TagBernie Sanders

Math of the Democratic Primary

Finally, our long national nightmare is over. Yesterday, the last of the states voted in the Democratic Primary. Although Washington D.C will vote on the 14th, no one cares about them because, one, it will vote overwhelmingly for Clinton and two, because taxation without representation still holds true for the nation’s capital ironically. Anyway, to summarize the results of the primary:

Hillary Clinton now has:

  • Won a majority of the popular vote count
  • Won the most states
  • Won the most primaries/contests [1]
  • Won the most closed primaries
  • Won a majority of the pledged delegates

Bernie Sanders has:

  • Won a majority of caucuses

Ergo ‘super delegates’ will and most already have pledged support for Hillary Clinton (571 to Sanders’ 48) pushing her over the edge for securing the Democratic nomination quite comfortably.

Caucuses versus Primaries

As Five Thirty Eight projects, if the caucuses were primaries instead i.e. voters cast a ballot instead of spending time debating for a few hours before casting their vote, Hillary Clinton would end up winning a majority of those as well. A grand total of 10,000 people caucused in Alaska. If it was a primary, an estimated 57,000 would cast their ballot.

But why estimate when Washinghton State provides the perfect experiement. It held an official caucus that awarded the delegates on March 26. Bernie Sanders won 73% of the vote compared to Clinton’s 27%. Nearly 237,000 votes were cast in this caucus. The state also held a primary on May 24. This time, however, Hillary Clinton won 54% of the vote compared to Sander’s 46%, and even though these results wouldn’t matter and it was purely a symbolic primary, more than 800,000 votes were cast in this primary. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which method gives the opportunity to the most people to exercise their choice.

Even though Clinton won most of the open primaries i.e. open to non-Democrats, I would argue that all primaries should be closed. If you want to elect a nominee for the Democratic Party, you should be a member of the Democratic Party. It’s that simple. If you want to claim youself as an Independent, you’ll have to wait until the General Election to cast your vote. There are umpteen third-party candidates in the fray if you are not satisfied with the two major party candidates.

On to the General

However, remember that, given the structure of the country’s winner-take-all Electoral College, unless your third-party wins the majority of the electoral votes, your vote will benefit the eventual winner from the two major parties. This year, such votes will help elect Trump. You can still exercise your choice but that’s the unintended consequence whether you like it or not and nope, this is not being passive-agressive. It’s just the way things play out.

there is a chance

This Democratic Primary wasn’t really close although it went through to June. But that was mostly because California hadn’t voted hence giving the person who was behind a probable although very unlikely chance. If California had voted on Super Tuesday, we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.

Congratulations to Hillary Clinton. Now onward to beating Trump in the general.

Footnotes:
  1. includes territories that vote in primaries but not in the general. A total of 57 geographic contests were held this year []

A Third-Party Run for Sanders?

By now, Bernie Sanders has all but exhausted his options for winning the Democratic nomination. Even after his win in West Virginia today that had its inordinate share of idiosyncratic voters [1], he trails Hillary Clinton by 285 pledged delegates. He would’ve to get three-fourths of the votes in California to even get tantalizingly close.

However, the super delegates who often vote in favor of the candidate who wins the majority of the pledged delegates, will put Hillary over the top and some more. After dissing the super-delegates as undemocratic and as ‘the establishment’, he cannot count on their support especially if it is to countermand the majority of voters’ wishes [2]. So what’s the next step for Bernie Sanders?

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Footnotes:
  1. Registered Democrats who are in fact Republicans and have been for a long time []
  2. Hillary Clinton currently has nearly 3 million votes more than Bernie Sanders []

An excellent refutation or rather expression of skepticism of Bernie Sander’s top hits. Even from my professional point of view, the ‘free college’ promise is fundamentally wrong.

Running to Not Win

Bernie Sanders has performed admirably. That’s a fact. He has given Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee before the primaries began a figurative and even a literal run for the money. But I’ve always believed that he was never in it to win. Going back to his “I’ve to get back to work, let’s get this over with” announcement for the candidacy of the Democratic Party, his half-hearted campaigning until the primaries began never gave me any inclination that he wanted to be the Democratic nominee much less the President. We were given confirmation in this NY Times article that used quotes from within his campaign staff.

Competing aggressively against Mrs. Clinton in 2015 was not part of the Sanders strategy when he announced his candidacy last April. Rather, in early campaign planning meetings, Mr. Sanders made it clear that he was focused on bringing his liberal message to cities and towns across America while also fulfilling his duties in the Senate. Advisers said they warned him about the travel demands that a serious presidential bid would entail. They noted that Mrs. Clinton, who had left the State Department, would be working around the clock to campaign, raise money, nail down endorsements and develop policy plans.

All those decisions stemmed in part from Mr. Sanders’s outlook on the race. He was originally skeptical that he could beat Mrs. Clinton, and his mission in 2015 was to spread his political message about a rigged America rather than do whatever it took to win the nomination. By the time he caught fire with voters this winter and personally began to believe he could defeat Mrs. Clinton, she was already on her way to building an all but insurmountable delegate lead.

Without getting into the minutiae of Clinton’s and Sander’s policy positions although there are plenty of differences (in the means rather than the ends), the first and foremost criteria of any Presidential run is that you should want it bad enough to let it dominate every aspect of your life for at least 2 years. If there is any other motive for running for President then chances are that you’re not going to be President. Trump may be similar in that sense that he too never expected to catch on fire like he has within the GOP but the very things that made him popular amongst the GOP are the reasons he’ll never win the Presidency. If Sanders has succeeded then it is in pulling Hillary to the left, which ironically was the intent he began with. Considering the delegate math, by the time he realized that he wanted to win, it was too late. He pats himself on the back by saying he took on the Clinton machine and got nearly as popular. But if 2008 was any indication, it showed us that it was possible not only to take on the Clinton machine but also beat it. In that sense, he fell short. Difference is that Barack Obama wanted to win as soon as he stood on the steps of the courthouse in Springfield. You can probably become Speaker of the House if you don’t even want to, like Paul Ryan has, but running for being the President is a different beast and given the intricacies and arcane rules of the process, you better plan ahead.

Otherwise, you’ll be spent explaining away your losses by saying that you lost because you never campaigned there. Sure, I didn’t win the World Cup coz I never competed. The first rule may be is to show up but the qualifying rule is to want it really bad. I like Bernie Sanders, like most Clinton supporters but the man hasn’t given much thought to how he would govern if he won. That’s probably because he never expected or even wanted to win.

Cling to your self-righteousness all you want, but be very clear that only some people can afford this kind of sacrifice.

Although I don’t think these people will make much of a difference but the holier-than-thou attitudes of people cited are infuriating none the less. I’m a realist and I’m rooting for Hillary Clinton in this election.

The Need for the Perfect Candidate

February 8th, 2016 - Hudson, New Hampshire

Increasingly, voters in America, more so for the Democrats than for Republicans, are asking for the perfect candidate in terms of what they say and what they promise to do when elected. At times, what they promise to do may not even be realistically possible but I’ve already tweeted about that. This is more about demanding something from the candidate that he or she isn’t.

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Look for America – Bernie Sanders Campaign Ad

A lovely ad by the Bernie Sanders campaign. Such a stark contrast to the sky-is-falling Republican ads. I like Bernie but I don’t think he’s going to win against Hillary Clinton. Hillary is not perfect. I had supported Obama against her in 2008 but compared to the GOP field, she’s the best we’ve got.

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