Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bernie Sanders and Superdelegate Math

Bernie's plan to win Superdelegates comes in a total of 3 parts:
  1. Convince undecided superdelegates to support Bernie
  2. Convince Clinton-supporting superdelegates of states where Bernie won the majority to support Bernie
  3. Convince superdelegates who pledged their vote to Clinton at the very beginning of the primary season when a rival to Clinton was not conceivable to consider supporting Bernie
Would any of this help? Could Bernie win the DNC convention? Let's look at the math.

Currently, AP is reporting that Clinton has 520 delegates and Bernie has 39. It's worth noting that these are estimates and different sources are reporting different numbers. For math purposes, I'm using Wikipedia solely because they provide a break down of the delegates than can be counted and manipulated. They are reporting Hillary at 498 and Bernie at 41.

If Bernie is able to persuade all undecided superdelegates (and one O'Malley superdelegate) to his side, he would gain 176 votes. In states where he won the majority vote, there are 49 total superdelegates that have pledged their vote to Clinton. If Bernie were to win the remaining states in the primary, there are currently 89 pledged superdelegates in those states pledged to Clinton the he would need to convince to come to his side.

Adding all of this up and subtracting pledged superdelegates from Clinton, would make the final superdelegate tally (Bernie +176+49+89, Clinton -49-89):

Clinton 360
Bernie 355

If we go with the AP report, the scores would be Hillary 382, Bernie 353
(or slightly lower for Bernie given 20 delegates unaccounted for in the AP numbers).

The math seems unlikely. After all, how could Bernie convince ALL the superdelegates he needs? Even with the numbers so close, it still seems the convention would go to Hillary. How could Bernie possibly win? This is where part 3 comes in.

Bernie has a higher favorable rating than Hillary, he polls better than her against the Republican candidates, and Bernie is bringing out the youth and independent vote - huge voter bases that can make a difference in the general election.

Bernie Sanders is all around a stronger democratic candidate than Hillary for the general election. Winning the superdelegates hinges on how many of them can acknowledge this fact. Winning the remaining primary states would also be a good push for Bernie in convincing superdelegates that he can go the distance. But in order to win votes Bernie needs our help, now more than ever.

What can I do?

When writing superdelegates, be respectful! It should go without saying that threats, aggression, name calling, and the like only serve to hurt our cause. If you can't be respectful, ask a friend who can be to help you in writing your communication or use this sample letter

The path to victory is narrow, but we can win if we're determined to fight.

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