Friday, May 27, 2016

Bernie's Super Delegate Obfuscation

The Sanders campaign has been adamant for weeks that the only way Hillary Clinton can win the Democratic nomination is with super delegates. Without them, she falls short. And that's why they plan on forcing a contested convention in Philadelphia so Bernie can convince those super delegates to switch from Hillary to him, thus allowing him to win the nomination. The media, it seems, have gone along with this canard, repeating it over and over without so much as even bothering to verify its accuracy.

So, in the interest of getting at the truth, I thought I'd explain just what is going on and why it matters so much. Yes, it's true: Hillary needs 2383 total delegates to secure the nomination. At present, she has 1769 pledged delegates, plus 541 super delegates. That gives her a total of 2310 delegates, 73 shy of the majority. Now according to Sanders, Hillary should not be given credit for those super delegates until the convention, ergo, she can't possibly win the nomination.

There's just one problem with Sanders's logic. The Super Delegates are actually baked into the total needed for clinching the nomination. He knows it and his campaign knows it. Here's why.

Of the 4765 total delegates available, 714 are super delegates. If you subtract them from the mix, you're left with 4051 total delegates who are pledged. To win a majority, a candidate must win one more than half the total number of available delegates. Therefore, if there were no super delegates, the number needed for clinching the nomination would drop to 2026. Given that Hillary already has 1769 pledged delegates, she would only need an additional 257 delegates to cross the finish line. Think about it: if she wins just 50 percent of the pledge delegates in New Jersey and California on June 7, that would get her there with 42 delegates to spare; and that's with the votes of Puerto Rico, New Mexico and Washington D.C. still left to count.

But the Sanders campaign doesn't want you to know that. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to leave the super delegates in the overall total, but they don't want them to count for anything. Unless of course they end up going with Bernie; then they would count. If they were truly sincere about not letting super delegates "decide" the nomination, they would petition to have them excluded; ALL of them. They would stop this ridiculous charade that they are being cheated out of the nomination by the DNC.

The truth is that the nomination isn't being stolen from Bernie; it's being won by Hillary, fair and square. More people are voting for her; 3 million more. Since they were first adopted by the Democratic Party in 1984, super delegates have always abided by the will of the voters. That includes 2008, when the overwhelming majority of them bolted Hillary for Barack Obama, much to the dismay of Clinton and her supporters.

If the DNC decides to eliminate them altogether - and considering how controversial they have become this year, that's not such a bad idea - then everyone needs to remember that the total number of available delegates would be reduced accordingly.

You can't have it both ways, Bernie. Either super delegates count or they don't. If they do, Hillary wins the nomination; if they don't, she wins the nomination. Either way, she wins the nomination. To engage in this kind of obfuscation demeans the whole process and needlessly prolongs the inevitable. And, more importantly, it increases Donald Trump's chances of winning the general election in November.

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