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Tag Archives: Bernie Sanders
While most of the media attention is currently focused on whom might or might not still be in consideration for vice-president, a key activity over the next several weeks will be the work of the convention committees.
Because the Democrats give candidates a key role in selecting their delegates (and here in Missouri we had a bit of an uproar at our state convention due to the Sanders campaign exercising its right to trim the number of candidates for at-large delegates), the Rules Committee and the Credentials Committee tend not to be that important. The fight this year was in the Platform Committee which wrapped up its work yesterday in Orlando. There were several changes to the draft platform adopted at the full committee meeting in Orlando, and the revised draft has not yet been posted on the convention’s website (which does have the original version of the draft platform.) There were some issues on which the committee had significant splits between Clinton and Sanders delegates. It is unclear if any of these splits will lead to a minority report and debates on the floor.
The end is finally here.
On the Republican side, the voting is over and the only delegate selection still to come is the South Dakota state convention starting on June 24. Depending upon which count you use, Trump has slightly over 1,440 delegates who are bound to him by current Republican Party rules (and another 80 who are officially uncommitted who have pledged to support him). Of course, every time Trump opens his mouth, some senior figure in the party begins longingly considering the power of the Rules Committee and the Convention to change those rules. Whether Trump has enough loyal delegates to survive himself is unclear (and it is unlikely that the Republicans would take this extreme step), but Trump is the exact type of candidate who would justify throwing the rules out the window to save the party.
The Democratic side still has a little more work to do. With the caveat that the count in California is not yet final, Secretary Clinton currently has around 2,180 pledged delegates to 1,797 delegates for Senator Sanders — a clear majority of pledged delegates (even if Sanders wins every delegate still theoretically up for grabs, he would still be approximately 300 delegates behind Secretary Clinton).
As discussed in part 1, the math in both parties has been relentless. After last night’s results in the U. S. Virgin Islands, the Greenpapers has Clinton only 85 votes short of clinching the nomination in its “soft” count. Barring a large number of superdelegates endorsing Clinton over the next forty-eight hours, today’s primary in Puerto Rico does not have enough delegates at stake (60 total) to put Clinton over the top, but the states discussed in Part 1 (New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Montana) have more than enough delegates to put Clinton over the top. Sanders is urging the media to remember that superdelegates can change their minds and depart from past practice by not declaring Clinton the nominee unless she wins enough pledged delegates to put her over the top (almost impossible).
With so few contests left, it is all but certain that Clinton will win the pledged delegate count. Even the attempt to win additional delegates in the later stages of caucus states is not going well. While the Washington Democratic Party has only posted the names of the delegates elected by the Congressional Districts (not the candidates that they are supporting), they have announced the allocation for the state-wide delegates (which is based on the breakdown of the Congressional District delegates). Based on that allocation, Clinton won between 17 and 19 delegates at the Congressional District level (post-precinct caucus estimates had her winning 18). In the other states that have already held first-tier caucuses, there are only 48 delegates still at stake (with Sanders having a 28-20 advantage). (6-2 in Idaho, 7-8 in Iowa, and 15-10 in Nebraska). Gaining more than five delegates from these states is unlikely, and adding it to the potential gain of 1 in Washington, Clinton would still have a 261 delegate lead heading into Puerto Rico. Since for reasons discussed previously, Sanders is probably going to have a net loss of delegates between Puerto Rico and the other states on Tuesday, Sander’s outside hope of significantly closing that gap come down to California.
The week of June 6 marks the end of the Republican primary season and is the next to last week of primaries for the Democrats. Given the sheer size of California, I will leave that state for its own post.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump is likely to go over 1,237 bound delegates this week. (He is currently ninety-eight bound delegates short of that number. Depending upon the site doing the count, he either currently has enough verbal commitments from unbound delegates or is just short of enough to reach that 1,237 number. There was a time in early April when there appeared to be a chance to keep Trump short of that number, but his opponents were never able to unite in a coherent strategy (and John Kasich never had enough funding) to target districts and states were Cruz or Kasich could win delegates.
The primary campaign enters the home stretch. Depending upon which count you use, Donald Trump either has or is about to clinch the Republican nomination. (The counts differ in their estimate of how many of the officially “uncommitted” delegates have pledged to support Trump. Trump is 139 short by the “bound” delegate count.) Because there are no Republican contests this week, the only thing that can change between now and the next (and final) Republican contests on June 7 will be additional pledges from uncommitted delegates.
This week the action is all on the Democratic side in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Between now and the Virgin Island’s contest, there will be some minor adjustments as results are certified from the April states and as superdelegates announce their support for one of the candidates. However, barring a large number of superdelegates endorsing Clinton, the delegates up for stake this week should not be enough to clinch the nomination. At the present time, Clinton is approximately 100 delegates short of clinching the nomination.
The Virgin Islands contest on June 4 is a little bit unusual. At the territorial mass meeting, attendees from St. Croix will select three delegates. Attendees from the other islands will select four delegates. Assuming that both candidates meet the fifteen percent threshold, St. Croix will almost certainly split 2-1. The other four delegates will either split 3-1 or 2-2. As a result, the most likely outcomes are either a 5-2 or a 4-3 split (most likely in favor of Clinton). At this stage of the race, the results in the Virgin Islands will not make much of a difference in the delegate count. At most the Virgin Islands will play into any “momentum” argument that the Sanders campaign wants to make to the superdelegates. (That argument is the same reason why Sanders is considering a recount in Kentucky even though such a recount would probably only change one delegate at most.)
