Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Monday, March 28, 2016

WHITHER BERNIE?

Let me turn my attention now to the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.  First, the facts.

There will be 4765 delegates at the Convention, 4051 pledged and 714 unpledged ["superdelegates"].   It will take a total of 2383 delegates to win the nomination.  If Clinton wins those 2383 from the primaries and caucuses alone, that will leave 1667 for Bernie [Martin O'Malley has 1].  In short, to win without superdelegates, she must go into the Convention with a pledged delegate lead of 716 over Bernie.  At the moment, her lead is 299, more or less.  If Bernie continues to do well in the remaining primaries, it actually seems more likely that  he will somewhat narrow the gap, although he is virtually certain not to overtake her in pledged delegates.

So, it will come down to the superdelegates.

If we assume that Clinton goes to the Convention having won more votes and more pledged delegates, what could possibly persuade the superdelegates, who are as people inclined to support Clinton anyway, to withdraw their support for her and choose Bernie?

I can only see three possibilities, none of which seems likely.

First, the Republican Convention having taken place the preceding week, if the Republicans nominate someone [i.e., Kasich] who beats Clinton in the polls, that might do it.  If they nominate Trump, which seems most probable, the mere fact that Bernie crushes Trump in the polls even more than Clinton will not do it.  Clinton currently beats Trump by more than ten points in the polls, which, in a presidential election is a landslide.  Sufficient unto the day.

Second, if the e-mail/private server issue heats up, and a top aide to Clinton gets indicted or plea bargains, that could scramble everything, and the availability of a plausible alternative in Bernie might influence enough of the superdelegates to throw the race to Bernie.

Third, that bird might return, this time with a message taped to its leg from God.


I am holding out for number three.

5 comments:

Chris said...

Thank you for the prudent analysis and frequent updates! Two questions if you don't mind.

First, although the polls show Clinton over Trump by 10%, how well does that stand given that 33% of Bernie voters will not elect Clinton? What I'm thinking is that maybe when asked "do you prefer Clinton to Trump" the 33% say yes (giving her a big boost over Trump), but they wouldn't necessarily vote for her.

Second, I believe it was in Iowa that total vote counts are not being disseminated to the press. Isn't it possible that Sanders could win the majority of votes still? I know in match up polls he recently performed 1 point over Clinton. So, could he win the majority of votes, but be behind in delegates, and use that as motivation for super delegates to swing his way?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Two quick replies: First, almost all of those Bernie voters will in fact vote for Clinton IF THEY COME TO THE POLLS [very important]. Second, the caucus state vote totals are so much smaller than the primary state totals. There is no realistic chance for Bernie to overtake Clinton in total vote.

Chris said...

So what's the mathematical variable I'm not seeing? If it's the case that Bernie has basically been tied with Hillary in national polls for a while, and he is now slowly over taking her, what causes him not to win the majority vote?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

she already has an enormous lead of more than two million votes cast thus far.

Matt said...

This suggests that Sanders' strongest showings have come in caucus states, and there are fewer and fewer of them going forward, suggesting a stronger showing for Clinton going forward:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/bernie-sanders-continues-to-dominate-caucuses-but-hes-about-to-run-out-of-them/

I have no real opinion as to the strength of the evidence as far as prediction goes, but it seems pretty good as a backward looking analysis. (Past results do not promise future returns, as investment adds and the like say.)

Otherwise, we just have to hope that the Sanders supporters realizes that having other people's contradictions heightened isn't really so desirable, and that they will bother to actually look at the differences between any of the Republican candidates platforms and Clinton's. I hope that the statement made before by someone that, when a Sanders supporter says that he or she will never vote for Clinton, they are just saying, in a somewhat childish way, that they really, really favor Sanders, and want people to know that, not something even more silly.