deus ex machina, both parties will choose the scoundrel.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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