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Did Hillary repel Bernie’s challenge for good last night? Maybe — but probably not.
A 320-odd pledged delegate margin, you say?
“It’s over,” you say?
Nah. Hillary had a good night (unless you compare the outcomes to the polls that had her winning four of these states by far more), but it’s far from over. You’ll know that it’s not over because, as the race tightens, Hillary will probably panic and start lying about Bernie’s record again. (It’s what she does.) And the race will tighten.
(This is going to get a little data-intensive, although the math isn’t hard, so prepare yourself for that.)
What’s Next for Democrats?
Here’s what’s left for Democrats on the primary calendar — with the South almost entirely gone:
3/22: 85 delegates in Arizona
3/22: 27 delegates in Idaho (caucus)
3/22: 37 delegates in Utah
3/26: 20 delegates in Alaska (caucus)
3/26: 34 delegates in Hawaii (caucus)
3/26: 118 delegates in Washington state (caucus)
4/2: 96 delegates in Wisconsin
4/9: 18 delegates in Wyoming (caucus)
4/19: 291 delegates in New York
4/26: 70 delegates in Connecticut
4/26: 31 delegates in Delaware
4/26: 118 delegates in Maryland
4/26: 210 delegates in Pennsylvania
4/26: 33 delegates in Rhode Island
5/3: 92 delegates in Indiana
5/7: 12 delegates in Guam (caucus)
5/10: 37 delegates in West Virginia
5/17: 61 delegates in Kentucky
5/17: 74 delegates in Oregon
6/4: 12 delegates in Virgin Islands (caucus)
6/5: 67 delegates in Puerto Rico (caucus)
6/7: 546 delegates in California
6/7: 27 delegates in Montana
6/7: 142 delegates in New Jersey
6/7: 43 delegates in New Mexico
6/7: 23 delegates in North Dakota (caucus)
6/7: 25 delegates in South Dakota
6/14: 45 delegates in District of Columbia
Okay, I See a Bunch of States’ Names — but What Does That Mean?
It means that Bernie — maybe not next Tuesday, but no later than a week from Saturday — is going to start catching up. And it’s just not that unlikely that he’ll be able to gain more than a 320-delegate margin in the 28 remaining contests. That’s no guarantee that he will — but it doesn’t look too bad! Let’s see how we ended up in our present position, by reducing each state down to its margin of victory by number of delegates — how much impact it has had on who’s winning.
First, how did Hillary build her approximately 320 pledged-delegate lead? Let’s look at her big wins in rank order:
72 from Texas
64 from Florida
44 from Georgia
35 from Alabama
29 from Virginia
26 from Mississippi
25 from South Carolina
23 from Louisiana
That’s 318 pledged delegates right there — roughly her entire lead. And the only Southern State left is Kentucky. (You can make a case for DC, Maryland, and West Virginia falling into that category, but not a great one.)
Now let’s look at the rest of the states that have had elections, for those that favored Hillary and those that favored Bernie.
Hillary: 87 more delegates
21 from Tennessee
21 from Ohio
17 from North Carolina
12 from Arkansas
5 from Nevada
2 from Iowa
2 from Illinois
2 from Missouri (or so — this is a projection)
2 from American Samoa
2 from Northern Mariana Islands
1 from Massachusetts
Bernie: 85 more
16 from Vermont
15 from Minnesota
15 from Kansas
10 from Colorado
7 from Michigan
7 from Maine
6 from New Hampshire
5 from Nebraska
4 from Oklahoma
The remaining contests and their pledged-delegate totals, ranked by size, are:
New York: 291
New Jersey: 142
Puerto Rico: 67
District of Columbia: 45
New Mexico: 43
West Virginia: 37
Rhode Island: 33
South Dakota: 25
North Dakota: 23
Democrats Abroad: 13
Virgin Islands: 12
Whose best states look more like the ones in this last list? Bernie’s been sweeping the western plains — Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma — so he’ll likely do well in Utah, Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, Alaska, and Wyoming. Those are small contests — mostly caucuses — but together they are 177 delegates. Bernie’s been getting about 60% of the delegates in the most comparable states — 144 to 95 — so let’s allocate 20% (that is, 60-40%) of that 177 to him. That’s about a 35 point delegate lead.
We don’t have great estimates yet for Arizona and New Mexico (Nevada isn’t really like either in nominating contests,, nor is Texas in the context of Super Tuesday), so we’ll skip them. Connecticut and Rhode Island (103 delegates combined) would tend to follow the rest of New England. I’ll cut Bernie’s margin in Vermont in half (Hillary was skunked there because she was below 15%, which won’t happen elsewhere) and we get about a 56% to 44% split in delegates. So we take 12% of 103 and give Bernie another 12 delegates. Now we’re up to making up 47 of the 320 margin from the first 280 delegates we’ve examined.
Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii have 226 delegates combined. With all but Oregon being caucuses, these liberal states might be expected to give Bernie a 25% delegate edge, so that would be another 56 delegates. Now he’s estimated to cut down the lead by 103 delegates out of the first 506 that we’ve examined.
We could continue on — Hillary will probably do well in Maryland and DC, Bernie in New Jersey and Kentucky, and so on — but the message is clear. With about 2400 pledged delegates left to be chosen in a far superior set of states than what he’s faced so far, Bernie has hard work ahead of him but no reason for pessimism. And — now running a 10K race instead of an 800 meter spring — he has time to focus on many of the isolated states in the schedule.
After Wisconsin, he’ll have almost three weeks with nothing on his mind (other than Wyoming) except for New York, Pennsylvania, and the smaller states around them. After Indiana, West Virginia, and then Kentucky and Indiana on May 17th, the candidates will have three weeks to cover three small states (Montana and the Dakotas), one slightly larger one (New Mexico), one fairly big one (New Jersey) — and the biggest prize of all.
California, that prize, is very likely to have a decisive say this year. (So might DC the following week!) Bernie will probably need to do quite well here, but it’s a good state for him. And there’s a lot that can happen to both of their campaigns in the 12 weeks between then and now.
You may not be hearing much about this from the establishment media, which seems desperate not to cover the campaign of the democratic socialist who poses such a threat to Wall Street and other owners of the major media itself. You will hear a lot about people patting Bernie on the head, thanking him for making Hillary a better candidate, and telling him that now, however, he’s done.
That’s all bullshit. He can raise plenty of money and do so without compromising himself. There’s no reason for him to leave the race before California, where a strong campaign could put him in the driver’s seat. The odds may now slightly favor Hillary — but she’s already blown bigger advantages than this.
We on Bernie’s side will not take a dive because we’re not nervous about Bernie winning at all. We will fight tooth and nail until Bernie tells us it’s over. This ain’t some kind of kabuki — it’s a real contest, and we’re going to see it through — including all the way to Orange County.