While there is still plenty of time left in the 2016 election, discussion has already started about the rules for the 2020 election. Changes to the delegate selection process tends to be driven by “fixing” what the party sees as the problem in the last election cycle. For example, a lot of the changes on the Republican side (e.g., the binding rules, penalties for states violating the rules) were driven by what the party leadership thought went wrong in 2012 — Ron Paul doing better at state conventions than he did on caucus nights, states violating the timing and proportionality rules.
The two parties are at different stages of the process for modifying the procedures for 2020. For the Republicans, the process for convening the next convention is part of the party rules . Normally, the rules can only be amended at the convention. In 2012, the convention granted limited “one time only” authority to the Republican National Committee to change the process. Given the difficulty of making changes on the fly during a convention, it is likely that the Republicans might give the RNC this power again. For the Democrats, the actual drafting of the rules for the next convention is done by the Democratic National Committee after the convention. Typically, the most that has happened during the nomination process is an agreement to have a study commission to look at revisions to the rules.
As this week’s primaries showed, with Kasich and Cruz out, it’s only a matter of time until Trump gets to 1,237 delegates. There are still pitfalls ahead for Trump, but those pitfalls are about the convention going rogue on the platform and the vice-presidential pick. Whether that happens depends upon how much Trump wants to alter the 2012 platform (which is hard to tell given how vague Trump’s actual positions are) and whether Trump can find an acceptable vice-presidential candidate. Over the next two week’s the Republicans will have primaries in Oregon (May 17) and Washington (May 24). Oregon allocates its twenty-eight delegates proportionally with no winner-take-all provision; so Cruz and Kasich should get some delegates, but Trump should take twenty or more delegates. Washington allocates thirty delegates by congressional district and fourteen delegates state-wide. Given that Washington has a twenty percent threshold for winning delegates, Trump is likely to get all forty-four. Including the uncommitted delegates who have pledged to support Trump, Washington should put Trump unofficially over the top.
For the Democratic Party, the next two weeks consists of two primaries (Oregon and Kentucky on May 17), the Nebraska county conventions spread out over the two weeks, the Washington Congressional District conventions on May 21, and the Wyoming state convention on May 28.
The two parties take very different approaches to the election of pledged delegates. In the Republican Party, the influence of winner-take-all states and winner-take-most states allows a front runner to win the nomination while only getting a plurality of the vote. In the Democratic Party, the fact that 14% of the delegates (officially unpledged party leader and elected officials, unofficially superdelegates) go to the convention as unpledged delegates and the pledged delegates are allocated proportionately, make it hard for even a clear front-runner with a majority of the votes to win enough pledged delegates unless the other candidates suspend their campaigns. As a result, for the second competitive cycle in a row, both candidates need the support of at least some of the super delegates to win the nomination.
There are a lot of different arguments for what superdelegates should consider in making their decision. The problem for Bernie Sanders and his supporters is that almost every argument favors Hillary Clinton.
With Donald Trump being the last Republican standing, delegate math on the Republican side is almost meaningless. (Of course with early voting, some segments of votes have already been cast and some segment of voters tend to vote against the presumptive nominee.) On May 10, the Republicans will have primaries in Nebraska (thirty-six delegates on winner-take-all basis) and West Virginia (thirty-one directly elected delegates — three in each district and twenty-two state-wide. There are some weird restrictions on the twenty-two state-wide delegates that could distort the results if voters do not understand the rules). Trump still needs 223 more delegates to clinch the nomination. As such, he will probably not officially clinch the nomination until June 7, but it would take some very bizarre results between now and June 7 to stop Trump from getting the nomination. In the upcoming weeks, I am sure there will be several posts on this site on what the nomination of Trump means for this year’s elections and the future of the Republican Party.
On the Democratic side, counting superdelegates, Hillary Clinton is approximately 189 delegates short of clinching the nomination. The main event this week is the West Virginia Primary on May 10. The delegate breakdown in West Virginia is seven delegates in both the first and second districts, six delegates for both the third district and the at-large pool, and three pledged party leader delegates. Given votes in similar states, Bernie Sanders has a shot at getting to five delegates (64.3%) in the first and the second and four delegates in the third and at-large. With an almost certain 2-1 split for the pledged party leaders, that would give Sanders a 20-9 advantage.
As a month, May is mostly about delegate selection rather than delegate allocation. Even on the Democratic side (where some caucus allocations will be finalized), there will be over twenty delegate selection events in various states but fewer than ten delegate allocation events.
On the Republican side, there is just one delegate allocation event — Indiana. After a good showing this past Tuesday (Trump even apparently got 31 supporters elected as unpledged district delegates in Pennsylvania), Trump looks to have a shot at getting enough delegates to win on the first ballot. He still needs to win fifty percent of the remaining delegates though (approximately 250). Indiana is another winner-take-most state — three delegates to the winner in each of the nine congressional districts and thirty to the state-wide winner. Indiana is the last best chance for Cruz to prevent Trump from getting the nomination. After trying to arrange a deal with Kasich and (shades of Ronald Reagan) announcing his VP candidate, Cruz has few angles left to play. Trump is up by 6% which would likely give him 45+ delegates. If Cruz can make a comeback (with the help of Kasich supporters), Trump is probably looking at 15 or fewer delegates. With only around 450 delegates left after Indiana, a thirty delegate swing is a big deal.