Is it possible for Elephants to do something sensible? I guess eventually, when they remember to. Over this past week, two Republicans came to their senses and did the sensible thing. They dropped out. So long, Ted Cruz and John Kasich! See ya in three years.
This leaves just one contender fighting an uphill battle for a nomination, and that is Bernie Sanders on the Donkey side. Is this man insane, or does he have a reasonable chance to beat Hillary Clinton for the nomination? He thinks so, and says he’s aiming for a contested convention, where he will win over unpledged delegates (super delegates), and become the Democratic Party’s standard bearer.
Let’s crunch the numbers, to see if Bernie is in his right mind.
There will be 4,765 total delegates at the Democratic National Convention this July. Of these, 4,051 will be pledged delegates. This means they will be bound by rules to vote for whomever they were assigned to vote for, after their state primary or caucus. At least in the first round of voting.
2,383 delegates are needed for nomination. After Bernie’s victory in Indiana on May 3rd, he had 1,414 pledged delegates, and 41 unpledged delegates. Hillary had 1,704 pledged delegates, and 498 unpledged delegates. It seems a lot more unpledged delegates support Hillary than Bernie. But Bernie vows to change that.
Bernie currently needs 928 more delegates to secure the nomination. There are 1,108 delegates remaining, so that means he needs 84% of these remaining delegates to beat Hillary. If he wants to beat Hillary with pledged delegates only, then he needs 969 more pledged delegates. However, there are only 933 pledged delegates remaining. Therefore it’s impossible for Bernie to win the nomination in this manner. This explains why he says he’s going to make a play for the super delegates at the convention.
It seems to me that if Bernie is going to have any chance of winning over the super delegates at the convention, he has to enter the convention with more pledged delegates than Hillary. This seems possible. Hillary currently has 1,704 pledged delegates, which is only 290 more than Bernie. In fact, Hillary would have to win 73% of the remaining pledged delegates before she can secure the nomination with no help from super delegates. It’s highly unlikely she will do this.
Super delegates can change their minds at any time. So the super delegates Hillary currently has can jump ship for Bernie if they decide that is more politically expedient. And they probably would if Bernie entered the convention with more pledged delegates than Hillary. Bernie could then make the case that the majority of Democrats favored him, and not his opponent. Super delegates would have a hard time justifying their votes for Hillary.
If Bernie is to overtake Hillary in pledged delegates before the convention, he will need to win 66% of the remaining available pledged delegates. That is a very steep hill to climb. Not impossible, and if Bernie is the little engine that could, who knows, perhaps he’ll make it. But first he has to win over California. California has 475 delegates to divvy up. It’s the big enchilada. And recent polling shows Hillary with a double-digit lead over Bernie in the Golden State.
Bernie’s challenge is to not only close that double-digit lead over Hillary by June 7th (California’s Primary day), but to also take a strong lead. I mean a VERY strong lead. To the tune of about 66% to 33%.
Under what scenario could this happen? Here’s a few that come to my mind: Hillary gets indicted for reckless e-mailing. Hillary divorces Bill and becomes engaged to Donald Trump (after he, of course, divorces Melania). Hillary announces that she still supports Barry Goldwater. Hillary’s birth certificate reveals she was born in Kenya. Hillary proclaims that California is full of a bunch of commie hippies, and expresses a desire for it to fall into the ocean after the next earthquake. Or, California actually does fall into the ocean, while Bernie wins big in all the other states.
In other words, this is mostly Hillary’s football to fumble. Can Bernie still beat her? Sure he can. Will he? Don’t sell your bank stocks short on it.
My bet is on Hillary.